Couscous Salad

I have busy first looking for one and then moving houses for the last few weeks now. It is such a tiring process.

But I had a lot of fun looking for new furniture, Nonetheless we finally moved in our new house this weekend and I wanted to make up for all wall of silence on my blog. So here I am, back to the Middle Eastern spread on the blog, sharing an easy recipe for the couscous salad.

Couscous Salad

This is a new favorite and an easy lunch box recipe. It gets ready quickly on weekday mornings. You can chop up the veggies while the couscous is resting.

Couscous is a healthy protein rich option and also low on calories. Add any veggies you love to eat on a given day and you have colorful lunch box which you co-workers would like to dig in.

Comes Together in : 15 Minutes max
Ingredients

1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 finely chopped cucumber
1 finely chopped red onion
2 finely chopped tomatoes
6 finely chopped baby radish
2 tsp olive oil
3 tsp tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon or more as needed
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Handful of finely chopped dill leaves

In a wide bowl, pour boiling water over couscous and cover it with a lid for 10 minutes.

Let the couscous absorb all the water. After uncovering the lid, when all water is absorbed, use a fork to fluff the couscous and let it cool for a while.

Fluffy Couscous

You could also use vegetable stock to add flavors.

Couscous Tomato Paste

Add the tomato paste and with hands rub the paste in to the couscous.

Veggies

Add all veggies. Dress the salad with olive oil, salt, black pepper and dill leaves.

Couscous Salad1

Toss them well and let it refrigerate for a bit. Savour this on a hot summery afternoon!

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.

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.