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!

Paneer Tikka / Shashlik

My first post for 2016 had to be a special one. New Year’s eve for me and Sahil is mostly at home. We either host a family dinner or a house party with close friends. Once it’s closer to 11pm, we step out and drive around to catch a glimpse of the breath taking fireworks which has tourists from world over flock to Dubai.

This year however we were in mood for something outdoorsy. Josh, my colleague suggested we join him and my other work mates for a camping trip. On a side note, Josh is also a founding member and lead vocalist / guitarist for the popular Dubai band Candy Flippers. Go follow them because they are aaaahhhmaazingggg!

We settled for a BBQ themed camping trip in Ras Al Khaimah desert. The build up to the new year’s eve was amazing as well. After endless banter on a common Whatsapp group and 4 trips to the hypermarket we were well stocked.

Desert

It was fun going to the mall looking for camping supplies since this was my first camping experience in the desert. It was magical to say the least!

I was in-charge of catering to the vegetarians in the group. I decided to go for Paneer Shashlik, Veggie burgers with caramelised onions, roast potato pouches and grilled assorted vegetables.

Here I am sharing the recipe for Paneer Shashlik or Paneer Tikka.

Ingredients
2 1/2 tsp tikka masala
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp dried mint
1/4 cup fresh mint / kasuri methi
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Pinch of turmeric
750 grams paneer / cottage cheese cut in cubes
2 red peppers cut in squares
2 yellow peppers cut in squares
2 capsicum cut in squares
2 medium red onions cut in squares
400 grams greek yoghurt
3 tsp ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
50 ml canola oil
1 tsp kasundi paste
1 tsp carrom seeds
2 tsp chickpea flour / besan
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, whisk greek yoghurt and add tikka masala, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin powder, turmeric, chaat masala and dried mint and mix well.

Heat oil in a pan and add carrom seeds. Once they splutter, add kasundi paste and red chilly powder. Let it cook for a few seconds and add chickpea flour.

Keep stirring continuously on low heat until the mixture gets some color. Take it off the heat and pour over the yogurt mix.

Blend the mixture lightly and add the paneer, onions and peppers and coat it evenly with the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once you are ready to cook, you can start assembling the paneer tikka on a skewer.

If you are using the bamboo ones, make sure you soak them in cold water beforehand so that they do not burn when placed on the hot BBQ.

I decided to go for the stainless steel BBQ skewers given they seemed sturdy and could make more servings of the paneer tikka in one go. Also they last you many BBQ trips, I got mine for AED 8 for a pair of 4 from Carrerfour.

Now let’s get on to the assembly part, you begin by oiling the skewer well. Add one cube of red pepper followed by one cube of yellow pepper, then one cube of capsicum and lastly one cube of onion and one cube of paneer. Follow this for step for the rest of the mixture on hand.

Place it on the hot BBQ, it takes usually 15 minutes for the skewers to get cooked. Keep turning the paneer skewers after every few minutes so that all sides get some color evenly. Once it is evenly browned, remove the paneer and veggies from the skewers and serve with spicy coriander mint chutney.

Paneer TikkaUnfortunately I do not have good pictures for the dish however this did taste good and the recipe will be a bookmark for any other BBQ parties I host.

I had used the same recipe before, here is a better picture I have from that BBQ party.

Paneer Tikka 1

However I did make some changes to the recipe and this post includes my revised version.

Do try it sometime and let me know if you like it!

Somewhere in the middle of a desert, cooking on the BBQ, under the stars, next to the bonfire and tents set up, listening to some guitar and have an ensemble croon to melodies. Too much was happening around however I felt a sense of calm and happiness. This is how we welcomed 2016 and hope this be the best year yet for us.

Wishing everyone here as well a great 2016!

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!

Zucchini Bake

Hello lovely people!

Long time no see, I hope everyone is gearing up for the cooler months. I envision myself planning tea parties, making homemade soups, sipping on hot chocolate, stocking up on slow cooker, bakes and casserole recipes.

One such Zucchini bake recipe which was an instant hit at a recent potluck at a colleague’s place is what I would like to share with you all.

Zucchini Bake

Zucchini is relatively low in calories making it an ideal item to include when you are watching the scale. It is also high in folate, potassium and Vitamin A.

My earliest memories of eating zucchini are at a Mumbai eatery where I ordered Pasta Arrabiata with mixed vegetables. It had broccoli and some carrots along with some pretty unusual looking green strips. I enquired with the server about what were these green strips which made the overall dish rather pretty and delicious.

And that’s how I was introduced to this beautiful vegetable. I love eating zucchini stir fried with other vegetables on most occasions. However in stir fries I feel like the wonderful flavor of this veggie does not shine through.

Hence I decided to bake this on it’s own with the only exception being some cherry tomatoes and a couple of shallots.

Serves : 4

Ingredients
2 zucchini thinly cut in rounds
12 cherry tomatoes halved
3 cloves of garlic minced
a handful of shallots
Fresh thyme sprigs
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
3 tsp olive oil
Sea salt to taste
White pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Line a flat baking sheet with foil and grease it well.

In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients except cheese and coat them well with oil and seasoning.

Zucchini Bake 1

Layer the zucchini neatly on the baking tray and sprinkle parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius. I did not want to over do the cheese and baked it for a short duration so that the flavours of were given it’s due credit.

Serve with any pasta dish or good to be eaten on it’s own.

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!

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!

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

It’s getting cooler these days and what’s more comforting than a bowl of home made soup!

At my parents home, having soup before meals is quite the norm. My grandfather was so very fond of having soups! And my mom used to ensure she serves him a variety to choose from.

He loved every ounce of liquid from the vegetables which were just blanched or boiled. I remember him asking my mom to use the whey left from home made paneer to make dough for chapatis. Not wasting any nutrients from food was his mantra. He was also a great at recommending home made remedies and most of them worked. Yes! Even the weird ones worked much to our amusement.

I have loved tomato soup since childhood. It’s got to be my favorite soup to order when at a restaurant. My love of tomatoes is evident since most of my recipes have one in them!

He used to lovingly ask my mum or grandma to make this especially on days I was in low spirits. This is how dearly and selflessly he loved me. His first grandchild and perhaps the luckiest one who got to spend 27 glorious years under his wings.

Well this is turning out to be quite an emotional post. Let’s get on to the recipe of his favorite tomato soup.

I have modified a popular Sanjeev Kapoor recipe as shown in Khana Khazana to my family’s liking.

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Ingredients
2 tsp canola oil
6 tomatoes roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 onion thinly sliced
1 carrot chopped
6 tomatoes chopped
700 ml water or more as required
1/2 tsp sugar
5-6 whole black peppercorns
Freshly cracked black pepper powder as per taste
Salt to taste
Full fat cream to drizzle (Optional)
Mint / Basil leaves for garnishing
Toasted Bread Croutons to Serve

In a big pot, heat the oil and add bay leaf, peppercorns and sautee it for a minute.

Add garlic cloves and cook them until the raw flavor goes away. Add onions, tomatoes and carrots and cook them they are soft but not mushy.

Tomato Soup 1

Add water and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Take the mixture off heat and after cooling it for a while, strain the mixture. Reserve the stock on the side.

Veggies

Tomato Soup2

Now in a blender add the strained vegetables with a little water to facilitate smooth blending.

Tomato Soup3

Once the mixture has blended well and is at a consistency you like, pour the puree back in the sauce pot and let it simmer. You could add tomato paste at this point of time if you prefer to enhance the color.

Add salt and black pepper powder to taste, sugar and the stock set on the side and cook for another 10-12 minutes uncovered.

You can skip sugar from the recipe however I prefer adding the same since it helps to cut the sourness of the tomatoes.

Once the soup reaches the consistency you desire. Take it off heat and strain once more.

Serve with a drizzle of cooking cream and garnish with any herbs you prefer. Until next time happy cooking!