Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Methi Malai Mutter

Methi Malai Mutter is a traditional Indian (most probably Mughlai) curry where Methi (Fenugreek Leaves) and Mutter (Peas) are cooked in Malai (Cream) and cashew nuts paste. It's tasty. quite filling and mild in spices and goes equally well with both Parathas and Rice.

Ideally, a different masala needs to be used for white gravy based curries. But I had neither time nor all ingredients to make this masala. I already had Punjabi Curry Masala which can be used only in red/onion-tomato  gravy based curries. Still I thought to use it just to give a hint of flavor and it worked very well.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 20 Minute
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

3 cup fresh methi leaves
1.5 cup peas
3 cup onion paste **
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp green chili paste
1/2 tsp ginger paste
20-25 pc cashew nuts + 1 tbsp milk
3/4 cup heavy cream ***
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar

** Sometimes onions taste bitter due to strong flavor of onion root. So I add sliced onions to boiling water and then grind into a paste. You do not have to saute the paste again.

*** I usually replace heavy cream with evaporated milk and whole milk due to the fact that it has less calorie. 3/4 cup heavy cream = 1 cup evaporated milk + 1 tbsp whole milk

1. Soak cashew nuts in milk for 10-15 minute and grind into a paste
2. Heat 1 tsp oil in skillet. Saute curry masala until it starts leaving oil on the edge
3. Add methi leaves, peas and salt. Cook them uncovered, stirring occasionally
4. When peas are cooked turn off the heat and keep this mixture aside
5. In a separate skillet heat remaining 1 tsp oil. Add chili-ginger-garlic and onion paste
6. When onions are cooked add cashew nuts paste and methi leaves mixture
7. Add salt, lemon juice and sugar, mix well
8. When it starts bubbling, add cream, mix well and turn off the heat
7. Serve hot with parathas/naan/rice

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kathi Roll (Paneer Tikka and Alu)

When we used to live in NJ, we would often take train  to NYC. And such trips were never considered complete without Kathi Rolls. Nowadays, quite many Indian Restaurants offer Kathi Rolls in appetizer but none of them can be compared to what we get in NYC. These rolls are nothing but whole wheat wraps stuffed with marinated and grilled paneer or boiled potatoes. Simple may it sound, but when you try same thing at home, you would never get the exact taste. But recently when I made them it came out so delicious that we no more miss NYC for that matter :) We literally hogged them as soon as they were ready so I do not have pictures.

Ideally, kathi rolls require whole wheat parathas but I used flour tortillas instead. I prepared both versions with paneer and potatoes. Both kinds of rolls require coriander-mint chutney.

Green Chutney

Yields 1 cup
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: NIL

2 cup chopped coriander leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 green chillies
1/2" ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp yogurt

1. Mix all ingredients and make a fine paste with little water

Paneer Tikka Kathi Roll

Makes 4-5 rolls
Preparation Time: 10 Minute + time to make paneer + marination time
Cooking Time: 10 Minute

1 cup paneer cubes
1/2 cup dice green pepper
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp gram flour
1/2 tsp chat masala
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp kasoori methi
1 tsp oil

1. Beat the yogurt and mix all spices
2. Mix paneer, diced peppers and tomatoes in yogurt mixture
3. Toss them lightly in marinade and keep aside for about 15-20 minute
4. Now heat oil in skillet and add marinated paneer and veggies
5. Cook it uncovered on medium-high flame for 4-5 minute, stirring occasionally

Paneer tikka stuff is ready

Alu Kathi Roll

Makes 6 rolls
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 20 Minute

2 cup boiled and diced potatoes
1 cup diced onions
1 tso green chili paste
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp chat masala
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp green chutney (recipe as given above)
1 tsp oil
2 tsp coriander leaves

1. Heat oil in skillet and add diced onions
2. When onions turn translucent, add chili-ginger paste and potatoes, mix well
3. Add remaining spices and chutney and cook it uncovered for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally
4. Turn off the heat and add coriander leaves

Alu stuff is ready

Prepare Kathi Rolls

10" flour tortillas
Butter spread
Green Chutney

1. Take a tortilla, apply butter on both sides and cook it slightly on griddle on low flame
2. Spread generous amount of chutney, stuff it, roll it and cook on griddle for 2-3 minute, changing the sides frequently
3. Serve hot

Monday, April 18, 2011

Puran Poli

Puran Poli is our 'Family Favorite Dish'. Whenever it's my dad's birthday or parents' anniversary, I make this dish for sure. Having puran poli on such days makes me feel as if I am with them and we are celebrating together. And I am glad that HE also loves it as much as I do. I am little late in posting this, belated Happy B'day Dad!

Puran poli is ' A stuffed sweet roti' which is quite popular in West and South India, though I have tasted only Gujarati and Maharashtrian versions. Both of them use same ingredients but final dish is quite different. Maharashtrian one is thin and on drier side. While we Gujaratis have it thick, moist and applied with generous amount of ghee. Puran Poli with kadhi/ moong dal/ rice and cauliflower/okra curry is our all time favorite combination. The stuffing can be refrigerated for a week or so and rotis can be frozen for about a month or so. And the best part is, though it's a sweet dish, it's part of main course. So here is my sweet treat...

Makes 15-16 small rotis/polis
Preparation Time: 45 Minute + soaking time + cooling time
Cooking Time: 45 Minute

For stuffing,
1 cup toor dal (chana dal can also be used)
3/4 cup shredded jaggery **
1/4 cup sugar **
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp poppy seeds

For dough,
2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp oil
Ghee to apply once they are ready

**  Only jaggery or only sugar can also be used. Total quantity should be equal to that of dal.

  1. Soak toor dal for 1-2 hours and pressure cook it with 1.25 cup of water
  2. In a large thick bottom non-stick pan, mix cooked dal, jaggery and sugar
  3. Start cooking this mixture uncovered on low flame and stir continuously
  4. meanwhile in a separate bowl, sieve flour with oil and make roti like soft dough
  5. Once dal mixture becomes thick and consistent, turn off the heat (If spatula can stand straight in this mixture without any support, it's considered done)
  6. Sprinkle poppy seeds and cardamom powder
  7. Once mixture is completely cooled down, divide dough into balls, stuff each ball with dal and gently roll a thick roti
  8. Cook it on griddle on low flame without using oil/ghee on both sides until light brown
  9. Apply ghee and serve hot

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Veggie Bean Burritos

It has been quite some time since I have had homemade Mexican food. Being vegetarian, I have to play with just beans and veggies. Though my favorite picks are Crunchy Tacos and Mexican Pizza, I make Enchiladas and Burritos also quite often. Then recently when I was making Burritos I realized that I did not know exact difference between Enchiladas and Burritos except the way they are rolled and use of enchilada sauce.

So I looked for more information online and found out that enchiladas are authentic Mexican food while burritos are more like a fusion Tex-Mex food. Burritos require plain flour tortillas as opposed corn flour ones in enchilada. Enchiladas are baked with generous amount of sauce and cheese. While burritos are made using veggies and sometimes rice along with beans and salsa. They are not baked usually and served with sour cream. Anyway, enough of theory and here is the recipe of my favorite veggie bean burritos :)

Makes 8 Burritos
Preparation Time: 10 Minute + soaking time for beans
Cooking Time: 20 Minute

1 cup Rajma/black kidney beans
½ cup sliced onions
½ cup red/green pepper
½ cup corn
Medium avocado cut into small pieces
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, cut into small pieces
2 tsp Taco seasoning
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp + 1 cup salsa **
8 flour tortilla
½ cup Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream to serve burrito
** You can use any store bought/homemade tomato based salsa. This is optional, but without salsa I find burritos little on drier side

1. Soak kidney beans for 6-8 hours and pressure cook them
2. Heat oil in skillet, add cumin seeds and onions and garlic
3. When onions turn translucent add corn, pepper and beans
4. Add salt, taco seasoning and salsa and mix well
5. Add tomatoes and turn off the heat
6. Now take a tortilla, spread this beans-veggies mixture and cheese
7. Roll tortilla into burrito and put directly on grill at 350F for 5-7 minute (This is optional, but I find them better this way)
8. Serve hot with salsa and sour cream

These burritos are very filling and make a complete meal. And to my surprise, they stay good and do not become soggy even after 3-4 hours. Which is just perfect for picnics and potlucks, even better!

Tomato Salsa

So far whenever I have made tomato based salsa, I have mixed finely chopped tomatoes, onions and jalapeños. This works absolutely fine with chips or as a side with Mexican food, but not when you want to use with burritos. Recently when I was making burritos I realized that I had run out of store bought salsa and had to come up with this last minute fix. I am quite happy with it and at least for burritos, I do not have to rely on ready made salsa.

Yields about 1.5 cup
Preparation Time: 5 Minute
Cooking Time: 20 Minute + refrigeration time

4 medium tomatoes
½ onion
1 jalapeno
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp coriander leaves

1. Peel garlic, stem off jalapeno and arrange garlic, tomatoes (without cutting/peeling) and jalapeño in a baking tray at 350 F
2. Flip the sides frequently and when skin becomes charred , take them out (Garlic, tomatoes and jalapeno will get cooked in this order, altogether takes 15-20 minute)
3. Once they are out of oven, keep them covered using aluminum foil until they cool down completely and then grind into a smooth paste (Retain tomato skin and do not add water)
4. Finely chop onions and add to tomato mixture
5. Add salt and coriander leaves and mix well
6. Serve cold

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bharwan Bhindi Masala

I know only a few recipes using Bhindi/Okra. Mostly I make Gujarati style vegetable that goes with Roti/Rice/Dal menu. This time when I bought okra I was brainstorming to try it in a different way. I always prefer a dish where okra remains dry and crispy hence cooking okra along with lentils or in onion-tomato gravy was simply ruled out. Then all of a sudden I remembered to stuff okra with gram flour and peanut mixture. The very similar stuffing I use with potatoes and eggplant as well, so I was kind of hoping that with okra also it should taste delicious.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 45 Minute

1 LB Bhindi/Okra
½ cup sliced onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of asafetida
2 tsp + 1 tsp oil
Coriander leaves and grated coconut for garnishing

For stuffing, (We need strong stuffing as we won't be adding any spices to okra)
½ cup gram flour
3 tbsp peanuts
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp dhaniya powder
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp aamchur
½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp oil

  1. Dry roast gram flour on low flame until it turns light brown. Keep it aside
  2. Meanwhile, clean okra with damp cloth and slit them horizontally
  3. Grind peanuts into a smooth powder and add it to gram flour.
  4. Add remaining spices to flour and sieve it with oil (This stuffing can be refrigerated for good 3-4 months without adding oil)
  5. Now take half of the stuffing, add water and make a paste
  6. Stuff okras with this paste, use more stuffing if required
  7. Heat 2 tsp oil in skillet and add stuffed okras
  8. Okras should be in a single layer and cook them covered on medium flame. Flip the sides to cook them thoroughly. This takes about 30 minute as I like my okras really crispy and dark brown
  9.  Now heat 1 tsp oil in a separate skillet and add cumin seeds, asafetida and sliced onions
  10. Once onions are translucent add cooked okras, remaining stuffing and salt
  11. Cook in uncovered for about 5-10 minutes
  12. Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves and grated coconut

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dum Aloo

Here I am with another all time favorite dish. It’s a North Indian Curry where potatoes are cooked under pressure (hence the name ‘Dum’, though I did not follow this procedure) in onion-tomato gravy and topped with cream/yogurt. With Rice/Roti/Paratha, these baby potatoes taste so tempting and mouth watering.  I am optimally utilizing my Punjabi Curry Masala to make North Indian Curries :). I made this masala once (and for the first time) and this is already my third curry using this masala.

Preparation Time: 15 Minute
Cooking Time: 40 Minute
Serves 4-6

1LB baby potato (25-26 pc, I prefer red ones)
2 tsp oil + oil to fry onion
3 large onions (About 2 cup paste), sliced
2 cup tomato sauce
20-25 pc cashew nuts + milk to soak them
1 tsp green chili paste
½ tsp ginger paste
½ tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp kasoori methi
½ tsp red chili powder
½ tsp sugar
¼ cup heavy cream **
Coriander leaves for garnishing
** Can be replaced with yogurt

  1. Soak cashew nuts in little milk for about 20 minute and then grind them into a fine paste
  2. In a large pot, bring water to boil, add salt and cook potatoes until fork tender (Ideally in Dum Aloo, potatoes should be fried, but I avoid frying). Do not overcook them else they will break apart after adding to the gravy
  3. Now in a separate skillet, heat oil and fry onions on low flame until light brown. Let them cool down and grind into a paste
  4. Heat oil in a skillet, add Punjabi Curry Masala and sauté on low flame till it starts leaving oil on the edge
  5. Add onion paste, chili-garlic-ginger paste, cashew paste, tomato sauce, salt and kasoori methi
  6. Cook this mixture on low flame and stir in between. Once this mixture becomes thick and consistent, add potatoes, sugar and red chili powder
  7. Cook it covered for another 10-15 minutes, add water if required
  8. Add heavy cream and turn off the heat immediately
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rajagara Sheero/ રાજગરાનો શીરો

Though I am not much into sweet dish but this is one of my favorites. This is quite common among Gujaratis on fasting day. More than taste I like its aroma. If you are too much calorie conscious and in dieting, sorry this is not for you. But see the brighter side, raagi flour is gluten free and very rich in anti-oxidants J It does not ask for any pre-preparation and leftover can be frozen. It stays good for 3-4 weeks.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

1 cup rajagara/raagi flour
¾ cup ghee
1 cup sugar
10-15 raisins
½ tsp cardamom powder
12-15 almonds, sliced

  1. Heat ghee in a non-stick pan on low-medium heat. Once melted and hot add flour to it
  2. Roast flour until it turns light brown and stir continuously (I always get confused that it should not be overcooked. So along with flour, I add just one raisin. When raisin is completely swollen and dark, flour is considered perfectly cooked)
  3. Add 3 cups of hot water, sugar and raisins, mix well and stir in between
  4. When water evaporates completely and ghee starts showing up on the edge, turn off the heat
  5. Add cardamom powder and garnish with sliced almonds
  6. Serve hot

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is a traditional North Indian dish where Paneer is mixed with rich spinach-tomato-onion gravy. Thanks to Costco to offer fresh refrigerated spinach that has made my job even easier :). There are quite a few variations about how to cook this particular dish. This time I used Punjabi Curry Masala (Which was already prepared) and it came out almost restaurant like tasty. Usually Punjabi curries ask for strong spices and sometimes they tend to overpower the taste of actual vegetable, but not in Palak Paneer. What I love the most about this dish is, you can still taste freshness of spinach.

Serves 4-6
Preparation Time: 15 Minute + Time to make Paneer
Cooking Time:  30 Minute

1 LB spinach (This yields about 3 cup spinach puree)
1.5 cup paneer cubes
2 cup onion paste
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp chili paste
½ tsp minced garlic
½ tsp ginger paste
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp sugar
½ tsp red chili powder
2 tsp butter

  1.  In a large pot bring water to boil and add spinach. Cook it covered for about 5-7 minutes and stir in between.
  2. Take out spinach in colander. Once it cools down, grind into a smooth paste.
  3. Heat oil in skillet, add Punjabi curry masala. Sauté it on low flame till it starts leaving oil on the edge.
  4. Add onion paste, chili-ginger paste and garlic. When onion turns light brown, add tomato sauce.
  5. Add salt, chili powder and sugar and bring it to boil.
  6. Add spinach puree and mix well. Cook it covered for about 5-10 minutes and then add paneer.
  7. Once paneer is well mixed, add butter and immediately turn off the heat.

Monday, April 4, 2011

100 Recipes!

100 recipes in less than a year..that too juggling between home and work! It indeed feels great. I just want to stop by and share things about me and my blog.

My mom had always been very much strict about me learning cooking. I hardly paid any attention in the beginning, but after a while cooking started giving feelings of satisfaction and independence. Then I decided to learn all those dishes which I like very much, so I do not have to buy them or be dependent on someone to make them for me.  I got basic training from my mom but I actually started cooking on regular basis during my stay in Mumbai. For more than 2 years, we cooked lunch and dinner every day amidst heavy work load. This gave me confidence that I can cook every day if required. I became very independent after I got married and came to US. I was the sole authority of the kitchen and very well utilized time exploring different cuisines and grocery stores during my earlier days (When I was not yet working). My mom always told me about a marriage that a way to man’s heart is via stomach. And luckily, I got a perfect match. A husband who could admire any experiment I carry out in the kitchen.

Whenever my experiments turned out successful, I started taking a picture and sharing it with my mom. Once in a while mom would ask me for the recipe and I would feel so proud about it. Once when I was arranging all recipes in a cookbook, I thought why not to start the blog. I was not sure how far I could go with this so until now I did not even publish or share it with friends. But today I am happy to write here.

I started this blog to note down only variety recipes. I do have some every day recipes when they turned out exceptionally delicious. I have noted down recipes only after successfully trying them out. I believe, cooking is an art but anyone with interest can excel at it with patience and practice. Cooking a tasty dish once in a while with help is not a big deal. But cooking everyday and managing everything from grocery to cleaning, avoiding any waste of food, making sure about nutrition, bringing variety and keeping budget factor in mind is some task.

This blog has made me more disciplined and meticulous about what I cook. I am looking forward to many more recipes

Happy cooking and happy eating and now, happy writing!