Parwal, Potol or Pointed Gourd Stir-Fry

Parval, Potol, Parwal Stir-Fry

Parval, Potol, Parwal Stir-Fry

It is after a long time that I am posting an “every day” dish. Parwal (aka Potol or Pointed Gourd) is a vegetable that results is a very crispy, crunchy stir-fry that I love very much as a side-dish to Curd Rice, Sambar Rice or Bisi Bele Bhath. It is easy to make and is so crunchy that I do not feel the need to have Appalam or Papad. :-)

Parwal has lots of seeds and the trick is to choose Parwal that is green and firm so that the seeds are crunchy without being hard.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  1. Parwal or Potol – 300 gms
  2. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  3. Oil – 1 tbsp
  4. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Slice the Parval into thin discs.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed kadhai or wok, over a medium flame, heat 1 tbsp oil.
  3. Add the Parval to oil.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Stir-fry till the Parval is cooked through and is crisp around the edges.
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Add salt and chilli powder.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Serve as accompaniment to Curd Rice, Sambar Rice or Bisi Bele Bhath.

Tips

  1. If you want the Parwal to be slightly soft, then add salt in step 3 and cook covered while stirring occasionally.

Meethe Chawal or Zarda Pulao – Ramzan or Ramadan Special

Meethe Chawal, Zarda Chawal or Sweet Rice - Ramadan or Ramzan, Eid

Meethe Chawal, Zarda Chawal or Sweet Rice

I am so enjoying this series of Ramadan or Ramzan special recipes. It has given me a chance to explore a whole new range of cuisines and recipes. One dish that I am very very fond of is Meethe Chawal or Zarda Chawal. This sweet saffron-flavoured rice peppered with dry fruits is so easy to make and so very utterly delicious.

Common to a whole range of North Indian cuisines, Meethe Chawal is particularly important and essential dish on most festive occasions. It is also  a part of Iftar during Ramzan/Ramadan and the festivities of Eid.

Serves: 4

Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Basmati Rice – 1 Cup
  2. Ghee – 1/4 Cup
  3. Sugar – 1.25 Cups
  4. Cashews – 6 to 8
  5. Almonds – 6 to 8
  6. Raisins – 20
  7. Cloves – 4
  8. Cinnamon – 2″ Piece
  9. Green Cardamom – 4
  10. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  11. Saffron Strands – A Large Pinch (20)
  12. Salt – 1/2 tsp
  13. Water

Zarda Rice or Sweet Rice - Ramazan or Ramadan

Preparation for Meethe Chawal

  1. Wash and soak the basmati rice in 2 cups water for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Split the cashews into quarters.
  4. Cut the almonds in 1/2 or slice them.
  5. Boil 1.5 cups of water. Set aside. Ensure it remains hot.

Method to Prepare the Rice

  1. Heat the ghee in a pan.
  2. Add cloves, cinnamon, and green cardamom.
  3. Saute for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Add the cashews, almonds and raisins.
  5. Saute for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Add turmeric and drained rice.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Add salt, saffron strands, and 1.5 cups of hot water.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Pressure cook for 3 whistles or cook covered till all the water is absorbed and the rice is just cooked.
  11. Spread on a large plate and let it cool a bit.

Method to Make the Sugar Syrup

  1. Add 1/4 cup water to 1.25 Cups of Sugar.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Over medium flame, heat the sugar and water till it forms a thick syrup.
  4. Let it cool a bit till it is just warm.

Method to Make the Meethe Chawal or Sweet Rice

  1. Mix the sugar syrup and the rice.
  2. Let the Meethe Chawal or Zarda Chawal rest a while.
  3. Enjoy!

Tips

  • You could use Yellow or saffron food colour instead of turmeric.
  • You can add fried/toasted coconut slices to the Meethe Chawal to give it an additional zing!
  • Be sure that the sugar syrup is just thick (all sugar should melt) and not one-string consistency.

Meethe Chawal, Zarda Chawal, Eid Recipe, Ramzan, Ramadan

I am taking this sweet treat to the party at Fiesta Friday #75.

Fiesta Friday

Dindigul Thalappakatti Biryani – A Vegetarian Version – Ramzan or Ramadan Special

Dindigul Thalapakatti Biryani

Dindigul Thalapakatti Biryani

I am a sucker for dishes with exotic names. :-) So the moment I heard the name Dindigul Thalapakatti Biryani I had to—absolutely HAD to—try it.

You can read all about the origins of this recipe at http://www.thalappakatti.com/.

As I searched for the recipe, I found that it was a primarily non-vegetarian dish and so set about adapting it to make a vegetarian version. As I learnt from my experience of converting the Mutton Do Pyaaza to Paneer do Pyaaza, I have to be careful and reduce the spices because vegetables don’t need the same level of spice as meat.

The recipe I have adapted is the Thalapakatti Biryani Recipe found on Kannamma Cooks. Why did I choose this one? Well, first she adapted it from an recipe provided by a cook from the original Thalapakatti Hotel. Secondly, she vouches that the taste is the closest to the original; since I have not tasted the original I had to go with a Chef who said so. Finally, the pictures of her biryani most resembled the original. :-)

A Note: I did not have Seeraga Samba rice that is traditionally used to make this biryani and was not about to go out in pouring rain to get some; so I made it with Basmati. The result was excellent and the next round will be with Seeraga Samba rice which I have bought since.

What I loved about this Biryani is that it had flavours very different from the traditional biryanis, which lends the diversity that I sometimes crave for.

Do try this biryani!

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 45 to 60 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Basmati Rice or Seeraga Samba Rice – 1.25 Cup
  2. French Beans – 10
  3. Potato – 1 Medium
  4. Carrot – 1 Small
  5. Cauliflower Florets – 1/2 Cup
  6. Shallots or Madras Onions – 15
  7. Fresh Garlic Paste – 1.5 tsp
  8. Fresh Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
  9. Yogurt or Dahi – 1/3 Cup
  10. Fresh Coriander – A Handful
  11. Fresh Mint Leaves – A Handful
  12. Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
  13. Green Chillies – 4
  14. Cinnamon – 2″ piece
  15. Cloves – 3
  16. Green Cardamom – 3
  17. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  18. Nutmeg or Jaiphal Powder – A Pinch
  19. Javitri or Mace – 1 Large Petal or Piece
  20. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  21. Bay Leaf – 1
  22. Salt to Taste

Dindigul Thalapakatti Biryani - 1

Preparation for Thalapakatti Biryani

  1. Soak the Basmati Rice in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Peel and cut the potato into 1/2″ pieces.
  4. Peel and cut the carrot into 1/2″ pieces.
  5. Cut the french beans into 1/2″ pieces.
  6. Whisk the dahi till it is smooth.
  7. Chop the mint and coriander leaves into fine pieces.

Method To Make Thalapakatti Biryani

  1. Grind the shallots, garlic, ginger, green chillies, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves into a smooth paste. Add very little water, if required.
  2. In a kadhai or heavy bottomed vessel, heat 1 tbsp of ghee.
  3. Add the bay leave and the ground masala.
  4. Over medium flame, stir-fry the masala for about 3-5 minutes till the raw masala disappears.
  5. Add the potato, carrot pieces, beans, and cauliflower.
  6. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Turn the flame to low.
  8. Add the dahi, salt, and red chilli powder.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Add the mint and coriander leaves.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Add the drained basmati rice.
  13. Mix well.
  14. Add 2 cups water.
  15. Cover and cook till the rice and vegetables is just cooked.
  16. Turn off the heat and let the Thalapakatti Biryani rest for about 30 minutes.
  17. Enjoy!

Tips

  • I used a pressure cooker to make the biryani and it turned out just fine.
  • Do use ghee as it lends a wonderful flavour to the biryani.

Vegetarian Dindigul Thalapakatti Biryani - 2

Baba Ghanoush, Muttabal, or Moutabal – Ramzan or Ramadan Special

Baba Ghanoush, Muttabal or Moutabal -  Smoky Eggplant Dip from the Middle East

Baba Ghanoush, Muttabal or Moutabal – Smoky Eggplant Dip

As I continue to explore the vegetarian African/Middle-Eastern cuisine this holy month of Ramzan, one thing I am keeping an eye on is looking for recipes that don’t need a great deal of preparation or then can be made in advance.

Today, I am falling back on the traditional and popular smoky brinjal dip known as Baba Ghanoush (also called Moutabal or Muttabal). Before I go any further, let me qualify with this post by saying that I tried to read up extensively on the difference between Baba Ghanoush and Moutabal. There are decidedly a whole range of diverse opinions there but I have found that the basic ingredients are the same. In some cases, Moutabal has yogurt added to it. Given how similar the two recipes are, I am using this as a common recipe.

Coming back to Baba Ghanoush, I love anything to do with eggplants and when I found myself with 3 large specimens, I decided to try out this smoky, garlicky eggplant dip. It was a wonderful change from the traditional Andhra recipes of Vankaya Pachi Pulusu and Vankaya Perugu Pachadi.

Makes: 1 Cup

Cooking Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Large Eggplants (Bharta Baingan) – 2
  2. Tahini – 1/4 Cup
  3. Lemon Juice – 1 to 2 tbsp
  4. Garlic Cloves – 2 or 3
  5. Parsley – A Handful
  6. Salt to Taste
  7. Olive Oil for Garnish

Method to Roast the Eggplant

  1. Apply a thin film of oil to the eggplant.
  2. Place the eggplant directly over an open flame.
  3. Slowly cook the eggplant over low to medium flame.
  4. Rotate the eggplant at regular intervals so that it cooks evenly.
  5. Cook the eggplant till the skin becomes crackly and charred and the eggplant becomes very soft.
  6. Place the roasted eggplant in a colander to drain the excess liquid and cool.

Method to Make the Baba Ghanoush

  1. Chop the parsley to fine pieces.
  2. Peel the roasted eggplant.
  3. Grind the roasted eggplant, garlic cloves, Tahini and salt into a smooth paste.
  4. Mix in the sea salt, lemon juice, and parsley.
  5. Drizzle some olive oil.

Tips

  • I place a plate right under the burner as some liquid will drip from the eggplant as it cooks.
  • Ensure that you roast the eggplant slowly over a medium flame. On a high flame, the skin chars but the eggplant itself remains raw.

I am taking this delicious and comforting dip to the party at Fiesta Friday #74.

Fiesta Friday

Milagu Kuzhambu – Hot Pepper Gravy from Tamil Nadu – Guest Post by Aparna Sitaraman

Milagu Kuzhambu - Hot Pepper Gravy from Tamil Nadu

Milagu Kuzhambu – Hot Pepper Gravy from Tamil Nadu

I learnt this recipe for Milagu Kuzhambu from my friend Aparna Sitaraman, who is the sister-in-law of the sister of a close friend. We met at some social functions and hit it off instantly. Aparna lives in Dubai and is a source of all kinds of goodies that I don’t get easily in India. (I sometimes think she must dread coming to India because of the list I come up with :D :D)

She made Milagu Kuzhambu last month and shared the recipe over Whatsapp. Since then I have been meaning to try this is a hot pepper gravy from Tamil Nadu and finally got the opportunity this past weekend which has been all rainy and gloomy. I was looking for something to cheer me up when I remembered this recipe.

Thank you so much Aparna for this gem and keep them coming!

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Udad Dal – 2 tsp
  2. Chana Dal – 2 tsp
  3. Coriander Seeds – 2 tsp
  4. Red Chillies – 4 to 6
  5. Peppercorns – 2 tsp
  6. Thick Tamarind Paste – 1.5 tsp
  7. Grated Jaggery – 1/2 tsp
  8. Asafoetida or Hing – 2 Large Pinches
  9. Curry Leaves – 10
  10. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  11. Oil – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (Gingelly or Sesame Oil Preferred)
  12. Salt to Taste

Method to Make the Paste for Milagu Kuzhambu

  1. Over medium flame, heat 1 tbsp oil.
  2. Add the chana dal and udad dal.
  3. Stir-fry till the dals turn brown.
  4. Add the coriander seeds, pepper corns, red chillies, and 5 curry leaves.
  5. Stir fry for 10 seconds.
  6. Set aside to cool.
  7. Grind the a smooth paste with 2-3 tbsp of water.
Milagu Kuzhambu - Hot Pepper Gravy

Milagu Kuzhambu – Hot Pepper Gravy

Method to Make the Milagu Kuzhambu

  1. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 1/2 cup water.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil.
  3. Add mustard seeds an wait till they splutter.
  4. Add curry leaves, asafoetida, and the tamarind paste.
  5. Let the mix simmer till the raw smell of the tamarind paste disappears.
  6. Add the Milagu Kuzhambu paste and mix well.
  7. Add 3/4 to 1 cup water and salt.
  8. Bring the mix to a boil.
  9. Turn off the heat.
  10. Add jaggery and mix well till it dissolves.
  11. Serve Milagu Kuzhambu with hot rice topped with Sesame Oil or then as an accompaniment to Dosa or Idli.
Sada Dosa with Milagu Kuzhambu

Sada Dosa with Milagu Kuzhambu

Masala Vada, Paruppu Vada, Senaga Pappu Garelu, or Chana Dal Vada – Monsoon Special

Masala Vada, Paruppu Vada, Chana Dal Vada or Senaga Pappu Garelu

Masala Vada or Senaga Pappu Garelu

This weekend Mumbai is deluged by severe rains and Friday was the first of Mumbai’s “stay-at-home-because-of-rains” days that are a norm during Monsoon. The weather is such that it calls for deep-fried goodies such as Onion Pakodas, Batata Vadas, and Samosas with a piping cup of Adrakwali Chai or Ginger Tea or then a tumbler of Filter Kaapi.

Much as I avoid deep-fried dishes, I gave it on Friday and made the traditional South Indian Masala Vada (aka Paruppu Vada, Senaga Pappu Garelu, or Chana Dal Vada). Some of the best Masala Vadas I have had are from street-food vendors. Renigunta Station, which is a stop on the train journey from Mumbai to Chennai is especially famous for its Dal Vadas.

The best part about Masala Vadas is that they get done quickly and need minimal preparation. I decided at lunch that I will make Masala Vadas at tea and soaked Chana Dal for about 3 hrs. Also, you will find all ingredients at home easily.

Makes: 6

Soaking Time: 3 Hours

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Chana Dal or Senaga Pappu – 1/2 Cup
  2. Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Onion – 1 Small
  4. Green Chillies – 2
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  6. Curry Leaves – 6 to 8
  7. Fresh Coriander Leaves – A Handful
  8. Oil – 1 Cup for Deep Frying
  9. Salt to Taste

The Preparation

  1. Soaking the Dal:
    1. Wash and soak the Chana Dal in 1.5 cups of water for 2 to 3 hours.
    2. Drain all the water.
    3. Let the soaked dal remain in the colander for about 15-30 minutes so that all the water is drained from the dal.
  2. Preparing the Other Ingredients:
    1. Peel and chop the onion to fine pieces.
    2. Chop the green chillies, curry leaves and coriander leaves to fine pieces.
  3. Making the Batter:
    1. Keep aside 1 tbsp of the dal.
    2. Grind the soaked dal to a coarse paste. Avoid adding any water.
    3. Mix together the ground dal paste, 1 tbsp soaked dal, onion pieces, chilli powder, green chillies, coriander leaves, curry leaves, and salt.
  4. Making the Dal Vadas:
    1. Divide the batter into 6 portions.
    2. Roll each portion into a ball.
    3. Pat into a 1/2″ patty.
    4. On a high flame, heat 1 cup oil.
    5. To test the heat of the oil, drop a small ball of batter into the oil. It should rise to the surface of the oil immediately and start to fry there.
    6. Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down to medium.
    7. Wait for 30 seconds.
    8. Add the raw Masala Vadas to the oil. Ensure that there is enough space between the vadas.
    9. Let the vadas fry for at least 2 minutes. Do not increase the heat. If you do the vadas will remain uncooked on the inside.
    10. Flip over the vadas and let the vadas fry for 1-2 minutes till the vada is golden brown all over.
    11. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vadas from the oil and place on kitchen tissue paper.
    12. Before adding the next batch of vadas, turn the flame to high for 10 to 15 seconds.
    13. Turn the heat down to medium and fry the next batch of vadas.
  5. Serve the Masala Vadas hot.

Tips

  • Avoid adding water to the chana dal when grinding. If your batter has too much water, the vada will disintegrate when you start to fry it.
  • Keep the paste coarse.
  • Do fry the vadas in medium heat, otheriwse they will brown on the surface but the insides will remain raw.
  • You could add about 1 tsp of rice flour to the batter to get crisper vadas.

Kale Chane ke Kebab – Another Vegetarian Recipe for Iftar at Ramzan/Ramadan

Kale Chane ke Kebab

Kale Chane ke Kebab

As I was planning a series of posts for Iftar and Sehri/Suhoor during Ramzan, I found that I was thinking a lot about sweet dishes. For some reason, I could not think beyond biryanis and pulaos in savoury dishes. It so happened that I was chatting with my friend Aparna (she of the Orange Blossom Water fame) at that time and asked to name a few dishes. She instantly mentioned Kebabs and I could have kicked myself for not thinking of them.

So came about the idea of Dahi ke Kebab (Kababs made of Yogurt that I blogged about recently) and Kale Chane ke Kebab (Kababs made with whole Bengal Gram).

I looked up the Internet for various recipes of Kale Chane ke Kebab and found a great deal of variety including this stuffed one from Chef Pankaj Bhadouria. However, because I intended this kebab as a vegetarian starter for Iftar, I made a simpler, shallow-fried version, which is quite tangy and spicy.

Makes: 10 to 12 x 2″ Kebabs

Soaking Time: 8 to 12 Hours

Cooking Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Kale Chane or Whole Bengal Gram – 1.5 Cups
  2. Besan or Gram Flour – 2 Tbsp
  3. Green Chillies – 4
  4. Fresh Coriander Leaves – 1/4 Cup
  5. Fresh Mint Leaves – 2 tsp
  6. Coriander Powder – 1/4 tsp
  7. Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/4 tsp
  8. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp (Optional)
  9. Amchur Powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
  11. Salt to Taste
  12. Oil – 2 to 3 tbsp

Kale Chane ke Kebab - Recipe

Method to Make the Dough for Kale Chane ke Kebab

  1. Soak the Kala Chana in 3-4 Cups of water for at least 8 hours.
  2. Drain the water completely.
  3. Pressure cook the soaked chana in about 3 cups of water for 3 whistles or till they are soft.
  4. Using a colander, drain the water completely.
  5. Leave the boiled chana in a colander for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
  6. Dry roast the besan till it starts to change colour.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Grind the green chillies, mint, and fresh coriander into a coarse paste.
  9. Without using any water, grind the soaked kala chana to a coarse paste.
  10. Place the ground kala chana in a large plate or bowl.
  11. Add the coriander powder, roasted cumin powder, amchur powder, red chilli powder, lemon juice, and coriander-mint-green chillies paste.
  12. Mix well.
  13. Add salt and lemon juice. Mix well.
  14. Add the besan a little at a time till the dough is soft but firm. If required, add a little water (1 tsp at a time).
  15. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Method to Make the Kale Chane ke Kebab

  1. Grease your palms.
  2. Divide the dough into 10 to 12 equal portions.
  3. Roll each portion into a ball.
  4. Pat each ball into a 1/2″ thick circle.
  5. Shape all the kebabs.
  6. Heat a non-stick pan till it is just hot.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium.
  8. Add about 1/4 tsp of oil.
  9. Place a few kebabs on the pan about 1″ apart.
  10. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or till the side touching the pan is nicely browned and crisp.
  11. Flip over and drizzle a few drops of oil along the edges of the kebabs.
  12. Cook till the flip side is golden brown as well.
  13. Serve the Kale Chane ke Kebab with Dahi Wali Pudina Chutney or Tomato Ketchup.

Tips

  • Drain the boiled chana well. I actually left it to drain for about 2 hrs.
  • Add just enough besan to make a firm yet soft dough.
  • The kebabs dry out quickly so do not fry them too long.
  • have not tried deep-frying these kebabs.
  • Be careful about the amount of salt you use because of the amchur and lemon juice.
  • You can make the kebabs in advance and refrigerate them in ziploc bags. Leave them out for 10 minutes before shallow frying them.

Kala Chana Kebab

I am taking these kebab to the party at Fiesta Friday #73.

A Roundup of Vegetarian (and Some Vegan) Recipes for Iftar at Ramzan or Ramadan

I am been very blessed to have grown up in a multi-cultural environment; thanks to my parents work environment and my growing up in Mumbai. During Ramzan, I go to Mohammad Ali Road with my friends during Iftar just to soak in the atmosphere. As a vegetarian, many of the goodies that my friends gorge on are out of bounds for me. I make do with gorging on sweets. :D When I cannot go, my friends who live nearby get me parcels of Malpua, Phirni and other goodies. :-) When I was very young, we had a full-time nanny, Astari-bai, who used to get me all kinds of goodies during Ramazan (and even otherwise). I have yet to eat a sweet Sevaiyan to beat hers. Then there was my brother’s friend Muzzamil whose mom used to make separate vegetarian Biryani just for us. I dedicate this post to all of them; they who ensured I was never left out of any celebration! Many of these recipes do not need a lot of preparation or cooking (some do) and many will result in dishes that will keep a day or two. May this Ramazan be the most blessed period in the life of all my friends.

Starters, Soups, and Salads

  1. Dahi ke Kebab
  2. Hara Bhara Kebab
  3. Paneer Hariyali
  4. Falafel
  5. Hummus
  6. Dates Stuffed with Almond Paste
  7. Lablabi or Leblebi
  8. Chickpead Salad

Biryani and Pulao

  1. Paneer Biryani
  2. Soya Biryani
  3. Egg or Anda Biryani
  4. Methi Tamatar Pulao

Rotis or Parathas

  1. Paneer and Papad Paratha
  2. Koki

Egg Dishes

  1. Kerala Egg Roast
  2. Egg Curry in Coconut Milk
  3. Boiled Egg Curry – 1
  4. Boiled Egg Curry – 2
  5. Anda Bhurji

Paneer Dishes

  1. Paneer Kali Mirch
  2. Paneer Do Pyazaa
  3. Paneer Achari

Dips

  1. Harissa
  2. Dahiwali Pudina Chutney
  3. Tzatziki
  4. Salsa Verde
  5. Raw Mango and Pineapple Salsa

Desserts

  1. Sheer Korma
  2. Revani
  3. Mahalabia
  4. Nankhatai
  5. Phirni

Accompaniments

  1. Papad Churi
  2. Papad Roll

Methamba – A Sweet, Spicy, Tangy Raw Mango and Fenugreek Chutney from Maharashtra

Methamba - A Raw Mango and Fenugreek Relish from Maharashtra

Methamba – A Raw Mango and Fenugreek Relish from Maharashtra

Truth be told, I had quite forgotten about Methamba till I saw Nitali post it on her blog nitaliblogs at https://nitaliblogs.wordpress.com. The moment I saw her post on Methamba I knew I had to make it.

Do visit Nitali’s blog for more wonderful recipes; The Family Recipes Project section is an absolute treasure.

Methamba is a tangy, spicy, sweet chutney with just a hint of bitterness made with raw mangoes. A well-made Methamba can be quite a palate tickler with a medley of tastes doing a tap dance in your mouth.

Makes: 1 Cup

Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Sour Raw Mango Pieces – 1 Cup
  2. Grated Jaggery – 1/3 Cup
  3. Sugar – 1 tbsp (optional; omit if the mangoes are not very sour)
  4. Methi or Fenugreek – 1 tsp
  5. Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  6. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  8. Asafoetida – A Pinch
  9. Oil – 1 tbsp
  10. Salt to Taste
Methamba - Raw Mango and Fenugreek Relish or Chutney

Methamba – Raw Mango and Fenugreek Chutney

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  3. Add the methi dana and stir-fry till they start to change colour and you can smell the aroma of methi.
  4. Add the raw mango pieces and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add chilli powder, asafoetida, and turmeric.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Over medium heat, cook covered till the mango pieces soften a bit. Stir occasionally.
  8. Add the 1/2 cup water.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Cook till the mango pieces turn translucent and are soft.
  11. Add grated jaggery, salt, and sugar.
  12. Cook till the jaggery melts.
  13. Serve as an accompaniment to rotis.
  14. To store, refrigerate the Methamba.
Methamba - A Recipe from Maharashtra

Methamba

Dahi Ke Kebab

Dahi ke Kebab, Yogurt Kebab

Dahi ke Kebab

When I first read about this Dahi ke Kebab over an year ago, I was intrigued by the idea of making a kebab out of dahi or yogurt. I have been meaning to make this kebab ever since but have never got around to it. Last week I was making hung curd to make Shrikhand when I suddenly remembered this kebab. So I made some extra hung curd and went on to make these delicious kebabs.

Dahi ke Kebab has been quite a revelation to me. It is melt-in-your mouth soft (I understand what the Hindi term “makhmali” means now :-)). Even better was the delicate flavouring of this kebab which has an assortment of elusive tastes dancing on your tongue as you are savouring this kebab. In fact, so delicate the flavouring of the kebab that I would recommend that you eat it by itself.

I have seen recipes that use onions, ginger-garlic paste, and other such seasonings. However, I preferred this version which is mildly spiced but with aromatic spiced.

Makes: 10 x 2″ Dahi ke Kebab

Time to Make Hung Curd: 6 to 8 Hours

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Cooking Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Hung Curd – 2 Cups
    or
    Regular Curd – 6 Cups (Curd with ~1 litre of milk)
  2. Green Chillies – 3
  3. Cloves – 3 or 4
  4. Cinnamon – 3/4″ square piece
  5. Green Cardamom – 2
  6. Roasted Chana Dal or Bhuna Dal – 1/3 Cup
  7. Salt to Taste
  8. Ghee or Oil for shallow frying
Dahiwale Kebab - Yogurt Kebab

Dahiwale Kebab – Yogurt Kebab

Method to Make Hung Curd – 1

  1. Pour the regular dahi/yogurt into a large muslin or thin cotton cloth.
  2. Tie-up the ends of the cloth and hang the bundle from a tap or a cupboard handle.
  3. Place a vessel under the bundle to collect the whey.
  4. Let the bundle hang for about 6 to 8 hours till you get firm hung curd.
  5. You can save the whey to make chapati dough.

Method to Make Hung Curd – 2

  1. Cover a colander a large cotton or muslin cloth.
  2. Place/suspend the colander in a vessel such that there is at least 2-3″ space between the bottom of the colander and the inside of the vessel. This is the space in which the whey will collect. If you do not have enough space then the whey will touch the hung curd and make it wet.
  3. Pour the dahi/yoghurt into the cloth.
  4. Let the whey drain for 30 to 60 minutes.
  5. Fold the cloth over to form a bundle.
  6. Place a flat, heavy weight on the bundle.
  7. Let the whey drain for further 4 to 6 hours.
  8. You can save the whey to make chapati dough.

Method to Make the Dahi ke Kebab

  1. Grind the cloves, cinnamon, green chillies, cardamom seeds, and roasted chana dal into a fine powder.
  2. Place hung curd in a bowl.
  3. Add the ground roasted dal powder and salt.
  4. Mix well to form a soft dough that just about holds shape. It should not be very firm.
  5. Grease your palms lightly.
  6. Grease a plate.
  7. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions.
  8. Roll each portion into a ball.
  9. Pat each ball into a round shape about 1/2″ thick.
  10. Place each kebab on to the greased plate.
  11. Heat a non-stick pan till it is just about hot. The pan should not be very hot.
  12. Spread about about 1/2 tsp of oil or ghee.
  13. Place a few kebabs on the heated pan with at least 2″ space between adjacent kebabs.
  14. If required, drizzle a few drops of ghee or oil along the edges of the kebabs.
  15. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  16. Cook till the side touching the pan is lightly browned.
  17. Flip over and cook till the other side is lightly browned.
  18. Cook the remaining kebabs in the same way.
  19. Serve the Dahi ke Kebab warm with some Dahiwali Pudina Chutney.
Dahi ke Kebab

Dahi ke Kebab

Tips

  • Ensure that the hung curd is firm. It is of the required consistency if it holds shape if you roll it into a ball.
  • The amount of roasted chana you will need will vary a bit based on the moisture content in the hung curd.
  • Do remember to grease your palms before you roll the kebabs because otherwise it may stick to your fingers. This is the reason why we grease the plate as well.
  • You could also transfer each kebab directly into the heated pan. However, I have found that the kebabs cook very fast and so you will have to multi-task efficiently to avoid burnt Dahi ke Kebab.
  • While making the hung curd, I use Method 2 and keep the colander (weight et al) in the fridge overnight.

I am taking this wonderful starter to the party at Fiesta Friday #72.

Ragi Dosa or Nachni Dosa (Finger Millet Pancake)

Ragi Dosa, Nachni Dosa, Finger Millet Pancake

Ragi Dosa, Nachni Dosa, Finger Millet Pancake

Ragi or Nachni (Finger Millet) is a power house of nutrients. It is rich in calcium, iron, fibre, amino acids and anti-oxidants. People in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh often have Ragi Malt (Ambali) for breakfast. I have been trying to incorporate Ragi into my diet and one of the ways I like is in the form of Ragi Dosa.

This dosa looks different but has a taste quite similar to that of Rava Dosa or Godhuma Dosa. And then there is the fact that this is an instant dosa. No soaking, no fermenting, no grinding. :-)

Makes: 12 to 16

Preparation Time: 10 Mins

Time per Dosa: 3-4 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Ragi Flour – 1 Cup
  2. Wheat Flour – 1/4 Cup
    Or
    Rice Flour – 1/4 Cup
  3. Sour Yogurt – 1/2 Cup (optional, omit for a vegan version)
  4. Green Chillies – 3
  5. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  6. Water – 2 Cups
  7. Salt to Taste
  8. Oil to Fry

Method to Make the Batter for Ragi Dosa

  1. Chop the green chillies to fine pieces.
  2. Pound together the cumin and green chillies to a coarse paste.
  3. Beat the yogurt to a smooth paste.
  4. Mix together the yogurt and water to form thin butter milk.
  5. Add the buttermilk to the ragi flour and wheat/rice flour slowly.
  6. Keep mixing to avoid lumps.
  7. Add green chilli-cumin paste and salt to the ragi dosa batter.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Set aside for 10 Minutes.

Method to Make the Batter for Ragi Dosa

  1. Heat a tava.
  2. If you are using a regular (iron) tava, add about 1/2 tsp oil and spread evenly along the surface.
    Or
    If you are using a non-stick tava, you don’t need to add any oil.
  3. Mix the ragi dosa batter well.
  4. Ensure that the tava is really hot.
  5. Using a small cup, pour the ragi dosa batter in a circular fashion to create a dosa. Do not spread like a regular dosa.
  6. Drizzle a few drops of oil along the edges, if required.
  7. Let the dosa cook.
  8. Using a spatula, loosen the edges and work your way towards the centre.
  9. Flip the dosa over.
  10. Let the dosa cook for 1-2 minutes.
  11. Serve hot with Molaga Podi or Coconut Chutney.

Tips

  • I use both wheat flour and rice flour.
  • The batter should be thin.
  • Before making each dosa, mix the batter thoroughly. All the flour tends to settle at the bottom.
  • I find that as I make the dosas, I have to add a bit of water to the batter.
  • When cooking on a non-stick pan, if you want the dosa to be crisp, add a few drops of oil. Without the oil, the dosa is soft.
  • You could add finely chopped onions to the batter, if required.

Moong Dal Palak Khichdi (Cooked in Buttermilk)

Dal Palak Khichdi

Dal Palak Khichdi

Over the past month I have been making as many one-pot meals as possible. This is because my father has 9 stitches to the middle finger of his right hand; trophy of a minor accident during home repairs. As a result, he cannot eat with his fingers and uses a spoon.

Also, this past Saturday, the heat finally let up and Mumbai was cloudy heralding the monsoon. It was in my opinion the perfect Khichidi weather. I had a lot of Palak at home and so I decided to make Moong Dal Palak Khichidi. If I did it my way, I would have just added Palak to the regular Khichdi. Then I came across this recipe Hare Moong ki Khichdi with Palak on Chef Sanjeev Kapoor‘s site and decided to try that. I was intrigued by the use of buttermilk as a cooking medium. The way I saw it it was Kadhi-Khichidi in one!

This Khichdi turned out to be a delight with a slightly tangy taste from the buttermilk and is now on its way to being a staple in my home.

Serves: 4

Soaking Time: 60 Mins

Cooking Time: 45 Mins

Ingredients

  1. Rice – 1.5 Cups
  2. Whole Moong or Split Moong (with Skin) – 3/4 Cup
  3. Finely Chopped Palak or Spinach – 3 Cups
  4. Buttermilk – 5 Cups
  5. Green Chillies – 3
  6. Cloves – 6
  7. Cumin – 1.5 tsp
  8. Ghee – 2-3 tbsp
  9. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  10. Salt to Taste
Moong Dal Palak Khichadi cooked in buttermilk

Moong Dal Palak Khichadi

Preparations

  1. Soak the Moong Dal in 2 Cups water for 1 hour.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Set aside
  4. Soak the rice in water for about 15 minutes.
  5. Drain the water.
  6. Set aside.
  7. Slit the green chillies.

To Make Moong Dal Palak Khichdi

  1. In a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed vessel, heat 2 tbsp ghee.
  2. Add the cumin and cloves and stir-fry till the cumin starts to change colour.
  3. Add the drained dal and rice.
  4. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat to low.
  6. Add the spinach, turmeric, green chillies, and salt.
  7. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add the buttermilk and 3/4 tsp salt.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Over medium heat, pressure cook for 4 whistles.
  11. Do not open the pressure cooker for at least 10 minutes.
  12. Open the pressure cooker.
  13. Mix well.
  14. Add salt, if required, and mix well.
  15. Serve hot topped with a generous dollop of ghee!

Tips

  • I had split green moong at home and I used it to make this khichdi.
  • Be sure to turn the heat to low before adding the spinach etc. in step 6. This allows the temperature to come down so that when you add the buttermilk it will not curdle.
  • In my opinion, the Moong Dal Palak Khichdi does not even need papad or achar as a side. I just washed it down with some Masala Chaas.
Moong Dal Palak Khichidi

Moong Dal Palak Khichidi

Avial or Aviyal (Mixed Vegetable Stew with Coconut, Cumin, and Yogurt)

Avial or Aviyal - Mixed Vegetable Stew from Kerala

Avial or Aviyal

I simply love Aviyal (also spelt as Avial). Not only is it simple to make but has the goodness of oh-so-many-vegetables flavoured with a coconut-cumin-green chilli paste and incorporating a touch of sourness from yoghurt or curd.

A staple from the Southern Indian state of Kerala, Avial can be made as spicy or as mild as you want.

Serves: 4

Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Kanda, Suran, or Elephant Yam – 100 grams
  2. Aratikaya, Kela, or Plantain – 1
  3. Budidi Gummidikaya, Safed Bhopla, or Ash Gourd – 100 gms
  4. Gummidikaya, Lal Bhopla, or Red Pumpkin – 100 gms
  5. French Beans or String Beans – 12 to 16
  6. Carrot – 1 small
  7. Drum Stick – 1
  8. Slightly Sour Curd – 1/2 Cup
  9. Green Chillies – 4 or 5
  10. Grated Coconut – 2/3 Cup
  11. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  12. Turmeric – A Large Pinch
  13. Curry Leaves – 4 or 5
  14. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp

Method

  1. Grind the grated coconut, cumin seeds, and green chillies to a smooth paste with a little water. Set aside.
  2. Wash, peel and dice all vegetables into small pieces.
  3. Cover with just enough water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
    or
    Cook in an open vessel till all vegetables are done.
  4. While the vegetables are still warm, pour the coconut oil over them.
  5. Add the curry leaves, turmeric and salt.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Drizzle the coconut oil over the vegetable.
  8. Cover the vegetables with the ground coconut paste. Do not mix.
  9. Cover the coconut paste with the yogurt. Do not mix.
  10. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. With a gentle hand, mix well.
  12. Serve warm with rice and appalam.
Aviyal - A Recipe from Kerala

Aviyal

Tips

  • The vegetables should not be over-cooked, else you will have a mushy avail on hand.
  • Do not heat the coconut oil.
  • I sometimes add peas as well.

Try eating Avial with Venn Pongal. :-)

Aviyal - Mixed Vegetable Curry from Kerala

Aviyal – Mixed Vegetable Curry from Kerala

I am taking this wonderfl stew to the party at Fiesta Friday #71!

Besan Wali Shimla Mirch ki Bhaji (Capsicum Curry with Gram Flour)

Besan Wali Shimla Mirch ki Bhaji - Capsicum Curry with Gram Flour

Besan Wali Shimla Mirch ki Bhaji – Capsicum Curry with Gram Flour

Truth be told, Capsicum or Shimla Mirch is not amongst the favourite vegetables in my home. For many, many years, the only way we cooked Capsicum was as Alu and Shimla Mirch ki Bhaji (Potato and Capsicum Curry) or then as this Besan Wali Shimla Mirch Curry (aka Capsicum Zunka in Maharashtra as I discovered).

Over time actually, I have grown to like this recipe and now make it regularly.

Serves: 4

Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Shimla Mirch/Capsicum – 1/2 Kg
  2. Besan/Gram Flour – 3 tbsp
  3. Rava/Semolina – 1/2 tsp
  4. Haldi/Turmeric – 1 Big Pinch
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 3/4 tsp
  6. Amchur Powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Rai/Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  9. Oil – 1 tbsp
  10. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Deseed and finely chop the capsicum.
  2. In a kadai/wok, dry roast the rava till it starts to turn brown.
  3. Add the besan to the rava and roast till the besan starts to change colour.
  4. Add turmeric to the besan-rava mix.
  5. Mix well and set aside.
  6. In a kadai/wok, heat the oil.
  7. Add rai and wait till it splutters.
  8. Add the capsicum and fry over medium heat till the capsicum is cooked.
  9. Add the salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and amchur.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add the besan to the fried capsicum and mix well.
  12. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  13. Serve hot with rotis.
Shimla Mirch Zunka

Shimla Mirch Zunka

Tips

  • The rava ensures that the besan does not form clumps.
  • Do not increase the amount of rava, else the curry will be grainy.
  • You should roast both the rava and besan well, else it will taste raw when added to the curry.
  • Do not add water to the capsicum while it is cooking. This is because the capsicum contains enough water.
  • You know the capsicum is cooked when it starts to reduce in size and turns a slightly translucent.

Dates Stuffed with Almond Paste – A Recipe from Morocco

Dates Stuffed with Almonds Paste - Recipe from Morocco, Ramzan, Iftar, Sheri Recipe

Dates Stuffed with Almonds Paste

I am in love! I am in love!

With Orange Blossom Water or Orange Flower Water.

Let me not get ahead of myself but start at the beginning. Last year, I was looking up recipes from Africa and the Middle-East when I found that several dessert recipes called for Orange Blossom Water or Orange Flower Water. Some friends told me I could use Kewra instead but I was loathe to do that. Luckily, I had a friend, Aparna, who was coming down from Dubai and so I made a call to her. The sweetheart that she is, Aparna got me a large bottle of Orange Blossom Water and it remained unopened for over 6 months till this past Friday, when I finally made these almond paste stuffed dates.

The moment I broke open the seal and had the first whiff of the wonderful aroma of Orange Blossom Water, I knew I was done for. It is mild, floral and not at all citrusy as I had expected. When added to the food, it lent a beautiful taste that is instantly identifiable as middle-eastern.

These almond stuffed dates were so-so easy to make and an absolute delight to taste. Very different from the Indian desserts that I am used to.

While the original recipe calls for medjool dates, I had the regular Indian dates at home and used those as a base for this recipe. Given that the Indian dates are much smaller in size and also softer in texture, pitting them while retaining the shape and then stuffing them was a bit of a challenge. However, the end result was delicious.

The next time around I will try this with Medjool dates and update the post! :-)

Makes: 18-20 Small Stuffed Dates or 12 Medjool Dates

Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Indian Dates with Seed – 18 or 20
    or
    Medjool Dates – 12
  2. Almonds – 1/3 Cup
  3. Sugar – 1/4 Cup
  4. Butter – 1/4 tsp
  5. Orange Blossom Water – 1 tsp
  6. Cinnamon – 1/2″ piece

To Garnish (Optional)

  1. Crushed Pistachios – 4 or 5
  2. Crushed Almonds – 3

Method to Make the Almond Paste

  1. Boil about 2 cups water.
  2. Turn off the heat.
  3. Add the almonds to the boiling water.
  4. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the water.
  6. While the almonds are still warm, peel them by just pinching them.
  7. Grind together the sugar and cinnamon to a fine powder.
  8. Add the almonds grind to a smooth paste. Do not add water.
  9. Add butter and orange blossom water.
  10. Grind to smooth paste.

Method to Make the Almond Paste Stuffed Dates

  1. Pit or deseed the dates.
  2. Set aside.
  3. If using garnish, mix together the crushed pistachios and almonds.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Take a small portion of the almond paste and stuff each date.
  6. Just dip the almond paste portion of the date in the crushed pistachio and almond garnish.
  7. Repeat till all dates are stuffed.
  8. Enjoy!
Dates Stuffed with Almonds Paste - A Moroccon Speciality

Dates Stuffed with Almonds Paste – A Moroccon Speciality

Pesara Pappu Pachadi (Moong Dal/Husked Green Gram Chutney)

Pesara Pappu Pachadi - Moong Dal Chutney - Andhra Pradesh Roti Pachadi

Pesara Pappu Pachadi – Moong Dal Chutney

Pesara Pappu Pachadi is an oh-so-simple pachadi made from Pesara Pappu, Moong Dal or Husked Green Gram. I make it when I don’t feel like cooking. Yesterday was a scorcher in Mumbai (I hope the heat wave ends soon :-() and as it is we were loathe to have lunch. So I made this pachadi and all we needed was some rice and rasam to accompany it!

Serves: 4

Soaking Time: 45 Minutes

Cooking Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Pesara Pappu Moong Dal – 2/3 Cup
  2. Red Chillies – 4
  3. Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
  4. Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  5. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  6. Oil – 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric – A Pinch
  8. Curry Leaves – A Few
  9. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Wash the pesara pappu thoroughly.
  2. Soak the pesara pappu in 1.5 cups water for 45 minutes.
  3. Drain the excess water. Retain some of the water as it is useful while grinding the chutney.
  4. Split the red chillies.
  5. Dry roast 3 red chillies and 1/2 a tsp of cumin till the cumin and chillies starts to change color. Stir constantly or the cumin and red chillies will burn.
  6. Grind together the pesara pappu, turmeric roasted cumin and chillies to a fine paste. Add a little water, if required.
  7. Remove the Pesara Pappu Pachadi into a bowl.
  8. Add salt and lemon juice.
  9. Mix well.
  10. In a heavy ladle, heat the oil.
  11. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  12. Add the cumin seeds and 1 split red chilly.
  13. Stir-fry for a few seconds.
  14. Add the curry leaves and saute for about 2-3 seconds.
  15. Add the tempering or poppu to the Pesara Pappu Pachadi.
  16. Mix well.
  17. Serve with hot rice and ghee!

Tips

  • Do use a good amount of chillies and/or lemon juice, else the pachadi will be bland. :-(

Lablabi or Leblebi – A Tunisian Chickpea Soup

Lablabi or Leblebi - Chickpea Soup from Tunisia

Lablabi or Leblebi – Chickpea Soup from Tunisia

Since I have started exploring African and Mediterranean cuisine these past few weeks, I have been surprised by two things:

  1. The number of vegetarian options that are available (then there are non-vegetarian recipes that could be adapted to become vegetarian).
  2. How “Indian” some of these dishes taste.

Today, I am exploring Lablabi or Leblebi, a chickpea soup from Tunisia. When I stumbled upon this recipe, I could instantly identify with the tastes. I was also a bit curious about how it would taste as it had so few spices and ingredients.

To be honest, even while it was cooking I was a bit iffy, but when I put it all together, the Lablabi turned out to be super delicious! As a bonus, this chickpea soup is relatively low-calorie, protein-rich and spicy. What more can one ask for?

Here’s to exploring more of African cuisine, especially Tunisian.

Lablabi is served on a bed of slightly old crusty bread with an assorted set of toppings such as Harissa, Preserved Lemon, Fresh Tomatoes, Poached Eggs, and more.

Lablabi looks and should be watery. This liquid will be absorbed by the bread which is an integral part of serving the Lablabi. The bread, after it absorbs the water, tastes simply divine!

Serves: 4

Soaking Time: 8 to 12 Hours

Cooking Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients for Lablabi

  1. Chickpeas or Kabuli Chana – 1 Cup
  2. Onion – 1 Large
  3. Carrot – 1 Medium
  4. Minced Garlic – 1/2 tsp
  5. Roasted Cumin Powder – 1 to 1.5 tsp
  6. Bay Leaf – 1
  7. Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
  8. Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
  9. Salt to Taste

To Serve

  1. Harissa
  2. Preserved Lemon (See notes for a substitute :-))
  3. Bread Slices – 4

The Method to Make Lablabi

  1. Soak the chickpeas in 2 cups of water for at least 8 hours.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Add fresh water and pressure cook the chickpeas till they are soft.
  4. Set aside and preserve the water in which the chickpeas were cooked.
  5. Chop the onions and carrots to fine pieces.
  6. In a pan or a wok, heat the olive oil.
  7. Add the onions and bay leaf.
  8. Stir-fry till the onions are transparent.
  9. Add the minced garlic and carrots.
  10. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes.
  11. Add the cumin powder and mix well.
  12. Add 1.5 cups of water in which the chickpeas were cooked.
  13. Bring to a simmer.
  14. Add the cooked chickpeas.
  15. Turn down the heat to medium-low.
  16. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
    1. Check occasionally to ensure that there is enough water.
    2. Add more water if required.
  17. Turn off the heat.
  18. Add the salt and lemon juice.
  19. Mix well.
  20. Discard the bay leaf and set aside the Lablabi to rest.

To Serve the Lablabi/Leblebi

  1. Lightly toast the bread.
  2. Chop up the bread into small pieces.
  3. Cut the preserved lemon into fine strips.
  4. Ensure that the Lablabi is hot.
  5. Place 1/4 the toasted bread in a bowl.
  6. Pour a generous helping of the Lablabi.
  7. Garnish with Harissa and Preserved Lemon.
  8. Mix well and savour!
Lablabi with Harissa and Preserved Lemon

Lablabi with Harissa and Preserved Lemon

Tips

  • You could make preserved lemon but that takes some time (2-3 weeks for the lemons to pickle). I cheated. :-)
    1. I took pieces from Nimmakaya or Nimbu ka Achar.
    2. Washed off all the masala and oil. :-)
    3. Used the pieces in place of the preserved lemons. The taste was close enough!
    4. While the pictures show large lemon pieces, I actually sliced them very fine and mixed them up in the Lablabi.
  • If you don’t have Harissa, you could use chilli powder and coriander powder as a substitute but the result is just not the same. :-(
  • If you have some stale crusty bread, use that without toasting. I had only fresh bread and so I toasted the bread.
  • You could add a poached or fried eggs as a topping. I believe that in Tunisia the Lablabi is served so hot that a raw egg is broken onto the Lablabi poaches in the heat.
Lablabi or Leblebi - Chickpea Soup from Tunisia. A recipe for the Ramzan Sehri or Iftar.

Leblebi – Chickpea Soup from Tunisia

I am taking this hearty soup to the party at:

Fiesta Friday

PLANTBASED-POTLUCK250bordered-250a

Mudda Pappu or Plain Dal

Mudda Pappu

Mudda Pappu

Mudda Pappu could be loosely translated into a ball of dal (mudda = ball, pappu = dal). Mudda Pappu is just plain tuvar dal (kandi pappu) boiled, mashed and seasoned with salt. The consistency is such that if you serve a ladle of Mudda Pappu it retains the shape of the ladle.

It is savoured after being mixed with hot steaming rice and a generous dollop of ghee. By default, mudda pappu annam (rice mixed with plain dal) is the first course of any traditional Andhra meal.

Mudda Pappu is also fed to small children every day because it is very nutritious. It is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. My earliest memories of Pappu Annam are Amma mixing some in a plate and feeding my brother and me. Then there was my paternal aunt, Lakshmi Atta, who also did the same for all cousins who gathered in her home during summer vacations. Yep! we were a pampered lot! :-)

Did you know that proteins need some amount of fat to digest well? That explains why Indian traditionally add a generous dose of neyyi or ghee to any form of dal/protein.

Nothing is simpler to make than Mudda Pappu.

Serves: 4

Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Tuvar Dal or Kandi Pappu – 1 Cup
  2. Water – 2 Cups
  3. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. In a wok, over medium flame, dry roast the dal till it starts to change colour.
  2. Add the roasted dal to 2 cups of water and let it soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Pressure cook the dal till it is of mashable consistency. (Approximately 4 whistles or releases of pressure)
  4. Let the pressure cooker cool.
  5. Mash the dal.
  6. Add salt and mix well.
  7. Serve hot with steamed rice and ghee with AvakaiNimmakaya or Nimmakaya Kharam on the side.
Mudda Pappu or Plain Dal with Rice and Ghee or Neyyi - Andhra Pradesh Meal

Mudda Pappu or Plain Dal with Rice and Ghee

Ways to Savor Mudda Pappu

I have realised that while I blog about traditional recipes I rarely write about how some dishes are traditionally savoured or eaten. So here is an attempt with Mudda Pappu.

  1. Mudda Pappu with Avakai, Nimmakaya, or Other Such Pickles

    Probably the best way to savour mudda pappu annam is to have each mouthful with a spicy pickle such as Avakai along with it. Even pachadis like Kobbari-Mammidikaya Pachadi or Kothimmera Pachadi are excellent side dishes to eat with Mudda Pappu Annam.

    Mudda Pappu Annam with Avakai

    Mudda Pappu Annam with Avakai

  2. Mudda Pappu Annam with Charu or Rasam

    Rasam or Charu is also an excellent accompaniment to Mudda Pappu Annam. It does not really matter what type of rasam but I love Miriyala Charu/Pepper Rasam or Nimmakaya Charu/Lemon Rasam as an accompaniment. You could take the rasam in a katori or small bowl and dip small balls (mudda) of dal-rice in it; however, at home we make a small “well” in the rice and then pour hot rasam into it. The skill lies in breaks of small pieces of the “well wall”, mixing it with charu and gobbling it; all the while ensuring that the rest of the rasam does not spread all over the place. :-)

    Mudda Pappu Annam with Miriyala Charu

    Mudda Pappu Annam with Miriyala Charu

Paneer Do Pyaza or Dopiaza (Cottage Cheese Curry with Loads of Onions)

Paneer Do Pyaza, Mughlai, Cottage Cheese Curry

Paneer Do Pyaza

One of the blogs I follow religiously is Savoury and Sweet Food by Sadia Mohamed. Do visit her blog and you will know why I say that. Not only does Sadia cook the most amazing food, she photographs it beautifully too. The moment I saw her Mutton Do Pyaza pics, I knew I had to adapt it to a vegetarian version.

And adapt I did. It turned out to be a super delicious treat this weekend.

This recipe has essentially two ingredients—paneer and onions—cooked in a variety of spices. The onion plays a starring role in this dish; grated onion is used in the marinade and finely sliced onions are used in the making of the curry base. Hence the name, Do Pyaza or Dopiaza, which literally means “with two onions”.

I originally intended to make Bhindi do Pyaza but then opted for Paneer as it did not need additional cooking. Now that I have made this dish once, I intend to experiment with Anda Do Pyaza and Bhindi Do Pyaza.

Serves: 4

Marinating Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Curry

  1. Paneer – 250 gms
  2. Finely Sliced Onions – 4 Packed Cups
  3. Ghee – 3 tbsp
  4. Sugar – 1 tsp
  5. Fresh Grated Ginger – 1/2 tsp
  6. Fresh Minced Garlic – 1/2 tsp
  7. Green Cardamom – 2
  8. Cinnamon – 1″ Stick
  9. Cloves – 2
  10. Green Chillies – 2
  11. Black Pepper Powder – 1/4 tsp
  12. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder/Deghi Mirch – 1 tsp
  13. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  14. Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 tsp
  15. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  16. Salt to Taste

Ingredients for the Marinade

  1. Dahi or Yogurt – 4 tbsp
  2. Grated Onion – 2 tbsp
  3. Fresh Grated Ginger – 1/2 tsp
  4. Minced Fresh Garlic – 2/3 tsp
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp (Use Kashmiri Mirch, if you don’t like spicy food)
  6. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  7. Salt – 1/2 tsp

To Marinade the Paneer

  1. Mix all the ingredients listed under Ingredients for Marinade.
  2. Dice the paneer into 1″ cubes.
  3. Add the paneer to the marinade.
  4. Mix well and set aside for 1 hour.

Other Preparations

  1. Pound the cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Set aside.
  2. Pound the fenugreek seeds. Set aside.
  3. Slit the green chillies. Set aside.

Method to Make the Paneer Do Pyaza

  1. In a kadhai, heat 1 tbsp ghee.
  2. Add 1 cup finely sliced onions, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Stir-fry till the onions are golden brown.
  4. Remove the onions and set aside.
  5. To the same kadhai, add 2 tbsp of ghee.
  6. Add the pounded cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.
  7. Stir-fry till they emit a sweet aroma.
  8. Add the sugar and mix well till it dissolves.
  9. Add the remaining slit green chillies, sliced onions, and 1/4 tsp salt.
  10. Stir-fry till the onions just start to turn brown.
  11. Add the pounded fenugreek seeds, grated ginger, and minced garlic.
  12. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes till the raw smells of ginger and garlic disappear.
  13. Remove the paneer from the marinade.
  14. Add to the kadhai and mix well.
  15. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  16. Add in the turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder and black pepper powder.
  17. Mix well.
  18. Lower to heat to low.
  19. Add the marinade.
  20. Mix well.
  21. Cook well, while stirring continuously, till the ghee starts to appear at the sides.
  22. Add the crispy fried onions.
  23. Mix well.
  24. Add about 1/3 cup water.
  25. Cook covered for 5 minutes till the gravy turns thick.
  26. Add salt. Be careful with the salt as there is some in the marinade and the fried onions.
  27. Mix well.
  28. Cover and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  29. Serve hot with rotis, naans, or parathas.

Tips

  • This is one curry where more onion means more flavour. Do not reduce the quantity.
  • You can use Mustard Oil instead of Ghee. If you do, heat it till it starts to smoke and is transparent before cooking in it.
  • Use Deghi Mirch or Kashmiri Mirchi Powder to get the red colour but not the heat of a regular chilli powder. I used a mix of both.
Paneer Do Pyaza - Paneer Do Pyaza - Cottage Cheese in a Gravy That Uses Loads of Onions

Paneer Do Pyaza – Paneer Do Pyaza – Cottage Cheese in a Gravy That Uses Loads of Onions

I am taking this recipe to the party at Fiesta Friday #69.

Fiesta Friday

Nuvvulu Kobbari Veysina Mulakkada Kura – Drumstick Curry with Sesame and Coconut

Nuvvulu Kobbari Veysina Mulakkadda Kura - Drumstick with Sesame and Coconut

Nuvvulu Kobbari Veysina Mulakkadda Koora – Drumstick with Sesame and Coconut

Mulakkada Koora is one of my favouritest dishes and I am not sure how I did not write it up so far. It was when one my fellow members in a Facebook group posted their version that I was reminded of this.

This drumstick curry gets done in a jiffy and tastes simply superb when eaten with some hot rice and topped with gingelly oil. If you have some Avakai on the side, you need not ask for anything else!

Serves: 4

Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Mulakkada, Drumsticks, or Shenga – 3
  2. Grated Coconut – 1/2 Cup
  3. Sesame Seeds – 1/3 Cup
  4. Red Chillies – 3 or 4
  5. Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  6. Udad Dal – 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  8. Curry Leaves – 6
  9. Tamarind Pulp – 1 tsp
  10. Sesame Oil/Gingelly Oil – 1 tbsp
  11. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Chop the ends off the mulakkada.
  2. Cut the mulakkada into 2″ pieces.
  3. Boil about a litre of water with about 1/2 tsp of salt.
  4. Add the mulakkada to the water and cook covered for 5 to 7 minutes or till the drumstick is just cooked.
  5. Drain the water and save some of it.
  6. Set the drumsticks aside.
  7. Grind together the sesame seeds, coconut, tamarind paste, and 2 red chillies into a coarse paste.
  8. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil.
  9. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  10. Add the udad dal and fry till it is golden brown.
  11. Turn the heat to low.
  12. Add the curry leaves, split red chillies, and turmeric.
  13. Mix well.
  14. Add the ground sesame and coconut paste.
  15. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
  16. Add the drumsticks, salt, and about 1/2 a cup of the water they were cooked in.
  17. Let the drumsticks cook in the gravy for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  18. Add a bit more water, if required. The gravy should be a bit wet and drop off a spoon.
  19. Turn off the heat and let the Mulakkada Koora rest.
  20. Serve with hot steamed rice and gingelly oil with some Avakai on the side.

Tips

  • You know the drum stick is done when you look at its cross-section and find that the inner part looks translucent.
  • Do not overcook the drumstick. If you do, it will fall apart and all you will find is the stringy outer part.
  • Don’t worry if you think the drumstick is not cooked completely. It will cook further in the masala. You will just need a bit more time in step 17.
  • Be careful with the salt because there is some in the water in which the drumstick is cooked.