Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tiffin Wali Bhindi : Bhindi Massala: Okra Stir Fry

School time is the best time of our lives, ofcourse we realise that once we are in college. One of the fondest memories of school days-sharing tiffin boxes. We used to get 30 minutes recess and it was all about chit-chats and food. Tiffin box was always a surprise, and my mother made sure that every time it was a happy one.

We (my brother and myself) never got bread butter or jam butter in our tiffin box, it was always about paratha subji as mother believed that only paratha subji can suffice our hunger and give all the good energy for school. It was mostly plain paratha with any sukhi (dry) subji- aloo ki subji, pata gobi ki subji, gobi matar and beans subji.

Of all these options, I treasured and enjoyed most Bhindi Ki Subji, Okra Stir Fry and you can also call it as Massala Bhindhi. So the other day I was asking my mom over the phone about why Tiffin Wali Bhindi was so good and what special ingredient did she put in it? She replied-kuch bhi nahi (nothing). The simplicity of the subji makes it extraordinary. No onion, no ginger, no garlic, no garam massala- just 3 spices and get ready in jiffy.

This is tiffin wali subji, means it is ideal for packing it in your kids’ lunchbox or your husband’s tiffin. So, give makeover of dishes some rest and try this easy peasy full of flavours, good old style Tiffin Vali Bhindi a try.

2 cups chopped okra/lady finger/bhindi
2 tablespoons oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
½ teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirchi
1teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oil in a kadai. When oil gets hot reduce the flame/heat to low.
Throw okra, turmeric powder and salt. Give a quick mix. Cover and cook till okra is half cooked.
Open the lid and add red chilli powder and coriander powder. Cover and cook again for 1 minute.
When okra is cooked completely mix in lime juice.

It is very important that you wash okra well. Make sure it is completely dry before you chop it and cook it. If the okra is not dry it will become mushy.
You can use amchur powder (dry mango powder) or dahi (yogurt/curd) instead of lemon juice.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Zero oil Moong Beans Sprouts Subji

Zero oil Moong Beans Sprouts Subji. Yes zero oil. I have been eating sprouts subji this way for as far as I can remember. I am a huge sucker of sprouts, any lentil or legumes I love sprouting them. I used to buy a box of sprouts from supermarket but now I grow sprouts myself and I am very proud of it J I have a detailed post on How To Grow Sprouts already, do check it out.

Coming to today’s post, it is a peaceful dish. Yes peaceful because it is very plain, simple and uncomplicated recipe. Not overloaded with oil or spices-just good old way of simple food. Sprouts are very good for health, and are rich in many nutrients like vitamin A, K and E; great source of antioxidants and fibre too. Whenever I eat such healthy things I try not to lose its nutrients and stick to simple cooking. So that’s why easy peasy Zero oil Mung Beans Sprouts Subji.

More sprouts recipes:

1 cup green moong sprouts
1 tomato
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups water
Salt to taste

Heat a pressure cooker. Add in chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix.
Add in sprouts and water.
Cover and cook till pressure cooker blows one whistle.
Once the pressure is released, mix in lemon juice.
Serve hot.

You can add or reduce water based on what consistency you like the curry to be.
If you like it spicy, add more red chilli powder.
Again, it is a very simple recipe, so pair it with phulka or chapatti.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Achari Paneer

Achari recipes are becoming very popular these days. Almost every Indian restaurant will have some achari dishes in the menu. Honestly it is a great way to bring twist to plain old simple recipes. Achari taste is robust of flavours. Easy but would give an impression that you have taken lot of efforts.

Achari or pickled spices are the mix of mustard seeds (rai), fenugreek seeds (methi), nigella  seeds (kalonji) and fennel seeds (saunf). These spices are not hot or spicy infact they are bitter in taste and have very strong aroma. You need to dry roast these spices and then use it, this then helps to give curry a very unique and piquant taste. I like to grind the roasted spices into fine powder, but you can use whole or coarse powder as well. 

Today I have made Achari Paneer, it is a dry (suki) vegetarian side dish with indian breads such as puri, paratha or chapati and goes well with rice and daal as well. Don’t let ingredients list intermediate you, this curry is indeed easy and worth all the steps.

More Achari Recipes:-

How to make Achari Paneer

(For Achari Massala)
1 whole red chilli
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds/rai
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds/methi dana
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/2 teaspoon nigela seeds/kalonji
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
(For Gravy)
1 ½ cups paneer
1 onion medium size chopped finely
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
3 tablespoons yogurt/dahi
2 tomatoes
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust as per taste)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
2 tablespoons oil + 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Kasturi Methi to garnish (optional)

Take all the ingredients listed in Achari spices and dry roast in the pan on very slow flame/heat. Let it cool down and grind into fine-corase powder.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add the paneer and fry it. Make sure that paneer turns golden on all sides. Set the paneer aside.
Heat the remaining oil. Add ginger garlic paste. Sauté for one minute.
Add chopped onions. Saute for one minute or till onions are cooked properly.
Add chopped tomatoes. Throw in salt, turmeric, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Cover and cook till massala is cooked and tomatoes turned soft.
Take yogurt in a separate bowl. Mix in Achari massala. Whisk properly.
Slowly mix the yogurt mix into tomatoes gravy. Stir continuously for 1 minute.
Throw in paneer. Mix. Cover and cook till massla is well coated on paneer.

Garnish with kasthuri methi and coriander leaves.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Urad Dal Kachori: UP Vali Kachori: Aloo Ki Subji And Kachori

Aloo Ki Subji will be one dish that is popular in every household of India. However every state has got its own way of cooking it and serving it with. It’s served humbly with paratha or roti; served as a side with rice and dal. It is also paired with puri and batura, but the most royal match is when it is dished up with Kachori.

Those of you dont know, Aloo Ki Subji and Kachori combination is very popular in UP (Uttar Pradesh). From Ganga ghats in Banaras to Krishna’s home in Mathura to temples in Rishikesh and Haridwar this meal has stolen many hearts. It is a wholesome vegetarian meal, mostly served as breakfast or brunch near the temples and pooja places as a street food.

The simplicity and filling attributes make this dish very popular. Spicy and yet modest aloo ki subji is served with Urad Daal Stuffed Kachori. What makes it filling and perfect for breakfast are two things. a)Urad daal is heavy to digest, so you feel full very quickly. b) The kachori is made with maida (all purpose flour) and is deep fried. These two features make it so perfect for brunch as well.

What is kachori? Kachori is like puri but stuffed. The kachori we are talking here is different from Rajasthani Kachori also called as club kachori. Kachori in rajasthan are smaller and puffed up-served with chutney or as a chaat with dahi (yogurt) and meethi chutney. However these UP vali kachori are flat kachoris and are stuffed with urad dal instead of moong dal.

Aloo ki subji is also called as Mathura Ke Dubki Vale Aloo, Haridwar Ke Rassewale Aloo, Banerasi/Benarsi Aloo. Same way the kachori is called as Khasta Kachori, Kasta Bedvi Kachori.

For Dough
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
2 tablespoons semolina/suji
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons oil
Water as needed
More oil for frying
For Stuffing
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch asafoetida/heeng
1/2 cup white lenthils/urad daal
1 green chilli chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds/sabut dhaniya
1 teaspoon grated ginger/adrak
1 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
1/4 teaspoon garam massala powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirchi
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon black salt/kala namak

For dough-
Mix all the ingredients listed under dough category. Mix slowly water and start to form smooth dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
For stuffing-
Soak the dal for atleast 3 hours in the water. Then drain the water, wash the dal and keep aside.
Grind the dal coarsely with saunf and coriander seeds.
Heat oil in a pan. Add in it jeera, heeng. Let it crackle. Mix in turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, green chilli, adrak, garam massala and coriander powder. Mix for 10 seconds.
Mix this above massala mix in grinded dal. Mix well.
Mix in salt, black salt and coriander leaves.
Take a lemon sized ball of the dough, roll it out a bit. In the centre add in 2 teaspoon of stuffing. Take the edges of the rolled out dough and seal the edges.
With the roller pin (belan) flatten the stuffed ball.
Heat oil in wok, when hot, throw one kachori at a time. With the help of a spatula apply bit pressure and try to puff it. Flip and cook on the other side as well.
When you see it has become red. Serve.

Feel free to use whole wheat flour/atta as well.
You can make moong (yellow mung) dal kachoris same way. Moong daal is bit lighter to digest.
Fry the kachori on mdeuim heat.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Chawal Ki Kheer

From Navratri garba beats to preparations for Diwali-the festive mood is in full swing. I have started to clean the house, prepare the diyas and think about what should be the food menu for three days of diwali. In all this planning I forgot to think about Karva Chauth- another Indian festival wherein the married ladies fast from sunrise to moonrise for the long life and prosperity of her husband.

These festivals add a bit of sparkle and fun to the otherwise daily routine. As always an indain sweet is a must in the end and this time I decided to put together Chawal Ki Kheer. Chawal Ki Kheer is like rice pudding made by boiling the milk on low heat, which is then thickened by rice and sweetened with sugar or goor (jaggery).

To be honest I find indian sweets very complicated sometimes; most of sweets like jalebi, gulab jamun or barfi asks for sugar syrup and I just can’t craft a good sugar syrup (chasni)-I just don’t understand the art of one thread or two thread consistency syrup. So for people like me I believe Kheer is a saviour. Kheer can be made with very basic ingredients and is very easy to prepare. Another variation of kheer that is very popular is Seviyan Ki Kheer.

Here are some tips on how to make a good Chaval Ki Kheer-
  • Use good quality full fat milk. Boil the milk on low heat in a heavy bottom utensil.
  • Always pre-soak the rice for atleast an hour. Do not use thick or fat rice. I recommend basmati rice.
  • Before adding the rice to the milk, break the rice with your hand, like crumble the rice.
  • Use saffron (kesar) as it brings beautiful colour to otherwise pale white kheer.
  • Keep stirring the kheer, it will help it to thicken and also avoid burning.

4 cups milk
1/4 cup rice (soaked in water for one hour)
2 green cardamom/elaychi
3-4 threads of saffron/kesar
Sugar to taste

Take a heavy bottom pan and boil the milk on low heat.
In the meantime strain the water from soaked rice and crumble the rice. Rice should be broken into small pieces.
Add the broken rice to boiling milk. Keep stirring the milk in between. Keep boiling the milk till the rice is cooked and milk is reduced to half quantity.
Then add sugar, cardamom and saffron. Let it boil for 1-2 minutes.

Everyone have their own sweet taste preference, that’s why I said sugar to taste :-)
You can add gud/goor/jaggery as well instead of sugar.
If you like coconut, feel free to add grated coconut as well.
Kheer can be served hot or cold-again totally depends on an individual’s taste.
I mixed 2-3 threads of saffron 2 tablespoons of warm milk and used it as garnish (the yellow liquid on the kheer in the pictures). 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji For Puri Or Kachori

(This post has been updated with new pictures)

Read somewhere that the best things in life are free. A smile, sleep, hugs, kisses, laughter, family, memories- all these are at no cost. Isn't it priceless when a stranger smile at you in the train; or your husband hugs you when you are sad; or a child kisses a mother....nothing beats these emotions-correct?

It is good to be busy, to make excellent use of time but it is also imperative to spare a little time for the best free things :-) Same goes in cooking as well. When you walk through memory lane of your mother’s kitchen, what is that you remember? Did she always cook some exotic panner dish for you? Did she always use oven? May be yes, may be no. But I am sure most of the Indian mothers made simple basic things and we enjoyed it and now miss it the most.

Simple bhindi ki subji after a tough day at school; or sukha aloo in tiffin; or plain mango pickle rolled in parathas ...are the best.Aloo ka parathas or poha was all we needed for Sunday breakfast while watching Mogli or Malgudi Days on TV. Do you also believe that real pleasure of enjoying food is in eating simple meals? If yes, then today’s post will surly make you happy. I bring before you the most common and straightforward dish- Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji.

Aloo Tamatar Ki Subji (Potatoes Tomatoes Curry) which is paired with Puri (fried bread) or kachori (Stuffed fried bread) needs no introduction. People from Rajasthan, Bhiar and UP will surely know what I am talking about. The classic combination of potatoes and tomatoes with loads of massala when served with puri or kachori is a pure bliss- or simplicity at its best. Rain or shine, cold or hot days this paring can never go old or fade- will always stay- from generations to generations.

Compose this in your kitchen and recollect all the memories.

4 medium size- boiled and diced- Potatoes/Aloo
3 medium size- chopped- Tomatoes/Tamatar
2- Green chilles/Hari Mirch
1 inch piece- grated- Ginger/Adrak
2 tablespoon Oil/Tel
1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida/Hing
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds/Jeera
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds/Rai
1 bay leaf/Tej Patta
1 teaspoon kasturi methi
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder/Haldi
1 teaspoon Coriander Powder/Dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder/Lal Mirch
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoon Coriander leaves/Dhaniya
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
Salt to taste

Heat oil in kadai/wok and add mustard, bay leaf, cumin and asafoetida. Let the seeds splutter. Add slit green chillies, kasturi methi and grated ginger.
Mix turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam massala, salt with 4 tablespoon of water and make a paste.
Mix chopped tomatoes in the kadai and add the above spice paste. Mix well and let tomatoes cooked covered. Cook till tomatoes are mushy and soft.
Add 4 cups of water and potatoes. Mix well and let it boil covered for 10 minutes.
Finally mix in lemon juice and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with Puri or Kachori.

Adjust red chilli powder and garam massala as per your taste.
This is best when served with puri or kachori.
If in hurry, blend all the dry spices with tomatoes, ginger and green chillies.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Achari Bhindi Pyaz:Okra In Pickle Spices

I have a funny story to share today. Now, back in India we always knew Bhindi is called as Lady Finger-that is what we were taught in schools-right? After coming to the UK, one day I asked a grocery vendor if he has got some lady fingers in his shop. He quickly went inside and got me a pack of finger cakes (also known as finger sponges, mainly used in tiramisu). I was shocked and embarrassed at the same time, I did not know how to react at all, and thus I purchased that cake pack :-). I came back home and quickly searched on internet-it was then I came to know that bindhi is actually known as Okra ;)

From simple stir fried okra subji to exotic Bhindi Do Pyaza you can do so much with this humble vegetable. I have made oven roasted Bhindi also and if you fancy something marwadi then check Bharwa (stuffed) Bhindi recipe. Today, I gave okra a pickled taste.

Achari Bhindi Pyaz is robust of flavours. Easy but would give an impression that you have taken lot of efforts. Achari massala is dry roasted spice powder made by grinding the spices that are used in making pickle. Then, you need to use mustard oil (sarso ka tel) to bring that sour and authentic achari taste. I have seen people using yogurt (dahi/curd) in this recipe but I feel that it makes it very mushy and I personally don’t recommend it.

For me, Achari Bhindi Pyaz should be dry, coated with pickle massala and should have a bit of tanginess in the end. This is surely a crowd pleaser recipe.

For Achari Massala
1/2 teaspoon fenurgreek seeds/methi dana
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds/dhaniya
1/2 teaspoon onion seeds/kalonji
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds/rai
For Subji
250 grams okra/Bhindi
2 onions/pyaz
1-2 green chillies
2 tablespoons mustard oil/sarso tel
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya powder
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirchi
1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur

For Achari Massala
On a low flame dry roast the ingredients till you smell good aroma. Approximately it takes 5-8 minutes.
For Subji
Chop Bhindi and pyaz lengthwise.
Heat oil in a kadai. When oil gets hot, add bhindi and pyaz.
Reduce the heat to low. Mix in salt and turmeric. Cover and let it cook for 8-10 minutes or till bhindi is half done.
Add in 1/2 teaspoon achari massala, coriander powder, red chilli powder and green chillies. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes.
Add in amchur powder. Mix. Cover and turn off the flame/heat.

Recently when my parents visited us my mother got me homemade achari massala and I used the same in this recipe. If you want a quick fix then I highly recommend using MDH Achari Massla which is easily available in Indian grocery stores.
Feel free to use some other oil as well, but mustard oil does bring the authentic pickle taste.
Make sure that okras are washed and dried well before using.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ajwain Massala Puri

So many festivals are around isn’t it? Last week we had Ganesh festival, before that Krishna Janmasthmi and before that Rakshabandhan. Festive spirits are in full swing in our home too. Those of you follow me on instagram would have seen my janmashthmi pooja pic- my way is to keep things simple.

Honestly, in India bringing Ganpati at home has become a status symbol. People show off their wealth in form of ganpati celebrations- how big the ganpati is; does it have any silver, gold or diamonds embellished on it? How much are they spending on prassad? So I was talking over the phone with my mom and she said that little kids of our neighbourhood have also welcomed Ganpati in our colony, its a small Ganpati statue that they got with their own pocket money and right from decoration to inviting people for sthapna and arti was done by those kids- isn’t it what festivals are about? Simple yet strong emotions and no show off.

So with other festivals approaching like Navratri, Karva Chauth and Diwali I have began cleaning the house little by little each day. Rubbish removal is a big task, what to throw and what to keep is huge dilemma for Mr. Husband. But my funda is clear-anything that I haven’t worn or used in last two years should go to charity.

So talking about festivals, one of the most common and must have food is Puri and Aloo ki Subji. I have made Palak Puri before for diwali to give it a healthy twist. Today’s post is about Ajwain Massala Puri. Poori-signifies celebration and happiness in most of the India and no big event or occasion is complete without puris- be it on birthdays, anniversaries, parties or as a  prassad during festivals.

Dough of flour and salt is rolled out in small circles and then deep fried in oil. While deep frying, it puffs up like a round ball because moisture in the dough changes into steam which expands in all directions. Ajwain and massala puri is great even when served with hot cup of chai. These are great travel snack as well, it says well for 2-4 days and can be relished with just pickle as well.

1 and 1/2 cup wheat flour
3-4 green chillies-finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger piece/adrak-grated
2 teaspoons carom seeds/ajwain
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
Salt as per taste
Water as needed
Oil for frying + 2 tablespoons

Heat a pan and roast carom seeds till it becomes fragrant.
In a mixing bowl add flour, turmeric powder, salt, 2 tablespoons oil, carom seeds, green chillies and ginger. Mix and add water slowly to form the dough. Dough should be firm.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. After that, punch the dough for another 1 minute.
Heat oil in a kadai/wok. On a dusted work surface, make medium sized pooris, neither thin nor thick and fry them in hot oil. Drain the pooris on paper napkins to remove excess oil.

The puri dough is tight compared to the dough for parathas or rotis.
You can also add sesame seeds (til) in the dough.

Serving suggestions:
Puris goes well with almost all dry curries.
To make the Punjabi thali serve it with paneer butter massala, aloo choledal makhani and green chilli pickle.
For gujarati thali, serve it with aloo tamatar nu shaakgobi mutterkhamman dhokla and keri nu ras.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Oven Roasted Chickpeas: Indian Style

Oven Roasted Chickpeas. Highly addictive! Roasted in oven, this protein loaded tiny chickpeas turns into salty snack- perfect nibble or a companion for any drink.

Recently folks from Ugly Drinks sent me a box of their new range of sparking water- Triple Berry, Orange, Lime &Lemon and Tropical. Yes, you don’t see Lime & Lemon in pictures below because it went straight in my tummy ;-)

To be honest, I haven't seen any drink as genuine as Ugly Drinks. They keep it real, with no sugar, no sweetener, no calories and absolutely nothing artificial. If you like sparkling waters that have no fat or salt then you HAVE to give them a try. I tried Tropical one and I was hooked- too good to be true. Perfect flavor and clean sparkling/bubbly taste.

Talking about today’s recipe. These are very Indian in taste, spicy kick from red chilli powder and bit of tang from lemon is dangerously great. Feel free to play around with spices, you can use cumin powder, red chilli flakes and even Italian herbs.

Now some tips on how to make them crunchy:
-Do not use too much oil. It will just make them soggy and mushy.
-Use a large baking pan. Do not overcrowd the pan.
-Whether you are using canned chickpeas or freshly boiled ones, do dry chickpeas on towel properly.
-Mix the spices properly. Toss the spices and leave it on chickpeas for atleast 5 minutes (just like any marination).

1 can chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven at 200C
Drain the chickpeas on a strainer. Wash thoroughly under running water.
Dry the chickpeas on a towel. Chickpeas should look dry and pale.
In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and salt. Toss well. Leave this for 5 minutes.
In a making pan, roast the chickpeas for 20-25 minutes. Stir the chickpeas in between to avoid burning.
Chickpeas are done when they have slight dark colour and crisp on the outside.
Throw in red chilli powder and lemon juice. Mix well so that chickpeas are coated well with spices.

Chickpeas will be very crunchy when hot. Once it cool down it will lose its crispiness but will taste good.
Throw these chickpeas in salad or pulav for some extra crunch.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Ugly Drinks for sending cans to review.