Thursday, November 06, 2008

Green Beans and Sprouts

This dish feels and tastes more like a warm salad and less like a regular cooked vegetable. Tastes fabulous as a side dish with any Indian meal!

2 cups chopped green beans
1 cup sprouted green mung beans
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 small sambhar onions sliced
salt to taste
pinch of red chilly powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat the oil, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
When they crackle add the onions, stir and add the beans and sprouts.
Add the salt and the red chilly powder, stir and cover and cook for 5-8 minutes.
The beans and sprouts should still be crunchy when its ready. Add lemon juice.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Doi Maach, Fish in Curd, A recipe from Bengal

Doi Maach, Fish with Curd, Recipe from BengalMy mother often makes this curry at her home in Delhi. The CR Park fish market is a 10 minute walk away and the fish used for this curry called "rahu" is always available.

There are so many ways to make doi maach but this is Chitra Ghose's recipe and my favourite one so far.

1/2 kg pieces of Rahu
1/2 Tablespoon mustard oil for frying the fish
1/2 teaspoon each of red chilli powder, turmeric and salt to rub on fish pieces.

2 tablespoons ghee
1 bay leaf
2 cloves, 2 green cardamom, 1 small piece cinnamon coarsely ground in a mortar pestle
1 medium onion chopped fine
2 medium onions blended into a paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 cup curd blended with 1 cup water at room temperature
pinch of sugar
6-8 slit green chillies


Rub the fish pieces with a little red chilli, turmeric and salt. Set aside 10-15 minutes.
Fry them in hot mustard oil till slightly brown.
Drain and keep aside.

Heat ghee, add bay leaves and the coarsely ground whole spices- cloves, cinnamon and cardamom
Immediately, add the sliced onions and fry till soft and a bit brown.
Add the onion paste, ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle water if the masala catches.
Pour the blended curd into the pan and stir. Add salt and a pinch of sugar.
Add slit green chillies.
Layer the fish gently into pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes or till fish is done and oil comes to the top.

Best eaten with hot rice and baingan and/or kaddu bhaja ( grilled brinjal and pumpkin)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mutton Curry with Coconut Milk, A recipe from Tamil Nadu

mutton curry with coconut milk, recipe from Tamil NaduThis recipe is from one of my favourite recipe books called Aharam, Traditional Cuisine of Tamil Nadu, by Sabita Radhakrishna. I have featured another recipe from this book here.
While freshly made coconut milk will always work best, I have used Dabur coconut milk tetrapacks the thin milk, I use half the required quantity diluted with warm water. You can also make this recipe with chicken.

1 Kg mutton
1 cup curd
2 large coconuts/ 2 packets Dabur coconut milk

2 Tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter
5 cloves
5 green cardamoms
2 (1" piece cinnamon)
3 large onions chopped fine
2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
salt to taste

Clean and wash mutton. Marinate with cup beaten curd.
Grate the coconuts and extract 2 cups thick milk and 1 1/2 cups thin milk
Heat the ghee and oil together in a pressure cooker. Add the whole spices coarsely crushed in a mortar and pestle.
Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli -coriander-turmeric powders and fry together on a low heat for 5-8 minutes.
Add the marinated meat and fry till the oil rises to the top.
Add the thin coconut milk or diluted dabur coconut milk to the meat and the salt and pressure for 15 minutes.
After the pressure cools add the thick milk and simmer till the curry becomes thick and golden coloured.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Horse Gram Lentil Soup

Horse Gram Lentil Soup, Vegetarian This recipe is my version of a simple horse gram lentil soup and not the traditional Andhra recipe known as Ulava Chaaru. Horse Gram is rated as one of the most nutritious lentils known for its low glycemic index and positive effects on people with high blood pressure. I first ate a version of this soup made by Aji Joseph, a chef who works in Chennai.

1 cup horse gram lentils
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped beans
salt to taste
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped

1. Wash and boil lentils with salt in a pressure cooker on a medium to high flame. I have a small pressure cooker and gave the lentils 5 whistles and this took 20 minutes
2. In a separate pan, heat oil, add garlic and onions and stir.
3. Add carrots, beans and then the tomatoes. Add the lentils and all the water to the pan.
4. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or till desired consistency.

Some other vegetables that will be nice for this soup are pumpkin, cabbage, and turnips.

A Simple Mutton Curry

mutton curry from Delhi, North Indian goat meat curryI made this dish the other day for my brother Rishad who loves mutton curry. He calls this kind of a curry - "dark brown mutton curry from Delhi". Its a very North Indian way of cooking mutton and best with hot chapatis (which are a whole wheat unleavened bread from India).

750 grams-1Kg meat
4 Tablespoons beaten curd/ yoghurt/dahi
1 Tablespoon kashmiri red chilli *
1 teaspoon cumin/jeera seeds
4 Bay leaves/ Tej patta
4 black cardamoms
2 inch piece of cinnamon
5 cloves
salt to taste
3 tomatoes grated or blanched and chopped with the skin removed
2 tablespoons oil
Fresh coriander leaves

Grind together:
4 medium onions
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon garlic

Whisk curd and mix in the kashmiri dry red chilli. Marinate the meat in this curd mixture for 3-4 hours.
Coarsely grind the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and cumin seeds in a mortar pestle.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan, add the coarsely ground whole spices mentioned above. Add the onion-ginger-garlic mixture.Fry till brown.
Add the marinated meat and salt to taste, and fry till the meat changes colour and the marinade liquid dries up.
Add tomatoes and cook. Once the tomatoes have fried well, add 3 cups of hot water if you want a gravy for rice and 2 cups if you want slightly thick gravy to eat with chapatis/rotis .
Once the hot water is added, put the pressure on and cook for 15 minutes.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

* Kashmiri red chilli is easily available in stores. It adds a deep red colour and is proportionately less chilli hot than other red chilli powders available.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Shami Kababs

Shami Kababs, mince meat pattiesThe past week has been a shami kabab bonanza, with birthdays and parties where this is a favourite appetizer. I try and keep a bunch in the fridge to eat with rice and dal sometimes too.
Some shami kabab recipes will have a filling in the centre of chopped onions, green mint and coriander and other condiments but this is an easier version with everything thrown in to the minced meat mixture- just as delicious !

1/2 kg mince meat
1 cup chana dal/split bengal gram lentils
4 cloves
3 cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
4 dry red chillies
4-6 peppercorns
1 onion sliced
1 heaped teaspoon garlic
1 heaped teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric / haldi
1/2 teaspoon coriander/dhania powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin/jeera powder
salt to taste
2 tablespoons approximately of chopped coriander/dhania leaves
2 Tablespoons of chopped mint/pudina leaves
3 chopped green chillies
juice of half a lime
1 egg

1. Wash and soak the chana dal for 15 minutes. Wash and strain mince. Put it in a heavy bottomed vessel and add the chana dal and 2 cups of water.
2. Add the sliced onions, garlic, ginger, cloves, red chillies, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, salt to taste.
3. Cook covered on a medium flame for 30 minutes, keep stirring every now and then.
4. Cook further till the water dries up and the meat leaves a little of its natural oil. Lower flame and keep stirring so that the meat mixture doesn't stick.
5. Turn off and leave to cool. Grind the mixture in batches. Add finely chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves, and green chillies. Add lemon juice and one egg and mix it all up.
6. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
7. Shape into small patties, and shallow fry in hot oil leaving them at least a minute on one side in frying pan on medium heat.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew, Continental FoodI made this chicken stew to eat with Italian Foccacia bread I have just learned to make- the recipe of which I will post later. This simple stew with vegetables and herbs tasted wonderful as I used home made stock made by my friend SS who shared some with me. It makes all the difference to add home made stock compared to soup cubes.
You can make this stew without the meat and only veggies as an alternative.
Serve with rice or bread ! I used my habanero chilli oil as a base, you could use any other oil of your choice

500 gms of chicken pieces
1 tablespoon habanero chilli oil
2 onions sliced
1 teaspoon freshly ground garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup stock
2 potatoes cubed
4 carrots chopped into large chunks
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Heat oil and brown the chicken pieces well on all sides in the hot oil on a high flame.
Lower heat, add onions to the browned chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes, add garlic paste, salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Cook for 10 minutes or so on a low heat, covered.
Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the stock, simmer and cover and cook till vegetables and chicken are cooked.
Add the milk and keep stirring occasionally.
Add oregano and keep stirring till the gravy is of desired thickness. I didn't add any cornflour but you can if you like a thicker stew.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Olan- Black-eyed Beans and Ash Gourd. A recipe from Kerala

Many vegetarian dishes from Kerala combine lentils/legumes and vegetables in the same dish. I really like this as a concept and am also quite crazy about how these dishes taste as well! I used my black pottery kitchenware to make the olan, which is featured here.

1 cup black eyed beans. This is the small red coloured black-eyed bean as opposed to the white one
4 cups water
pinch of turmeric
3 cups chopped ash gourd
6 green chillies slit in half
1 cup thick coconut milk
a few curry leaves
1 tablespoon coconut oil

1. Pressure cook the black eyed beans in water with a pinch of turmeric. Two whistles on a high flame and 12-15 minutes on a low flame should do the trick. Wait till the pressure goes down before opening the pressure cooker.
2. Meanwhile in another pot, cook the ash gourd green chillies salt in a cup of water.
3. Add the cooked beans to the ash gourd, and simmer together for 15 minutes. Keep stirring.
4. Add the coconut milk and curry leaves last when you're sure the beans are tender.
5. Lace with coconut oil.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baingan and Kaddu Bhaja- Grilled Brinjal and Pumpkin Slices. A recipe from Bengal

Grilled Brinjal Slices,Baingan Bhaja, Bengali recipeBengalis will often lightly grill slices of brinjal and red pumpkin as an accompanying dish. Just chop the vegetable into large rounds or squares, rub a mixture of turmeric, red chilli powder and salt and keep it aside for 15 minutes. Heat a little oil in a frying pan or griddle and fry on each side till it browns nicely. This is an easy way to make these veggies, and because they're so lightly spiced and lightly grilled its probably a very nutritious way to eat them too !

Grilled red pumpkin slices, Kaddu bhaja,  Bengali recipe

Spinach Thoran-A recipe from Kerala

 Spinach Thoran,KeralaI used 2 bunches of the red leafy spinach to make this thoran but you can use any. A mix of green leaf and red leaf spinach works well too and gives an interesting taste to the dish.

Grind coarsely - 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup grated fresh coconut, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder. Keep aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, when hot splutter 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds, a few curry leaves, add one dry red chilli, broken in half.

Add chopped spinach , and 2 green chillies chopped finely. Add salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes or till the steam rises.
Add the ground masala, stir, cover and cook again for 5-8 minutes on a low flame till spinach is cooked. Open pan and stir till the water dries.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tomato Curry

Tomato CurryI have often eaten tomato chutneys and pickles but never an all tomato curry. This is a nice curry on the table for when you have a dry meat/fish, and vegetable on the side. Its also great when you have both vegetarians and non vegetarians over for a meal and don't want two curries on the table.

1. Grate 6 medium tomatoes, or blanch and peel and chop them up small.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil. When hot add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3. When they crackle add 2 slit green chillies, 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger, a few curry leaves and 2-3 finely chopped small red onions. Stir
4. Add the grated tomato and stir.
5. Put a pinch of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon garam masala in a little water and make a paste. Add this paste to the cooking tomatoes. Add salt to taste.
6. Simmer and cover and stir occasionally. When the oil leaves the masala, add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk mixed with 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a boil, simmer till gravy is of the desired consistency.

Tastes great with plain boiled rice and fried fish !

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bhindi Masala/ Spicy Okra

Bhindi Masala, Spicy OkraI have a new found love for bhindi, a vegetable I mostly ignored in the past and now quite like. Here's a simple way to make it as I learned recently from Lizy, my sister in law.

Wash the bhindi whole and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Chop.
Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or 1/2 teaspoon if you desire less spice, 1/2 teaspoon Amchur (dry mango powder). Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. When hot add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add one slit green chilli. Add the bhindi and fry. Keep stirring frequently on a medium- high flame. The vegetable becomes sticky initially and you have to keep frying it evenly till it goes, and the bhindi cooks and lightly browns. I cook it till the stickiness leaves and the bhindi is only slightly browned but not too crisp, as I like the bright green colour to remain. We ate this today with red rice and tomato curry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Black Pottery from Nagaland

Black pottery from NagalandI've cooked a few dishes in this beautiful black pottery vessel made of clay and stone. The clay pot is unique to Manipur and Nagaland where this age old tradition of making black pottery is still being practiced by some communities. Serpentine and weather rock is mixed in the ratio of 3:2 to make the clay for this hand moulded pottery and it is heated for over 10 hours before giving it the rich black colour which comes from a local plant called Chiron-na. The pot retains heat very efficiently and the food gets a lovely smoky earthy taste to it too.

At the Dastakar Nature Bazaar fair in Bangalore I bought another small sized pot in a similar shape and was lucky to meet N.A Shimray who runs a shop in Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi called NORTHEASTERN where she sells this beautiful pottery and Naga bead jewellery.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Green Mango Chutney, Bengali recipe

raw mango chutney, bengali recipeIts easy to make this green mango chutney, which is almost curry like. We made this almost every day during the hot and humid Delhi summer days while I was there. This tasty and tangy chutney goes well with practically every Indian meal.
2 green mangoes
pinch of asafatida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon paanch phoran ( bengali 5 spice)
1 bay leaf
pinch of sugar
salt to taste


1. Peel and slice the raw mangoes, keep the seeds, slice the fruit
2. Add 2 cups of water and boil mango slices and the seeds together till slices are softened.
3. In a teaspoon of oil, splutter the paanch phoran, bay leaf, add the turmeric and red chilli powder
4. Add the pinch of sugar and salt to taste.

Chitra Ghose's Bengali Food

Chitra GhoseMeet Chitra Ghose, one of Delhi's renowned Bengali food caterers who also happens to consult with the ITC group for their Bengali cuisine. She made a fabulous meal for me recently in Delhi and while I don't have the recipes with me I thought I should feature some of the things I ate.

That evening she made small karelas fried with onions and very little masala, Lau Bori ( Lauki with urad dal baris), baked bekti with mustard sauce, Moori Ghonto (fish head); all this eaten withsteaming hot plain rice. We ended the meal with delicious mishti dohi from C R park market.

To order food from Chitra Ghose, you can contact her at
Tel: 011 29240213, or Mobile: 98106 78663

Fish Head, Moori Ghonto

Fish Head

Baked Bekti with Mustard Sauce

Baked Bekti with mustard sauce

Lauki with Baris, Lau Bori

Lauki cooked with Baris

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Chilli Con Carne

chili con carneI don't make this too often, but whenever I do, I always wish I made it oftener. There's something very comforting about a meal of chili con carne. Its a one dish meal, with meat and veggies and can be eaten with rice and plain or toasted bread. I try and make a lot so there's always leftovers for the next day's breakfast and hopefully, also for the next meal.
You can also make this with any other minced meat, like with mutton or chicken. Or you can use half mince and half soya flakes if you're interested in making this a more healthy dish. I recently saw a Nigella Lawson episode on TV where she made cornbread topped chili con carne.
It looked fantastic !

1/2 kg minced beef/mutton/chicken
2 large onions chopped small
2 red peppers chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 cup red kidney beans, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed black pepper
6 tomatoes blanched, skinned and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato puree
salt to taste

Heat olive oil, add onions and garlic. Stir for 5 minutes. Add all the powdered spices, black pepper and stir well.
Add red peppers, carrots, salt and stir further.
Add mince and break it up so that there are no lumps.
Add tomatoes chopped, tomato puree and the kidney beans.
Add a cup of water and cover and cook for 30-45 minutes till kidney beans are soft and the meat cooked.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Poha for Breakfast

Rice Poha,Indian breakfast dishI love breakfast and I love rice poha! I recently came across a fabulous blog called The Kitchen where there's a nicely written post about poha.

Here's my simple poha recipe.

1 1/2 cup flat rice poha
1 medium sized onion chopped
1/2 tablespoon oil
pinch of asafatida
3 green chillies chopped
1 medium sized potato chopped small
a few curry leaves washed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of turmeric
salt to taste
a few fresh coriander leaves chopped
Lemon juice

Heat the oil, add asafatida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them crackle.
Add green chillies, curry leaves, onions and potatoes. Add salt and turmeric. Stir and cover.
The potatoes should cook after 5-6 minutes, if not and the masala is sticking to pan, sprinkle some water and cover again.
When potatoes are done, lightly wet the rice poha in a colander. Do not soak it or it will become a complete mush.
Add to the masala, stir till the poha gets completely coated. Cover and cook for a minute.
Add juice from half a lemon and fresh coriander leaves chopped.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

3 Potato Recipes

Here are three potato recipes I sent in to the Bangalore based magazine The Bengaluru Pages. This year 2008 has been declared as the year of the potato by the United Nations and you can read all about it here.

Potatoes with poppy seeds/ Aloo Posto
Recipe from Bengal

Poppy seeds add a wonderful nutty flavour to food. Bengalis use a lot of poppy seed in their cooking.

6 firm medium sized potatoes
4 tablespoons oil
3 whole dry red chiiles
½ a cup of white poppy seeds ground as finely as possible
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
4 green chillies
Salt to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces – 2 cm
Heat oil, lower heat, add potatoes and fry till they are golden brown and just half cooked.
Remove with a slotted spoon.
Add the whole red chillies to oil. Once they darken, add ground poppy seeds and 2 tablespoons of warm water
Stir and sauté this paste ill it's a medium brown colour.
Add potatoes, ¾ cup warm water, turmeric, red chili powder, salt and slit green chillies.
Stir to mix and then cover and cook for 10 minutes till the potatoes are done and most of the water absorbed.

Preparation Time – 15 minutes
Cooking Time – 30 minutes

Potatoes with Cumin/ Batata Nu Shaak
Recipe from Gujarat

½ kilo to 700 gms of new potatoes with their skins on (scrubbed but not peeled)
3 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
Pinch of ground asafetida
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Juice of half a lime

Cut the new potatoes with skin on into halves
Heat oil, add asafetida, mustard and cumin seeds and let them crackle
Add potatoes and stir for 2-3 minutes on a high heat.
Add turmeric powder, stir every now and then when the potatoes are almost done add coriander, cumin and red chilli powder. Add salt to taste and stir till masalas coat the potatoes nicely.
Sprinkle with lemon juice to make it tangy.

Preperation Time- 10 minutes
Cooking time- 20 minutes

Potato Curry/ Aloo Korma
Recipe from Hyderabad

½ kg large sized potatoes
½ teaspoon turmeric1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 inch piece of ginger
1 teaspoon ground garlic paste
6 cashew nuts
½ dry coconut (kopra)
3 tablespoons oil
2 green cardamoms
2" stick cinnamon
2 cloves
6 green chillies
2 teaspoon coriander powder
4 tomatoes chopped
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
1 cup whisked curd
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander leaves
Juice of 1 lime

Peel potatoes, and cut lengthwise into half. Make 4 long slices with each half.
Boil potato slices in water with turmeric till tender.
Grind poppy seeds, ginger, garlic, cashews and coconut together.
Heat oil, fry cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, and green chillies, add ground paste and coriander powder. Fry well together for 6-8 minutes and till the raw aroma goes.
Add chopped tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes.
Add boiled potatoes and stir gently.
Add salt, chilly powder, whicked curd and simmer.
Add chopped coriander and lemon juice at the end

Preparation Time- 15 minutes
Cooking Time 30 minutes

Monday, June 23, 2008

Florentine, A restaurant in Saligaon-Goa

GoaWe've been in fabulous Goa for the past two weeks. Goa is beautiful in the monsoons, even if sometimes very inconvenient. We ate many meals at a memorable restaurant called Florentine, in Saligao, thanks to PB and M who told us about it. Its where the Goans eat and Chicken Cafreal seems to be a favourite for everyone. Not many people travel all the way to Goa to eat chicken, but if its the chicken cafreal at florentine's, believe me you'll go back for more. Its served with Pui, a delicious bread that you see on the plate below the cafreal. I have a recipe for cafreal. I can't promise it will taste as fabulous as the one at Florentine, but try it !
Chicken Cafreal

1 full chicken with skin, cut in large pieces
salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
50 grams butter

Finely Grind:
6 dry red kashmiri chillies
1 1/2 cup fresh green coriander leaves
6 peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 inch piece cinnamon
1 blade mace
1 pod garlic
2 inch piece of ginger

1. Marinate chicken pieces in salt, lime, and
ground spices for an hour at least. Marinating it overnight is best.
2. Baste the chicken with butter and seer it on either side first on high heat so that it browns
3. Either cook covered on stove top in a heavy bottomed pan or in the oven in a roasting tray covered with foil.
4. Keep turning the pieces and basting with butter

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Home made Paneer and Capsicum

Home Made Paneer with capsicum, Home Made Cottage CheeseFirst make the home made paneer. I use Suvir Saran's method.
* 10 cups whole milk
* 1/2 cup buttermilk / yogurt (more maybe needed, so keep some extra)
In a large heavy bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir often to ensure that the milk is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
When milk starts to boil, lower heat and add the buttermilk and stir until the milk starts to separate into curds.
Remove from heat as soon as this happens. You can even add a few ice cubes to the curd-whey mix. The heat will make the protein tougher. Hence the need to expose the cheese to as little heat as possible.
If the curds are not forming, add a little more buttermilk and cook for a couple of minutes more. And do the above as soon as the curds form.
Pour the curds-whey mix into a collander lined with several layers of cheese cloth or even a layer of muslin, draining onto a dish that will collect the whey.
Collect the sides of the cheesecloth or muslin and tie them up together and twist gently to help drain the whey from the curds.
Place the bundled curds on a tray and press this bundle with a heavy pan/container or obejct. Make sure this heavy weight covers the bundle fully.
To make cheese for dessert recipes or for koftas or even a bhujia, weight it down for no more than a half hour.
For recipes where cheese cubes are used, weight the bundle down for an hour or more. This will make the cheese form a firm mass that can be cut into neat cubes.

Note: I use buttermilk as it makes for cheese that has very little sour flavor. People use lemon or vinegar, these curdle the milk quickly but leave a strong aftertaste. This aftertaste is not nice when making desserts with cheese.

Try and use the cheese the same day as you make it. The more time it is kept the dryer it becomes and the harder it will be. When making soft cheese for desserts. Weight it down for a shorter time as I write above. You can leave more moisture in, if you know you will not use it till the next day. The cheese will get dryer in refrigeration.

For the firm cheese, you can make the firm cube and store it overnight in chilled water. But you cannot put the cheese in water until a firm cake, with all the whey drained is formed. So, first make your cheese cube, and if you are not using it the same day, immerse it in a container of water, seal with a cover and cut only when ready to use into smaller cubes.

paneer from 1 litre of milk / 1 cup curd
2 green capsicums, chopped small
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 small madras onions chopped
3 green chillies chopped
3 teaspoon oil
pinch of asoefatida (hing)
fresh green coriander
Heat the oil, add asoefatida, cumin seeds.
When they crackle add the green chillies and onions, stir.
Add the crumbly paneer and the capsicum, add the salt.
Cover and lower flame
Keep stirring
Cook for 10 minutes or thereabouts. The green capsicum should retain some of its fresh green colour.
Add the green coriander leaves.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sprouted Green Moong Dal Salad

Sprouted Green Moong Dal SaladRead all about the benefits of sprouts here.
Its easy to sprout seeds and lentils at home as long as you remember to eat them up within a few days. They're great in salads, sandwich fillings, or even dunked in yoghurt as a raita.

1 cup green moong dal
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of turmeric
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
fresh coriander leaves chopped
1 tomato chopped small

Soak whole green moong dal overnight. Sprout the dal in a sprouting dish, or keep it in
a sieve wrapped in a mist muslin cloth for sprouting.

Heat a teaspoon of oil, splutter the cumin seeds, add the sprouts, turmeric,
red chilli powder and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Cool, and then add fresh coriander, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice.

An excellent salad to eat on its own or as a side dish.

Aloo-Gobhi with ginger and green coriander

Aloo Gobhi with ginger and green coriander, potato and cauliflower dishIngredients
1 large head cauliflower cleaned and chopped into small florets
3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped small
A large piece of ginger (6 cm x 2 cm) peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons oil
2 fresh green chillies chopped
1 cup fresh green coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend the ginger to a fine paste.
Heat oil, add ginger and turmeric. Fry, stirring constantly.
After 2 minutes add chopped green chillies, potatoes and cauliflower. Stir.
Add cumin, coriander, garam masala powders and salt. Cover and cook. Add a little warm water to prevent sticking.
Add fresh green coriander and lemon juice and stir when almost done.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Soya Wheat Bread Recipe from Dr. Tusna Park

This recipe is from a well known nutritionist and dietitian from Chennai called Tusna Park. She has authored a book called A New Way to Eat. I know people who followed the diet closely and lost their bulk of weight and felt great. Like all diets though, it has to be a lifestyle change and not a short term measure. I find this book a great inspiration to include soya in our daily diet in some way or another. There is so written about the benefits of soya these days; read all about it on a great site called The Worlds Healthiest Foods.
For those of you interested in consulting Dr. Tusna Park, her number is 093810 47630


150 gm of whole wheat,
150 gm of soya flour
A pinch of salt
One teaspoon of good quality dry yeast.
2 tps of sugar


Put the dry ingredients together in a pan and
mix well. Add a raw egg (optional). Take 300 ml of water with a wooden
spatula and add it to the dry mixture till you get a thick consistency.
(thicker than cake but not as firm as chappati dough). Grease a baking
tin with oil and place the dough in the tin and let it stand for three
hours. It will rise. Bake it in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Do not eat
more than 3 slices at a time.

Note: Serves 3 will give 50 gm of soya per person/per day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spaghetti with Meatball Sauce, Nigella Lawson Inspired

Of course I didn't have all the ingredients Nigella Lawson used, so its an adapted recipe. But on last Sunday's show she made this meatball sauce and I couldn't resist trying it. The domestic goddess believes that the trick to good meatballs is to keep the size of them s m a l l. She says - " Don't actually use a teaspoon, but use about a teaspoon's amount of mince to roll each ball."

500 gm mince meat
1 egg
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan ( I didn't have parmesan, I used AMUL Gouda)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tablespoons semolina or breadcrumbs
a good grind of black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Tomato sauce
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
bottle tomato passata ( No clue about this, I used 1 Godrej Tomato
Puree, and 4 fresh tomatoes blanched, skinned and chopped small)
pinch sugar
salt and pepper
100ml full fat milk

How to make the meatballs and tomato sauce

Just put everything in a large bowl, and then, using your hands, mix to combine, before shaping into small balls. Place the meatballs on baking sheets or plates that you have lined with cling film, and put in the fridge as you finish them.

For the sauce, put the onion, garlic and oregano into the process and blitz to a pulp. Heat the butter and oil in a deep wide pan, then scrape the onion-garlic mix into it and cook over a low-medium for about 10 minutes. Don't let the mixture catch, just let it become soft.

Add the bottle of passata/ tomato puree and fresh tomatoes and then fill the empty bottle half full with cold water. Add this to the pan with the pinch of sugar, some salt and pepper, and cook for about 15 minutes.
The tomato sauce will appear thin at this stage, but don't worry as it will thicken a little later.

Stir in the milk, and then drop the meatballs in one by one. Don't stir the pan until the meatballs have turned frompink to brown as you don't want to break them up. Cook everything forabout 20 minutes, with the lid only partially covering it. At the end of cooking time, check the seasoning as you may want more salt and a grind or two more of pepper.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Red Pumpkin and Spinach/ Kaddu-Saag

Red Pumpkin and Spinach, Paanch-Phoran, Bengali Five SpiceThe marriage between red pumpkin and green spinach is a rather delightful one as I figured yesterday. And here's how to arrange this marriage -

200 grams red pumpkin, washed and chopped
1 bunch spinach leaves, washed and chopped
1/2 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon paanch phoran (bengali five spice)
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Heat the mustard oil. Add the paanch-phoran when it smokes.
Add the sliced onion and fry, add ginger, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt.
Add pumpkin, stir, cover and cook till half done. Keep stirring every now and then. Add a few drops of water if its sticking to the bottom of pan, though the pumpkin should have enough of moisture.
Add the spinach leaves. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Masoor Dal with a green chilly tadka

Masoor Dal with Green ChilliesI once ate masoor dal made like this at a friends house and have never forgotten the taste. My friends were from Ajmer, Rajasthan and almost all their dals have a unique and interesting tadka added to them. I now often make this dal at home and eat it with plain boiled rice or a chapati and its fantastic. Its the tadka or garnish that makes it so simple and yet so delicious.

1 cup pink masoor dal
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
a pinch of asoefatida
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 chopped green chillies
fresh coriander leaves

Boil the dal with salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker or in a vessel with 3 cups water
Once done and the lentils have split but not completely mashed, turn off and cover.
Heat the ghee, add asoefatida, cumin seeds. Once they splutter turn off the gas and add the green chillies and the coriander leaves.
Add to the dal and immediately cover to keep flavours in !

Done !

Friday, May 23, 2008

Grilled Rosemary Chicken and Steamed Vegetables

Grilled Chicken with ROsemary, Black pepperLast night we had Grilled Chicken and Steam Vegetables for dinner.

Marinate chicken legs (thighs and legs attached) with olive oil, salt, lots of pepper, rosemary sprigs, dash of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of soya sauce. Grill in over for half an hour, flip chicken legs over and grill another half an hour.

Steam Vegetables, Carrots, Beans For the Steamed Vegetables - chop carrots and beans. Steam in microwave-able steamer like I have or on the gas. Toss in salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

Serve hot with good bread!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chicken Piralen: a recipe from Kerala

Chicken Piralen, a semi-gravy recipe from Kerala
Here 's a nice semi-gravy chicken dish that takes hardly any time to cook and tastes great with plain rice and daal.

Grind together and marinate Chicken in the following masala:
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1" piece cinnamon
8 cloves
4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon aniseed

1 kg chicken, skinned and jointed
3 medium onions sliced
1 tablespoon ground fresh garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
10-15 curry leaves
2 tablespoon vinegar
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken and leave it for half an hour
Heat oil and fry onions till brown.
Add ginger-garlic, curry leaves and a little hot water so that the masala doesn't stick and fry for 5 minutes or till the raw smell from the ginger-garlic leaves
Add the marinated chicken and stir well. Add salt to taste.
Add a cup of hot water, cover and cook till chicken is almost cooked.
Add the vinegar and continue to cook till chicken is completely cooked.

Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mussel Curry with Coconut Milk

Mussel Curry with Coconut MilkThis is the first time I'm making mussels at home. I found cleaned and shelled mussels at Lusitania Frozen Foods- the cold storage where I buy a lot of the meats I cook, and couldn't resist buying mussels. Lusitania has more branches all over Bangalore. They are known for their quality meat, pork and various cold cuts, and also for their very courteous and friendly staff.

I used a simple coconut curry recipe that goes like this.

200 grams of cleaned and shelled mussels
8 small madras onions
3 teaspoons heaped fresh ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 cup coconut milk from 1/2 freshly ground coconut
juice of half a lime
fresh coriander leaves

Soak the mussels in salt water for half an hour and drain
Grind the onions, ginger-garlic, turmeric, coriander,cumin, red chilli powder into a paste
Heat oil, add masala paste and fry till the masala cooks and the oil leaves the paste
Add coconut milk and stir. Add mussels.
Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Garnish with lime juice and fresh lime juice.

Eat this with plain boiled white rice !

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lucknowi Mutton Biryani

Lucknowi Awadhi Mutton biryani, Kewra, Nutmeg, MaceI am a huge fan of Biryani and am delighted to have been asked by someone to post a recipe for a traditional Lucknowi Biryani . The name Biryani is derived from the Farsi word birian and this dish probably originated in Persia or Arabia. Some think it came from Persia via Afghanistan to north India, others think it was brought by the Arab traders via the Arabian Sea to Calicut, which had maritime trade with West Asia.
Here is one way to make the Lucknow Biryani. What makes the Lucknow/Awadhi biryani special is that it cooks in the stock of the meat. I will soon post a photograph because I plan to make it this weekend!

1/2 kg mutton with bone
3 cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion ground to a paste

1 cup whisked curd
2 teaspoon garlic paste
2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered almonds or almond paste
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

Grind together and add to marinade
6 green cardamoms
6 cloves
2 blades mace (javitri)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon saffron soaked in kewra water
1 cup chopped coriander and mint leaves
salt to taste

Wash meat, drain and dry
Combine ingredients for marinade and marinate meat for 30 minutes
Wash rice and soak for an hour
Soak the saffron in kewra water

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker, add onion and fry till golden
Stir in marinated meat and stir. Add 3 cups warm water. Add salt. Pressure for 15 minutes.
Allow pressure to cool before opening.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep pan. Drain rice, add to pan and stir for 8-10 minutes.
Remove half the rice and place all the meat pieces and a little gravy over the remaining rice.
Cover meat with the removed rice and pour the rest of the gravy/stock over the top
Sprinkle with the saffron and kewra water
Add the chopped coriander and mint leaves
Cover the dish and bake in a oven pre-heated to 150 degree C (300 F) for 30 minutes.

Serves 4

Gujarati Fada-Ni-Khichdi

Gujarati Fada Ni Khichdi, vegetarian snack with broken wheat and daalWhen Rishad lived in Bombay, he introduced us to the famous SWATI SNACKS in Tardeo, which we loved. We used to call it "The Yellow Place" since almost everything on the menu was haldi (turmeric) coloured. There isn't one thing I didn't order on the menu over the number of times we ate there, but my all time favourite was their Fada (broken wheat ) Khichdi. I often make it at home and vary the vegetables or the daal I add to it. Of course, like every dish, there are a number of variations. But here's the recipe we use!

1 cup split yellow gram (yellow moong daal)
3/4 cup broken wheat (wheat dalia)
1/2 cup potatoes diced
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 teaspoon asoefatida/hing
1 small stick cinnamon
2 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup onions chopped
1 tablespoon green chilli-ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
salt to taste
Fresh coriander

Wash and soak moong dal and broken wheat for 15 minutes. Drain and keep aside
Boil 4 cups hot water in kettle.
Heat ghee/oil in pressure cooker, add hing, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and stir for 30 seconds. Add salt and turmeric and stir.
Add the onions, black pepper and green chilli-ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the daal and broken wheat together with all the other vegetables.
Add the hot water and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Open when the pressure when the steam escapes.
Garnish with fresh coriander and stir before serving.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mutton Korma, A recipe from Delhi

Mutton Korma Dilpasand, Delhi recipeI just cooked a variation of a recipe from Priti Narain's recipe book called The Essential Delhi Cookbook. Its called KORMA DILPASAND in her book. I like a little more spice than she mentions and also like to cook the masala longer before adding the meat and other ingredients. She mentions in her book that "The recipes in the book are of the muslims, Kayasths, Banias and Khatris. These were the four main groups of people who settled in Shahjehanabad, which became Delhi.

1 kg mutton pieces
3-4 pieces cinnamon sticks 1" each
2 bay leaves
8 green cardamoms
10-12 cloves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Large pinch of mace flakes
5 medium onions 1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
8 whole dried red chillies
1/2 cup ghee/ oil
salt to taste
2 cups curd
1 teaspoon garam masala powder

Put the mutton in a pan with cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns, and mace. Cover with water, bring to a boil and then simmer for half an hour.
Grind one third of the onions with garlic, ginger, red chilies and coriander seeds.
Slice the rest of the onions fine. Heat oil and fry the sliced onions till golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
Fry the ground onion masala for 6-8 minutes. Keep stirring.
Drain the meat and discard the whole spices. Keep the stock aside.
Add meat to the frying masala. Fry for 5-6 minutes. Add the stock. Add the salt.
Take the fried onions and grind coarsely with the curd. Add this to the meat.
Add the garam masala powder.
Cover and cook till meat is tender.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Red Bell Pepper Delight

Sauteed Red Pepper, Tomato and OnionsToday was a Red Pepper bonanza ! I have recently found a new love for red peppers. They're a bit sweeter than the green and yellow ones and have a versatile taste that I find interesting in both Indian and western recipes. Todays veggie with lunch was a sauteed red pepper, tomato and onions. Here's how I made it. I used my home made chilli oil but you could use normal olive or any other oil for this.
So, here's what we had for LUNCH

2 red Peppers, sliced
2 Onions sliced fine
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon Chilli oil/ Olive oil
salt and pepper
Chopped parsley

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of chilli oil in a pan. If using normal oil, add 4 cloves of chopped garlic
2. Add onions and stir till they are pink
3. Add red peppers and tomatoes and stir over high heat till red peppers are somewhat cooked but still crunchy (5-8 minutes)
4. Add salt and pepper to taste
5. Garnish with chopped parsley

Red pepper and Tuna PastaAnd here's what we had for DINNER

Red pepper and Tuna Pasta
Take leftovers of Red pepper veggies as shown above.
Mix with a 1 small can (185 grams) of light weight tuna fish
Boil some pasta/drain and immediately add a little olive oil
Combine with tuna and vegetables while still warm
Leave out the tuna for a vegetarian pasta
Serve with your favourite wine

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kerala Beef Curry

Kerala Beef CurryHere is the beef curry I cooked in my Le Crueset dish featured on yesterday's post. There are many variations to a Kerala beef Curry but here's one of them. I also often make a variation of this beef curry without coconut milk.

750 grams cubed beef or veal (small cubes)
3 onions, chopped
6 - 8 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoon of grated ginger
4 dry red chillies
10-12 curry leaves
4 green cardamoms
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
3 green chillies, slit
2 Tablespoons of Oil
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Cups of coconut milk
Salt to taste

Grind the fresh garlic , ginger, 4 dry red chillies together and marinate the cubed meat in this for an hour.
Heat the oil, add the cardamom pods, mustard seeds and when they splutter, add the curry leaves, green chillies and finally the chopped onions.
Fry the onions until they are golden brown.
Add the marinated meat. Brown the meat, continuously stirring for about 10 minutes.
Add salt to taste.
Mix all the powdered spices in a bowl and add a cup of hot water. Pour this into the frying meat and stir it in.
Cover the dish and cook on a simmered flame until you see the oil separate from the meat. If the meat is not tender yet, add a little more hot water, and continue to cover and cook a while longer. Or pressure cook for 10-12 minutes.
Once the beef is tender, add the coconut milk and let it cook for 5 - 6 minutes. Do not let this boil.

Serves 4 - 6

Monday, May 05, 2008

Le Crueset

Le Crueset Cast Iron French Round OvenMy friend PB suggested I should also blog about my kitchenware that I quite unashamedly consider my most valuable possessions. I more than just LOVE my favourite cookware, spatula, silicon whisk..... I could go on. PB notices each item in my kitchen with great enthusiasm, and so we share our views and news not just about the food thats been cooked, but what its been cooked in too!

For starters I'll introduce my flaming orange Le Crueset french round oven. Le Crueset boasts that "Cast iron Round French Ovens have long been the cookware of choice for French chefs. The cast iron construction has superior heat retention, which makes it easy to cook at very low temperatures for extended periods of time. The tight fitting lids help to seal in moisture allowing for tender meat dishes and flavorful soups and stews."

I will more than agree! I have made excellent meat roasts, stews, soups in this dish. Its also great for Indian curries and vegetables. Today I'm making Kerala beef curry in it and shall post the results of it tomorrow! The dish is heavy I'll admit, so it can be a bit challenging when moving it off the fire, or when pouring the food out, but for me its worth all the trouble in the world.

I should add a thank you to Priya and Jacob who gave me this dish as a wedding gift. I think I hinted so much at how much I'd love to have a Le Crueset dish that Priya indulged me.

I have a small Le Crueset saucepan and frying pan too!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Palak-Paneer made with homemade Paneer

I have always made home made paneer by splitting the milk with vinegar until I read Suvir Saran's method. It makes a pretty huge difference to the consistency and taste of the paneer. Here is Suvir Saran's recipe:

* 10 cups whole milk
* 1/2 cup buttermilk / yogurt (more maybe needed, so keep some extra)
In a large heavy bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir often to ensure that the milk is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
When milk starts to boil, lower heat and add the buttermilk and stir until the milk starts to separate into curds.
Remove from heat as soon as this happens. You can even add a few ice cubes to the curd-whey mix. The heat will make the protein tougher. Hence the need to expose the cheese to as little heat as possible.
If the curds are not forming, add a little more buttermilk and cook for a couple of minutes more. And do the above as soon as the curds form.
Pour the curds-whey mix into a collander lined with several layers of cheese cloth or even a layer of muslin, draining onto a dish that will collect the whey.
Collect the sides of the cheesecloth or muslin and tie them up together and twist gently to help drain the whey from the curds.
Place the bundled curds on a tray and press this bundle with a heavy pan/container or obejct. Make sure this heavy weight covers the bundle fully.
To make cheese for dessert recipes or for koftas or even a bhujia, weight it down for no more than a half hour.
For recipes where cheese cubes are used, weight the bundle down for an hour or more. This will make the cheese form a firm mass that can be cut into neat cubes.

Note: I use buttermilk as it makes for cheese that has very little sour flavor. People use lemon or vinegar, these curdle the milk quickly but leave a strong aftertaste. This aftertaste is not nice when making desserts with cheese.

Try and use the cheese the same day as you make it. The more time it is kept the dryer it becomes and the harder it will be. When making soft cheese for desserts. Weight it down for a shorter time as I write above. You can leave more moisture in, if you know you will not use it till the next day. The cheese will get dryer in refrigeration.

For the firm cheese, you can make the firm cube and store it overnight in chilled water. But you cannot put the cheese in water until a firm cake, with all the whey drained is formed. So, first make your cheese cube, and if you are not using it the same day, immerse it in a container of water, seal with a cover and cut only when ready to use into smaller cubes.

2 bunches spinach leaves washed thoroughly, drained and chopped
Home made paneer made as shown above
1 onion sliced fine
3 green chillies finely chopped
2" piece of ginger chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
Fresh Lime juice from half a lemon

Blanch the spinach leaves in a little water. Cool and roughly blend but not too smooth.
Heat oil and let cumin seeds splutter. Add onions and green chillies and fry for a 3-4 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the spinach and stir, add salt to taste
Add the paneer and stir. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes.
Add juice from half a lime (optional)

Rishad's Potato Boulangére

My brother Rishad is a great cook. He enjoys grilling and baking a lot and gave me this potato boulangére recipe to add to a Sunday lunch menu a few months ago. It was such a hit that we were eating way too much Boulangére for months after. I just read that Boulangére, is the French word for baker, and this potato recipe is so-called because it once used to be cooked in the baker’s oven after bread making had finished for the day.

6 medium potatoes
4 medium onions
Fresh rosemary
150 ml Milk
300 ml Stock

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Slice potatoes round and the onions thin. Bruise the rosemary leaves slightly.
Line an oven proof dish with a little butter and put a layer potatoes. Then a layer of onions and fresh rosemary leaves.
Keep repeating till the final layer is of potatoes. Keep sprinkling salt and pepper with each layer of potatoes.
Mix the stock with the milk. I make the stock with Maggi cubes but freshly made stock is always best. Pour over the dish.
Put small flecks of butter over the last layer of potato.

Bake for one and a half hours in the oven.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chitra Ghose's Prawn Malai Curry

Chef Chitra GhoseChitra Ghose is a close friend in Delhi. She and my father Mickey Patel, worked together in advertising for many years. My father was an artist, and Chitra was often the inspiration for many of his cartoons and caricatures because of her flamboyant style and impressive bouffant. She has claimed to have had this hairdo before Sharmila Tagore! Chitra retired from advertising and started a catering business in Delhi for her exquisite Bengali cuisine. Someone from ITC happend to have tasted the food and as a result she is now a consultant chef for the ITC group.

750 grams small prawns, cleaned and de-veined
2 tablespoons mustard oil
1 bay leaf
3 green cardamom
2" cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 onions ground into paste
1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
milk extracted from one small coconut
Salt to taste

Dissolve in a little warm water
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1. Rub salt and turmeric on the prawns. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the prawns for a minute. Remove prwns with a slotted spoon.
2. Add Bay leaf to heated oil, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves.
3. Add the onion paste and fry for 6-8 minutes. Add ginger-garlic and fry for another 10 minutes.
4. Add the powdered masalas soaked in a little warm water. Keep stirring and cook till oil leaves the masala.
5. Add the coconut milk and cook on low heat.
6. Add prawns and cook for only 2 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon powder

Mutton/Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Kerala Chicken, Mutton or Vegetable Stew for AppamsA recipe from Kerala
If you live in Bangalore, you must have definitely eaten the mutton stew with appams at Coconut Grove. I like their Kerala stews over the other restaurants because its got such a delicate flavour. If you don't live in Bangalore, here's how you can easily make this delicious stew at home.

700 grams mutton cut into small pieces/ 1 chicken cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons oil
3 potatoes quartered
200 grams green beans
200 grams carrots chopped
1 cup sliced onions
1 tablespoon garlic sliced thin
1 tablespoon ginger sliced thin
6 green chillies, slit
2 " piece of cinnamon
6 cloves
4 green cardamom
1 tablespoon pepper corns
6-8 curry leaves
2 tablespoons vinegar
salt to taste
2 cups think coconut milk
1 cup thick coconut milk

1. Heat the oil, add onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper, and curry leaves. Add the meat/ chicken and fry well. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. For the mutton- cook in pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles on a high flame. You can add 1/2 cup of hot water to the masala if pressuring the meat.
2. Add vinegar, salt and the thin coconut milk.
3. Add the potatoes, carrots and beans.
4. Cook till vegetables are done and meat tender.
5. Add thick coconut milk.

Serve hot with appams or plain boiled rice!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomato Chutney

Tomato ChutneyThis is my aunt keli's recipe. Everyone in my family has this recipe and enjoys this chutney immensely. Once made it keeps well for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

1/2 kg whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh ginger-garlic
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon panch phoran
1-2 whole red chillies
1-2 tablespoons raisins (optional)

1. Blanch and peel the tomatoes
2. grind the ginger-garlic, red chillies with half the quantity of vinegar.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil. Add the bay leaf and panch-phoran.
4. Add roughly chopped tomatoes and their juice, the blended paste, rest of the vinegar, sugar and salt.
5. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture bubble, stirring every now and then. This can take an hour.
6. Once the consistency looks thick enough, turn the heat off and add the raisins (optional)
7. Cool and refrigerate.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Vegetable Pulao for Shabari

This is for my friend Shabari. Read all about her travels on

2 cups basmati rice
½ kg mixed vegetables ( cauliflower, carrots, beans, peas)
3 onions

Grind to a paste
4 cloves
1 ½ “ cinnamon stick
4 cardamoms
4 green chillies
½ teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 ½ “ piece ginger
10 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons oil/ghee
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Garnish (optional)
2 boiled eggs chopped
2 tablespoons halved and fried cashews
Chopped coriander leaves

1. Clean and wash the rice. Soak for 1 hour
2. Dice the vegetables, slice the onions fine
3. Grind the ingredients mentioned.
4. Heat oil in a large cooking dish. Add the bay leaf.
5. Add onions and fry till brown.
6. Add the ground masala paste, and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes.
7. Add the mint and coriander leaves.
8. Pour 4 cups of warm water, mix well.
9. Add the drained rice and chopped vegetables.
10. Bring to a boil and then simmer and cover. In 10-12 minutes the pulao is ready !

Eat with fried papad and spinach raita !

Serves 4 people.

Vegetable Barley Soup

Healthy Vegetarian Barley SoupThe soup postings have clearly been a hit! Thank you to everyone who left their comments. So try some more delicious, and wonderful soups from my kitchen.

I have started eating a lot more barley - its great in almost any soup. Read all about barley on a fabulous food site called The World's Healthiest Foods

Vegetable Barley Soup

2 carrots
2 onions
2 potatoes
50 gm of red pumpkin
50 gm white pumpkin
2 tomatoes
some cabbage leaves
6 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1/2 cup barley pearls
6 cups vegetable stock/water. You can make the stock with soup cubes.

Chop, clean and cut all the vegetables into bite sized chunks.
Add 6 cups of stock/water and add the barley. Add salt and pepper. Boil for 30-35 minutes.
If you like the soup a bit chunky, take a few tablespoons out and blend it. Add it back to the soup.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Healthy, Indian, Lightly Cooked Red, Yellow, Green Peppers, Zuchini and Spring Onions

Its sometimes fun to eat steamed/grilled/broiled veggies with Indian curries too! I've stopped waiting to buy zucchini and red and yellow peppers only when there's a western meal being cooked. Today I made these very lightly cooked veggies to eat with curry for lunch. These are the veggies I had at home. If you like, add mushrooms and baby corn to the list too.

2 red peppers
2 green peppers
2 yellow peppers
2 zucchini
1 teaspoon garlic paste/chopped garlic
1 cup of chopped spring onions
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash - Clean - Chop all veggies
2. Heat 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil
3. Add garlic paste or chopped garlic
4. Add veggies, stir on high heat for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Simmer and cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.

* Because I like a bit of a kick to my food I added a bit of the habanero chilli oil I made from the habanero's growing in my garden. You can also use red chilli flakes. I have a posting on my habanero pepper tree, if you look under the label for Vegetarian.

Summer Soups

A request came in from Ritu for Summer foods that are light non-greasy and not so spicy. I thought I'd start with a posting of light summer soups. They're great before a meal, because they fill you up, or even as a snack by themselves. Last year George gifted me this great book called
The New Book of Soups

Here are a few soup recipes adapted from this book.

Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

1/2 kg tomatoes
3 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
500 ml stock ( you can make this from 2 soup cubes stirred into hot water)
salt to taste
fresh black pepper

1. Cut the red peppers and de-seed. Chop into small pieces
2. Heat oil, add onions, garlic, cook till soft. I add some dry red chilli flakes.
3. Add red peppers and roughly blended tomatoes.
4. Add salt, pepper, and salt
5. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
6. Simmer and cook for at least 20 minutes. You can blend this soup once ready but to eat it with the chunks of red peppers gives it a nice texture.
7. Add ready made croûtons or home made ones!

Mushroom and Potato soup

2 packets of button mushroom
1 packet oyster mushrooms ( Available at Namdhari's)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 potatoes chopped small
2 onions chopped into small bits
salt and pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves chopped
4 cups stock ( made with cubes will do)

1. Clean the mushrooms and chop into medium sized bits.
2. Heat oil and saute onions, add a few red chilli flakes if you like things hot! Cook till soft.
3. Add garlic and potatoes. Add salt and pepper. Stir.
4. Add stock and bring to boil.
5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
6. If you like, thicken the soup when done by blending 2 cups of the soup and let the rest be chunky.

This soup is filling and tastes great with toast. Its a complete meal.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

An April Sunday Lunch

Yesterday's Sunday lunch menu was Chicken Ghazala, Gobhi Paanch phoran and green beans served with yellow rice.
Chicken Ghazala
Recipe from Hyderabad
1 medium sized chicken jointed
1/4 kg green chillies
1/2 cup curd
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander powder roasted and ground
2 tablespoons oil
1 kg onions sliced
I teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground garlic
3 cups water
1 bunch coriander leaves
lemon juice

Grind half the green chillies with curd, turmeric, salt and coriander powders.
Slit remaining green chillies, fry them in the hot oil, remove with slotted spoon and keep aside.
Fry onions in the same oil till golden brown.
Add the chicken and fry till browned and juices are released.
Cook till water lessons a but and add the ginger, garlic and curd. Mix well.
Add the 3 cups of water.
Cook covered till chicken is tender.
Add coriander leaves, fried green chillies.
Add the juice of one lemon. Mix well.

Indian Gobhi or Gobi Paanch PhoranGobhi Paanch Phoran

1 cauliflower cleaned and chopped small
1 tablespoon paanch phoran ( bengali 5 spice mix)
2 inch piece of ginger sliced fine
1 tablespoon oil
6 green chillies chopped fine

Heat oil
Add paanch phoran. Let it crackle
Add green chillies and ginger
Add cauliflower, pinch of turmeric, fry well.
Lower heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes or till done. Stir occasionally.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Indian Green Beans Curry, dryGreen Beans

1/2 kg green beans
3 medium onions sliced fine
4 green chillies
2 dry red chillies
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds

String beans and chop them into small pieces.
Heat oil, splutter the cumin and mustard seeds. Break the 2 dry chillies onto pieces and add to oil. Add green chillies.
Add onions and stir, add salt.
Immediately add beans and stir.
Lower heat and cover. Cook till beans are almost done but still crunchy and green.