Autumnal Spinach & Carrot Soup, The Indian Way

Autumnal Spinach & Carrot Soup, The Indian Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autumnal Spinach & Carrot Soup, The Indian Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My blogger friend Teagan of the Three Ingredients Serial fame invites her readers to send in three ingredients for each episode of an ongoing mystery story which she posts in installments.

Teagan uses the ingredients sent in by her avid readers to decide how to move the story forward on ‘per episode’ basis. Her abundant creativity and the clever way she makes use of these ingredients means that each episode takes us on a twisting, turning and teasing ride.

Today’s soup recipe is an ode to Teagan’s three ingredients serial.

I was planning on making a very simple spinach and carrot soup. Some tart yoghurt, ginger garlic paste and paste of minced chillies and ginger were beckoning me from the refrigerator. So, I decided to use these three ingredients (which I would otherwise not consider using in a soup) to create an Indianised spinach and carrot soup.

Mighty pleased to say that the soup turned out to be absolutely superb. So much so that there are a couple of other recipes patiently waiting their turn to be posted but this one’s jumped the queue!

a warming, spunky soup which makes you forget how healthy it actually is

Ingredients

250 Grams spinach

1 Medium size carrot

1 Medium size onion

1 Head of garlic

1 Teaspoon ginger-garlic paste

1 Teaspoon green chilli-ginger paste

1 Tablespoon tart/tangy/sour yoghurt

1-2 Teaspoons oil

1 Cup water

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Thoroughly wash the spinach.
  2. Wash, scrape and roughly chop the carrot.
  3. Boil the spinach and carrot in one cup of water and a pinch of salt.
  4. Once cooked, let the vegetables cool down completely.
  5. Blend the vegetables till you get a puree like consistency. It is okay if a few carrot pieces remain whole.
  6. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  7. Peel and chop the garlic.
  8. Heat the oil in a pot.
  9. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat and throw in the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt.
  10. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Uncover and add the pastes of ginger-garlic and chilli-ginger.
  12. Add the yoghurt.
  13. Mix well.
  14. Add the pureed spinach and carrot.
  15. Check for soup like consistency. Add more water at this stage if you find it too thick.
  16. Check for salt and add a bit more if you feel it lacking.
  17. Bring to a rolling boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  18. Enjoy hot with some bread stick or crusty loaf.

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Mutton Dhansak with Brown Rice & Kachumbar

Mutton Dhansak with Brown Rice & Kachumbar

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mutton Dhansak with Brown Rice & Kachumbar

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so very excited to share today’s recipe with my fellow kooky cooks.

Dhansak is one dish that I have been meaning to make for the longest time but was a bit nervous thinking it was way too time consuming and elaborate with an over-stretched ingredients list. Glad to say I was proved wrong.

A few weeks back, I had this famous Parsi mutton and rice dinner at my friend Meher’s place. Having got the recipe from her, I mustered the courage to try it in my own kitchen.

Dhansak is a stew of mutton, dals and vegetables served over brown rice alongside some kachumbar.

Vegetables to be used include pumpkin, aubergine and small fenugreek leaves. If you can’t get hold of the latter, skip the leaves but don’t substitute with regular or dry variants.

Mutton dhahsak is the most authentic version although you do get chicken and vegetable dhansak as well.

The brown rice is actually white rice which is cooked in caramalised water.  It should become very brown, something I didn’t achieve in my first attempt (mine turned out a pale brown).

Kachumbar is a mixture of finely chopped onions and tomatoes with some chilli and coriander. You can also add a chopped cucumber if you wish.

I used ready prepared dhansak masala; it is available in most Indian grocery stores. Meher’s family use the Mangal brand which they say comes closest to the homemade version so I managed to get a packet from them.

There is one more component to dhansak which I skipped – kebabs.

one of the most satisfying dinner experience you will have

Enjoy with some chilled beer.

 

Ingredients for Dhansak

500 Grams mutton (preferably on the bone)

1/2 Cup tuvar dal

1/2 Cup masoor dal

125 Grams Pumpkin

4 Baby aubergine

4 Ripe tomato

2 Onions

2 Tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

2 1″ cinnamon sticks

4-5 Cloves

4-5 Whole peppercorns

3 Green cardamom

3 Black cardamom

2 Bayleaf

1-2 Tablespoons dhansak masala

2 Teaspoons turmeric powder

1 Tablespoon chilli powder

1-2 Teaspons jaggery powder (or a small lump of jaggery)

1-2 Tablespoons oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Soak the tuvar dal for 5-6 hours.
  2. Clean the mutton and apply a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste.
  3. Cook the mutton in about 2 cups of water till tender.
  4. Drain the stock and set aside.
  5. Wash and cube the pumpkin (I didn’t peel it).
  6. Wash and cube the aubergine.
  7. Wash the masoor dal.
  8. Place the two dals, chopped vegetables, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and a pinch of salt into a pot. Cook till meltingly soft. (You can do this in a pressure cooker if you wish).
  9. Once the dal and vegetables are cooked, mash them with the back of a spoon and set aside.
  10. Wash and puree the tomato.
  11. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  12. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  13. Once it is hot, add the cinnamon stick, clove, peppercorn, cardamom and bayleaf.
  14. Lower the heat and add the onion along with salt to taste.
  15. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  16. Uncover and add 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  17. Add the tomato puree.
  18. Stir well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  19. Uncover and add the mutton, dal and vegetable mixture, dhansak masala, jaggery and chilli powder.
  20. At this stage, check for consistency. If you feel that it needs some water, add the mutton stock. But keep in mind that the dhansak should be fairly thick, not watery.
  21. Mix well and check for salt.
  22. Cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  23. Take off the heat and keep aside till ready to serve.

 

Ingredients for Brown Rice

1 Cup white rice

2 Onions

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon ghee

Method

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes.
  2. Peel, wash and slice the onion.
  3. Take a pot to cook the rice in.
  4. Heat the ghee in it and when it has melted, add the sugar.
  5. Lower the heat and keep stirring till the sugar melts. It will become brown as it starts caramelising.
  6. Once the sugar has caramalised, add the sliced onions.
  7. Mix well, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. By the end, the onions should be nicely brown.
  8. Drain the rice and add to the browned onions, along with some salt.
  9. Gently mix.
  10. Add 2 cups of water, increase the heat and bring to boil.
  11. Once it reaches rolling boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for about 25 minutes till the rice is full cooked.
  12. Once cooked, take off the heat and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Ingredients for Kachumbar

2 Onion

2 Ripe tomato

1 Cucumber (optional)

2 Green chilli

Small bunch fresh coriander

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  3. Wash and finely chop the cucumber, if using.
  4. Wash, dry and finely chop the coriander.
  5. Wash and finely slice the chilli.
  6. Mix all the ingredients and chill for half hour before serving.

Serving Dhansak

  1. Serve some brown rice on a plate.
  2. Ladle dhansak on top of the rice.
  3. Serve kachumbar on the side.

Salmon Slaw, The Oriental Way

Salmon Slaw, The Oriental Way

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Salmon Slaw

 

 

 

 

 

 a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips

The weekend gone by was one with multiple moments on the lips and so to ensure that the indulgences are not for a lifetime, I am on a “lightweight” food routine to redress the balance!

Was planning on a simple salad dinner when I got the idea of making an Oriental style slaw with some canned salmon, carrot, cucumber, apple, green pepper and egg. Didn’t have cabbage but I think this slaw works better without it.

The dressing is my made-up recipe and it has me hooked so will be experimenting with it in other dishes in the future.

Straightforward ingredients go towards a simple salad which is elegant, subdued and easy on the tummy.

Ingredients

1 Small can salmon

1 Carrot

1 Cucumber

1 Green pepper

1 Small red apple

1-2 Eggs (depends on size)

1 Teaspoon wasabi paste

1-2 Teaspoons soy sauce

1-2 Teaspoons rice wine vinegar*

1 Tespoon sesame oil

A pinch of salt

Method

  1. Drain the salmon, flake it with a fork or your hand and put it in a salad bowl.
  2. Hard boil the eggs. Once cool, coarsely grate them.
  3. Scrape, wash and coarsely grate the carrot.
  4. Wash, de-core, de-seed and coarsely grate the green pepper.
  5. Wash and coarsely grate the cucumber.
  6. Wash, de-core, de-seed and coarsely grate the apple.
  7. Add the grated egg and vegetables to the salad bowl.
  8. To make the dressing, whisk together the wasabi paste, soy sauce, vinegar and oil with a pinch of salt.
  9. Add to the salad, toss well and serve either at room temperature or refrigerate for a couple of hours if you prefer it slightly chilled.

Note:

  1. If you don’t have rice wine vinegar, use any other natural vinegar like white wine or cider.

Leftover Roti Recipe 1

Leftover Roti Recipe

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Leftover Roti Recipe 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, I would like to share with you a recipe which is my ultimate guilty pleasure.

It won’t win any beauty awards, it is not elegant, it doesn’t have that “wow” factor, it is not one you can boast about but it is one of THE most comforting foods I have eaten.

If you like slurpy or soft, mashable foods (think mac and cheese or a bowl of cheesy mashed potato or a hearty soup) than this one is for you.

The recipe has come into our family through one of my mum’s oldest and closest friends.

very simple and doesn’t require a well-stocked kitchen

This works best with a day old roti or chapatti which is kind of dry. But it is so good that, sometimes, it is worth making extra rotis just so that you can have this the next day.

I have tried this recipe with regular wheat roti as well as jowar (sorghum) bhakhri (photo above) and it is equally delicious with both.

The only caveat is the tartness of the yoghurt you use. It has to be really very sour. I tend to leave the yoghurt at room temperature for a few hours beforehand to ensure that it reaches the right piquancy.

If you are a fan of garlic and yoghurt, give this one a go.

Out of curiosity, how do you use up your leftover rotis?!

Ingredients

4 Wheat roti or 2 Jowar bhakhri (must be day old)

1.5 Cups very sour yoghurt

1 Large head of garlic

2-3 Dry red chillies

1 Teaspoon cumin seeds

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1-2 Teaspoons chilli powder

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel and slice the garlic along its length.
  2. Crumble or tear the rotis or bhakhris with your hands. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the yoghurt.
  4. Add salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder to the whisked yogurt.
  5. Add about 1.5 to 2 cups of water to the spiced yoghurt and  mix well. Set aside.
  6. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  7. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat and throw in the cumin seeds and dry red chilli.
  8. Add the asafoetida and stir for about 20 seconds.
  9. Add the garlic and cook it for a couple of minutes.
  10. Next, add the yoghurt mixture and bring to boil.
  11. Once it comes to rolling boil, add the roti/bhakhri pieces.
  12. Mix well, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. By the end of the cooking time, the roti will have absorbed a lot fo the yoghurt sauce and you will end up with a stew like texture.
  13. Transfer to a pasta bowl and enjoy piping hot.

Baingan Bharta/Smoked Aubergine, The Indian Way

Baingan Bharta/Smoked Aubergine, The Indian Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Baingan Bharta/Smoked Aubergine, The Indian Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think age is catching up on me because I often find myself checking my own blog to see whether I have posted a particular recipe! As was the case with today’s one and I cannot believe that having been blogging for nearly a year now, I have not written about one of my favourite Indian vegetable preparations.

baingan bharta is an ode to all aubergine lovers, or so I like to think

Smoked aubergine cooked with onions, tomato and garlic for a velvety, delicious vegetable which can be scooped with any type of bread or equally divine on some plain boiled rice – what is there not to like?!

Earlier, I used to smoke the aubergine directly on a gas burner as is. But I have recently discovered that if you oil it a bit, it truly imparts that smokey aroma and flavour. If you don’t have a gas burner, you can try it on a grill although I can’t vouch for the end result in terms of smokiness.

When choosing an aubergine for baingan bharta, go for one which doesn’t weigh too much (irrespective of size). The heavy ones have more seeds in them.

Ingredients

1 Medium size aubergine

2 Onion

1 Head of garlic

2 Tomato

2-3 Fresh green chilli

Fresh ginger the size of your thumb

1/2 Cup fresh coriander

1-2 Teaspoons cumin seeds

1 Teaspoon turmeric

1 Teaspoon chilli powder

1 Teaspoon garam masala

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash the aubergine and apply a bit of oil all over.
  2. Place the aubergine on a gas burner and cook it till its skin is charred and the vegetable softens about 90% (you don’t want it completely collapsing). This does become slightly messy so be prepared to clean the burner afterwards!
  3. As soon as the aubergine is almost cooked on the open flame, transfer it to an airtight container. This way, it will cook in its own steam a bit more.
  4. In the meantime, peel, wash and dice the onion.
  5. Peel and chop the garlic.
  6. Wash and slice the green chilli.
  7. Peel, wash and grate the ginger.
  8. Wash, chop and dry the fresh coriander.
  9. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  10. When the oil becomes hot, lower the heat and add the cumin seeds.
  11. As soon as they stop spluttering, throw in the onion, garlic, tomato, green chilli and ginger.
  12. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt to taste. Mix well.
  13. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  14. While the onion mixture is cooking, go back to the aubergine.
  15. Remove the charred skin and roughly chop the flesh.
  16. Once the 10 minutes are up, uncover the pan and add the aubergine and garam masala powder. Mix well.
  17. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  18. Take off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  19. Add the fresh coriander before serving.

Green Chilli & Garlic Thecha (Condiment)

Green Chilli & Garlic Thecha (Condiment)

  • Difficulty: easy
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Green Chilli & Garlic Thecha (Condiment)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a quick and dead simple condiment which can go with almost any food.

Thecha is a type of Maharashtrian relish which is served on the side to spice up your palate. There are two variations: green chilli and red chilli.

I have eaten thecha in Poona which is made of cooked chilli and garlic. But my friend Shamala, who is also from the same city, shared her no-cook recipe with me. So I am assuming that there are different versions of the same condiment.

a totally moreish relish for lovers of spicy food

Ingredients

1/4 Cup chopped green chilli

1/4 Cup chopped garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon sesame or peanut oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Blend everything in a food processor. A bit lumpy is fine. Do NOT add any water.
  2. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Will stay good for upto a week.

Note:

  1. If you have the strength, time and inclination do this in a pestle and mortar for an authentic taste.

Moong Dal with Methi/Split Green Gram with Fenugreek Leaves

Moong Dal with Methi

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Moong Dal with Methi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I eat a lot of pulses and whole grains, I have realised that I don’t cook dal the Indian way (rather, hardly ever). Ironic considering the fact that Indian cuisine has a rich repository of dal recipes from across the country; different states and communities have their unique way of cooking this staple.

I favour one-pot meals and so I think I feel a bit lazy when it comes to cooking plain dal because than I would have to make a vegetable to go with it and that means more cooking and more washing up!

So I am delighted to share with you a one-pot meal, uncomplicated and quick dal recipe which requires no pre-soak and few spices.

I have combined the easy cooking yellow moong dal with methi leaves for a balanced dish. You can substitute methi with any other leafy vegetable.

this dal recipe proves that low in fat does not necessarily mean low in taste

Goes very well with, both, rice and any type of bread.

Ingredients

1/4 Cup moong dal

1 Cup fresh chopped methi leaves

1 Head of garlic

1 Onion

2-3 Green chilli

Fresh ginger the size of your thumb

1-2 Teaspoons mustard seeds

1-2 Teaspoons cumin seeds

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and drain the methi leaves. Set aside.
  2. Wash the dal and leave it in 1/4 cup of water while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Peel and roughly chop the garlic.
  4. Peel, wash and dice the onion.
  5. Wash and slice the green chilli.
  6. Peel or scrape, wash and chop the ginger.
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan or pressure cooker.
  8. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat and throw in the mustard seeds followed by cumin seeds.
  9. As soon as the seeds start spluttering, add the asafoetida and stir for 30 seconds.
  10. Next, add the chopped onion, garlic, chilli and ginger.
  11. Add salt to taste.
  12. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  13. Uncover and add the fenugreek leaves, dal along with the soaking water and turmeric powder.
  14. Mix well, cover and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes till the dal is soft. If cooking in pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for 4 to 5 whistles.
  15. Serve hot.

Pomegranate Studded Paneer Balls, The Sugar Free Way

Pomegranate Studded Paneer Balls, The Sugar Free Way

  • Difficulty: easy
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Pomegranate Studded Paneer Balls, The Sugar Free Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Majority of the recipes I post on this blog are savoury. That’s because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and when I do fancy something sweet, I tend to reach for a piece of chocolate or prunes or dried figs.

In other words, my cooking skills don’t really extend to desserts or puddings or the final course.

When I do make something sweet, it is usually for friends as was the case with this recipe. My friend Shamala and her husband Bachu were supposed to be coming over for dinner. Since they are both diabetic, I wanted to serve them a sugar free dessert.

Decided to combine the seasonal pomegranate with some homemade paneer and some dates for a low fat dinner finale.

To sweeten the balls, I added some powdered stevia.

soft, fluffy, fragrant and utterly moreish paneer balls for a delicate palate

Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions, Shamala and Bachu could not come. So I’ve ended up with a dessert which, fortunately, is not too calorific for my taste!

Another kooky recipe for keeps.

Caveat: I am not a nutritionist and do not claim that this recipe is diabetic friendly.

Ingredients

1 Litre milk

Juice of 2 limes or lemons

1/2 Cup fresh pomegranate seeds

4-5 Soft seedless dates

1 Teaspoon cardamom powder

4-5 Strands of saffron

1 Teaspoon powdered stevia

Method

  1. First, make the paneer. For this, pour the milk in a clean saucepan and bring it to boil.
  2. Once it reaches boiling point (starts rising), lower the heat and add the juice of lime or lemon. At this stage, the milk will start curdling.
  3. Stir for a minute and take the saucepan off the heat.
  4. Let it rest for a couple of minutes. You will see the cheese separate itself from the whey.
  5. Drain in a fine sieve colander or muslin.
  6. You will end up with soft paneer cheese.
  7. Let the paneer cool down a bit.
  8. In the meantime, finely chop the dates.
  9. Once the paneer is slightly cooler (still warm to touch), squeeze out any excess moisture.
  10. Put the paneer in a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients: pomegranate seeds, chopped dates, cardamom powder, saffron strands and powdered stevia.
  11. Mix well with your hand.
  12. Form balls with both hands and place them in a container with a lid.
  13. Once all the balls have been shaped, refrigerate for about 2 to 3 hours before serving.

Note:

  1. You can adjust the quantity of stevia according to personal taste. But these balls are best not cloyingly sweet.
  2. You can add some chopped walnuts or pistachios if you like.
  3. Use semi-skimmed or regular milk to make the paneer, not fully skimmed.