Tag Archives: Peas

Keema Matar/Minced Meat with Peas, The Indian Way

Keema Matar/Minced Meat with Peas, The Indian Way









Keema (minced meat) and matar (green peas) cooked in tomatoes and spices is one of my favourite Indian meat dishes.

Today’s recipe features minced mutton but you can adapt it to any kind of minced meat including lamb, beef, pork and chicken.

scooped with some roti or bread, keema matar is totally scrumptious

One of the good things about keema matar is how adaptable it is. Any leftover can be used as a sandwich filling, along with some fresh salad.

Or, break a couple of eggs over the minced meat while you are heating it. Wait till the eggs become firm and have this on toast.

Or, boil and mash some potatoes and mix these with the leftover keema matar to make fritters.

The possibilities are endless…

The following servers 4 people.


500 Grams minced meat of your choice

250 Grams shelled peas

3 Large onions

3 Large, ripe tomatoes

4 Tablespoons tomato puree

3 Tablespoons paste of ginger and garlic

3 Tablespoons soured yoghurt

4 Whole black cardamom

6 Whole green cardamom

2 Sticks cinnamon

6 Whole black peppercorns

6 Whole cloves

2 Bay leaves

1 Teaspoon turmeric

1 Teaspoon chilli powder

2 Teaspoons powdered garam masala

2 Tablespoons kasoori methi/dried fenugreek leaves (optional)

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste


  1. Peel, wash and chop the onions.
  2. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  3. Heat the oil in a wide based frying pan.
  4. Once it is hot, lower the heat and add the whole spices (whole black and green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns along with the bay leaves).
  5. Stir around a bit. At this stage, you can remove the spices with a slotted spoon if you don’t like them whole in your dish. Personally, I like their taste and enjoy chewing on them along with the meat so I leave them in.
  6. Next, add the diced onions. Add a pinch of salt, cover and let the onions cook for about 10 minutes.
  7. Once the onions are cooked, add the paste of ginger garlic. Leave uncovered, stir and let this cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Add the tomatoes, turmeric and chilli powder.
  9. Mix well, cover and let the mixture cook for about 5 to 7 minutes till the tomatoes are soft and squishy.
  10. Add the minced meat, breaking it down with the back of your spoon or spatula.
  11. Combine well and cook the meat, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  12. Add the yoghurt, garam masala, tomato puree and salt to taste. Also add 2 cups of water. Mix, cover and let the meat cook for about 45 minutes on low heat.
  13. Check in between to make sure it is not sticking to the base of the pan.
  14. After 45 minutes, remove the lid. At this stage, the water should have evaporated.
  15. Throw in the peas and kasoori methi (if using), cover and cook for 10 minutes till the peas are cooked through.
  16. Take the frying pan off the heat but don’t open the lid.
  17. Let the keema mater sit for 10 minutes before serving.


  1. You can add more chilli powder if you like your food spicy.
  2. Although kasoori methi is optional, if you have some do add it. It enhances the taste.

the end result is a dry meat dish

Goes very well with any type of bread including naan, roti, tortilla and crusty roll.


Rice Free Idli of Bajra (Pearl Millet) & Ragi (Finger Millet) Grains: Plain and Masala Varieties

Rice Free Idli of Bajra (Pearl Millet) and Ragi (Finger Millet) Grains









Let me start off this post with a disclaimer: I have nothing against rice. In fact, I like rice in all shapes and form although I rarely eat it. In my quest for a healthy and nutritious diet, I try to replace rice with other grains wherever possible.

today’s recipe is a tale of two idlis which met by chance in one cooking session

Having successfully made rice-free jowar (sorghum) idlis in the past, for this recipe, I thought of experimenting with two other types of millet grains: pearl (bajra) and finger (ragi).

a successful experiment which demonstrates that it is possible to make idlis without rice

Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Masala)
Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Masala)
Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Plain)
Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Plain)

Another fortuitous discovery I made while making these is masala idli.

While the first round of idlis were merrily steaming away, I suddenly remembered that I had some shelled peas and mixed sprouts lying around in the refrigerator. I thought of adding these along with some freshly grated turmeric and green chilli-ginger paste to the second round of idlis.

Both types taste equally good. They are soft like conventional idlis although not as fluffy (absence of rice I imagine).

The following makes 24 regular size idlis.

Ingredients for Plain Idli Batter

1 Cup bajra (pearl millet)

1 Cup ragi (finger millet)

1 Cup white urad dal (white gram/white lentil)

2 Tablespoons methi seeds (fenugreek)

Salt to taste

Ghee for greasing idli moulds

Ingredients for Masala Idli Batter (Optional)*

2 – 3 Tablespoons shelled peas

2 – 3 tablespoons mixed sprouts

1 Teaspoon turmeric

1 Teaspoon green chilli-ginger paste


  1. Wash the bajra, ragi, urad dal and methi seeds.
  2. Add water and soak for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Grind in a food processor. The end result should be a batter which is neither too thick nor too thin. Some of the ragi grains may remain whole, this is perfectly okay.
  4. Cover and place the batter in a warm, dark place to ferment. This can take anything from a few hours to 34 hours depending on the temperature (see note below).
  5. When you are ready to cook the idlis, add some salt to the batter and mix well. If you are making masala idli, you can add the optional ingredients at this stage.
  6. Grease idli moulds and pour the batter in them.
  7. Put in a steamer and let the idlis steam for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove from the steamer and leave for a few minutes.
  9. Run a knife under each idli to remove it from its mould.
  10. Serve with chutney of your choice.


  1. In warm weather, the batter can ferment in a matter of 4 to 6 hours. If the temperatures are low, the fermentation process takes much longer.
  2. For masala idli, you can add any vegetable of your choice. Grated carrots, grated cabbage and grated bottlegourd would work equally well.
  3. I had fresh turmeric root which I grated and used which is why the colour of my masala idlis is so bright! You can use turmeric powder instead.

Here are the two friends side by side – plain and masala.

Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Plain)  Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Masala)

Fat Free Red Cabbage, Carrot & Pea Soup

Fat Free Red Cabbage, Carrot and Pea Soup









Following the Christmas indulgence, last night I fancied a simple soup dinner.

say hello to another fat free recipe from my kooky imagination

Boiled Red Cabbage and Carrots for Fat Free Red Cabbage, Carrot and Pea SoupThe original plan was to make a soup based solely around red cabbage, a vegetable I want to eat more of. However, I was cooking for two and could only manage to get a small head of the cabbage so decided to add carrots and peas, which are currently in season.

I have read somewhere that in order to retain its original colour, you should add vinegar or lemon juice when cooking red cabbage. I didn’t do this and so it turned blue as you can see in the photo on the right.

Since I wanted to avoid oil or butter, I decided to follow the sweating-the-onions-in-salt method I had adopted in my Fat Free Four ‘C’s Soup. This time round, the only difference was that I let the onions cook for longer till they turned brown.

The onions and peas provide a nice contrasting texture in each spoonful of this creamy soup. Surprisingly, it is very filling.

The following provides two hearty servings.


1 Head small red cabbage

250 Grams Carrots

1 Cup shelled peas

3 – 4 Onions

Vegetable or chicken stock cube

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Salt to taste


  1. First, we need to prepare the onions. Peel, wash and finely slice them, add a teaspoon of salt, cover and set aside for 4-5 hours. By the end of this time, the salt and moisture from onions would have softened them a bit
  2. When you are ready to make the soup, wash and roughly cut the cabbage retaining the core.
  3. Wash and roughly chop the carrots.
  4. Put the cabbage and carrots in a pot along with two cups of water, stock cube and a pinch of salt.
  5. Bring to boil, cover, lower heat and let this simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Drain the vegetables retaining the liquor.
  7. Once the vegetables cool down, puree them in a blender or a food processor.
  8. Now, place the onions along with any moisture in a soup pot or equivalent.
  9. Cover and place this cookware on a very low heat and let the onions sweat in their own moisture.
  10. Let the onions cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. I used a non-stick soup pot so didn’t have to keep checking. Depending on the sort of base of your pot, you may have to keep stirring in between.
  11. Once the onions have browned a bit, wash and add the shelled peas and one cup of water.
  12. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  13. Open the lid and add the pureed vegetable and liquor. Check for thickness, add more water if necessary.
  14. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
  15. Stir, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  16. Serve hot.

This is what my onions looked liked once they were cooked without any oil or butter.

Browning the Onions Without Oil for Fat Free Red Cabbage, Carrot and Pea Soup

Velvety Cauliflower Soup

Velvety Cauliflower Soup









No cooking Christmas dinner for me this year as I am spending it with my friend Meher and her family.

As I am not going to be in the kitchen over the next couple of days, I wanted to use up a cauliflower head, some tomatoes, peas and sweetcorn kernels lying around.

Making a soup of them seemed like a good idea given my alternate-day-soup-diet and the imminent indulgences.

So ideally, this soup should be called whatever’s- in-my-refrigerator soup!

English: cauliflower
English: cauliflower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Using cauliflower as the base, I think this recipe would work just as well with addition of some chopped carrots, french beans or mushrooms or even cooked chicken, bacon or fish. In other words, anything that needs to be used up can be thrown into the pot.

another creamy soup sans any cream

Paired with some crusty bread, this is a complete meal.


1 Head of cauliflower

2 Onions

1 Head of garlic

2 Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons peas

2 Tablespoons sweetcorn kernel

1 Beef stock cube*

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste


  1. First, we need to prepare the cauliflower base. Roughly chop and wash the cauliflower. Include the stalk, leafy stems and the white woody bits at the base (if tender and fresh).
  2. Now, place the cauliflower in a pot along with 2 cups of water, stock cube and a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to boil, cover, lower the heat and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  4. When it is cooked, drain the cauliflower and reserve the liquid.
  5. Once cool, puree the cauliflower in a blender or food processor and add it to the reserved liquid.
  6. Wash and chop the onions.
  7. Peel and chop the garlic.
  8. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  9. Wash the peas and sweetcorn kernels.
  10. Heat oil in a soup pot (or equivalent).
  11. Add the chopped onions and garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for a couple of minutes.
  12. Next, add the tomatoes, peas and sweetcorn kernels, cover and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.
  13. Add the pureed cauliflower and reserved liquid, stir well, cover and cook for further 10 minutes.
  14. Serve hot.


  1. I used beef stock which gave this soup a really nice depth. Beef and cauliflower seem compatible. You can use chicken or vegetable stock cube instead, if you prefer.


Panchkutiyu Shaak/Five Vegetables Cooked in Coriander, Coconut & Green Garlic

Panchkutiyu Shaak/Five Vegetables Cooked in Coriander and Coconut








traditional Gujarati delicacy of five types of vegetables cooked in a mixture of fresh coriander, coconut and fresh green garlic

My dad is very fond of purple yam (also known as kand, rataloo, violet yam), a vegetable currently in season.

After a two month stay in Hong Kong, he was stopping over before resuming his onward journey. I thought that he may like some home-cooked dinner after such an extended stay away from home so I asked him what I should cook. His first response was my signature spaghetti. But when he came to know that I had some purple yam in my larder, he changed his response to “anything with purple yam”!

So, I decided to make this panchkutiyu shaak using the yam and other seasonal vegetables.

my signature spaghetti patiently awaits its turn

For this recipe, green garlic is a must. It simply won’t taste the same with ordinary garlic. The quantity given may seem a lot but green garlic has a very delicate taste and  is not as pungent as its dry counterpart.

The following serves 4 people. Don’t worry if there is left-over; it tastes just as good for the next couple of days as long as you keep it refrigerated.

This is a complete meal and doesn’t really need any accompaniment.


400 Grams Purple Yam

8 – 10 Baby aubergine

250 Grams field beans (papdi)

2 Green bananas (raw)

250 Grams fresh green tuvar dal, also known as lilva dana or shelled peas

2 Packed cups freshly grated coconut

3 Packed cups fresh coriander (including stalk, if tender)

250 Grams green garlic

2 Tablespoons Coriander powder

2 Tablespoons Cumin powder

1 Tablespoon minced green chillies and ginger

1/4 Cup oil

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

Salt to taste


  1. First prep the vegetables.
  2. Peel and chop into largish cubes the purple yam. Keep it in water.
  3. Peel, wash and chop the green bananas.
  4. Top, tail, de-string and snap into two the field beans.
  5. Cut each aubergine into four and leave in some water.
  6. Wash and chop the coriander leaves.
  7. Top and peel the garlic, chop and wash. Take the green parts along with the white.
  8. In a bowl, mix the grated coconut, fresh coriander, green garlic, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli-ginger paste and salt.
  9. Remove the yam and aubergine from water and place in a wide bottom pan. Throw in the field beans, fresh tuvar dal or peas and green banana.
  10. To the vegetables, add the coconut-coriander-spices. Combine well ensuring that all the vegetables are coated with this mix.
  11. Now, take a large pot and add oil.
  12. Once the oil heats up, add the asafoetida.
  13. Stir for a few seconds and add the vegetables along with any coconut-coriander masala clinging to the the pan.
  14. Add about half a cup of water. Stir, cover, lower the heat and let the vegetables cook for about an hour.
  15. Serve hot.

goes very well with rotis or phulkas with a smidgen of ghee on them

Vegetables that I used for Panchkutiyu Shaak

Vegetables used for Panchkutiyu Shaak









Fresh Coriander, Coconut and Green Garlic Base for Panchkutiyu Shaak

Fresh Coriander, Coconut and Green Garlic Base for Panchkutiyu Shaak









Cooked Panchkutiyu Shaak

Cooked Panchkutiyu Shaak









Amaranth Seed Fritters/Amaranth Seed Cutlets/Amaranth Seed Burger

Amaranth Seeds Fritters

Amaranth is a versatile genus whose leaves, seeds and plants are used for various purpose. Go here if you would like more information on its properties and health benefits.

I had a packet of Himalayan amaranth seeds lying around in my kitchen cupboard and didn’t know how to use them.

note to sellers: please provide instructions or recipe on the packaging!

Did a bit of research on the internet and settled upon this recipe. I had to slightly modify it but the end result was still delicious. The fritters are soft on the inside with a nice crunchy texture on the outside.


1 cup amaranth seeds

2 cups water

2 boiled potatoes

1 cup shelled peas

One small bunch fresh coriander

2-3 green chillies (or to taste)

5-6 cashew nuts

A handful of quick cooking oats

Salt to taste

1-2 teaspoon oil


  1. Firstly, you need to cook the amaranth seeds and peas. For this, boil water and add a stock cube if you have one handy (I used a vegetable one which gave it a nice aroma). Once the water has boiled, add the amaranth seeds and peas. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. The ratio of water to seeds should be 2:1. Here, I boiled two cups of water to which one cup of amaranth seeds were added.
  2. At the end of 20 minutes, the seeds should be cooked. In my case, the mixture was not completely dry. It had paste-like consistency so I added a handful of instant oats, switched off the gas and let it sit, covered, for half hour. I am glad I did this as the oats absorbed any excess moisture and given how healthy oats are, I think I will add them in the future as well.
  3. While the seeds are cooling, take out a chopper or a food processor and finely chop the cashew nuts, coriander and chillies (no water, you don’t want a paste). The original recipe calls for peanuts which I didn’t have so I substituted with cashews.
  4. Mash the potatoes.
  5. Once the seeds are cool enough to handle, add the coriander, cashews, chillies from the chopper along with mashed potatoes and salt to taste.
  6. Shape them into fritters. At this stage, I had refrigerated them for a few hours to harden them a bit.
  7. When you are ready to eat,  heat a spoonful of oil in a pan and cook the fritters for 10-15 minutes each side on low heat. They are very delicate so please do not touch them till you are sure the under side is browned. In my case, this was 15 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on your burner.

serve with ketchup, chutney or hot sauce and green salad

I am so glad that I finally got the courage to try out amaranth seeds. I have fallen in love with them and look forward to more experiments.