Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dal Palak

Highly nutritious and multi-flavoured dal - very quick to make, especially if you you have a pressure cooker. The jeera, red chili and lemon come together to create a mind-blowing and sensational flavour, leaving you yearning for more.

Soak green gram dal [moong dal] in water for about an hour.
Clean and chop spinach leaves into fairly tiny pieces.
Pressure cook palak and dal along with salt and turmeric powder.
When done, add a tsp of garam masala powder and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
In a pan, melt butter. Allow a teaspoon for cumin seeds to splutter.
Add 4 whole red chillies, a pinch of asafoetida, and a teaspoon of red chili powder.
Pour this over the hot dal.

Go ahead and indulge yourself - enjoy this tasty dal with rice or roti!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gobi Paratha

I have always loved north Indian food and never said no when Amrita, my best friend, has invited me over for lunch. It's plain luck that my mom could make good north Indian food and now, serendipity at having married a guy who loves north Indian food!! We are both paratha freaks and I make it a point to make parathas once a week.

I usually make aloo/ potato, gobi/ cauliflower or carrot parathas and occasionally paneer paratha as well. This afternoon I made gobi paratha and decided it has to go on my blog.

For the dough:
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1 cup
Oil - 1 tsp

Knead the above into a firm but moist dough. Cover and allow to stand until you are ready to roll out the parathas.

For the stuffing, you will need:
Shredded or grated cauliflower : 2 cups
Minced green chilies - 1 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Carom/ Ajwain seeds - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp

Mix these in a bowl, cover and let stand for about 15 to 20 minutes. The salt and a natural phenomenon called ex osmosis causes the cauliflower to release water. So here comes the irritating but crucial part to making yummy gobi parathas. The best way to do this is to use your hands. Take a bit of the filling at a time and press in between your palms. This will drain the water and you can put the dry filling into another bowl. Here's how it should look at the end of this process:

Now divide the dough into 5 or 6 lemon sized balls. Flatten one a bit and dust both sides with flour. Roll out into a thick circle of 3 inch dia. Put 2 tbsp of the filling at the center. Gather the edges together at the center and top like a dumpling and slightly flatten it.

Again dust the filled dough with flour on both sides. Keep the folded part facing upwards and roll out into a paratha, taking care to apply slow and ever pressure. Using half a teaspoon of oil per paratha, shallow fry on a hot skillet. Serve hot with pickle and thick curd.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rajma Masala

I had a packet of rajma or kidney beans lying around for a really long time and finally got down to making some today. Very simple to prepare, extremely nutritious and tastes great with rice.

You will need:
Rajma - 1 cup, soaked in water for at least 6 hrs
Onions - 2, small
Tomatoes - 2, big
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Garlic - 2 pods
Oil - 2tbsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Finely chopped coriander - 1 tbsp

Here's how you make it:
1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic. Saute until the onions turn pink.
2. Puree tomatoes and add into the cooker.
3. Add chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Allow to boil till the oil leaves the sides of the cooker.
4. Add the rajma along with the water. Add garam masala powder and salt to taste.
5. Place the lid and allow to cook till steam comes out.
6. Place the vent and lower heat. Allow 3 to 4 whistles.
7. After the pressure subsides, mash a few beans so the gravy thickens.
8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with steaming rice.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sweet Rice/Vellam sadham

Vellam is Tamil for jaggery. This dish is very similar to sakkarai pongal, only you don't add milk while cooking the rice. It is very simple to make and extremely yummy. Let me tell you, this tastes amazing with a bite or two of hot, spicy vada.

Rice - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 1/4 cup
Water - 4 cups
Ghee - 2 1/2 tbsp
Elaichi powder - a pinch
Cashew nuts

- Pressure cook the rice in three cups of water.
- When done, add the remaining water and jaggery pieces. Allow to boil until the rice and jaggery have blended well.
- When the water is almost gone, add 1 1/2 tablespoon of ghee and elaichi powder. Stir well.
- In the remaining ghee, roast the cashew nuts and raisins. Pour this over the rice and serve hot.

Capsicum Rice

It feels like a lazy sort of a weekend. KK is on his way back from Pondichery and here I am blogging and waiting for him to be back so we can have lunch together. What with both of us working and returning home at different times,we make it a point to eat together on weekends - unless he's off playing cricket.

The capsicum rice and sweet rice [Vellam sadham] that I prepared sit on the table, tempting me to begin without him. I might as well post the recipes here and fight the temptation.

Rice - 1 cup
Diced capsicum - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp

Season with:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Black gram - 1/2 tsp
Bengal gram - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts - 4 or 5
Peanuts or crushed almonds - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves

Masala powder:
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Black gram - 1/2 tsp
Bengal gram - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 2
Fry these in a tsp of oil until golden brown and grind into a fine powder.

1. Cook the rice until 3/4th done.
2. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, pop the mustard seeds. Add the other ingredients required for seasoning and fry till light brown.
3. Add the diced capsicum and fry till tender. Lower the flame and add coconut. Fry till it turns brown.
4. Add the cooked rice, a pinch of turmeric powder and salt.
5. Add the ground powder and lemon juice. Mix well and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is very simple and quick to make. Also, it is great on the taste buds. I remember asking my mom to make this all the time when I was in college.

Rice - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chili - 3
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Broken urud dal - 1/4 tsp
Cashew nuts - 4 or 5
Oil - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Coriander - few sprigs
Salt to taste

1. Cook the rice in 2 cups of water, ensuring the grains do not stick to each other. Allow to come to room temperature.
2. Heat oil in a pan and pop mustard seeds. Add broken red chillies, urud dal and broken cashew nuts. Fry till the cashew has attained a golden hue.
3. Add the coconut and fry till it is slightly browned.
4. Add the cooked rice, salt, sugar and asafoetida. Mix well and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.