Monday, February 19, 2018

DRUMSTICK, BRINJAL & MOONG DAL CURRY

DRUMSTICK, BRINJAL & MOONG DAL CURRY

In Konkani and Maharashtrian cuisine, we often use Drumsticks which are a good source of calcium, iron and vitamins apart from having other health benefits. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for Potato & Drumstick Upkari,  Drumsticks Pithla, and Magge and Mashingasaang Koddel. 

Today's recipe is for a side dish made with drumsticks paired with brinjals (eggplants) and moong dal curry. I have adapted this from Drumstick, Brinjal & Moong Dal Curry video by the well-known Chef Sanjay Thumma in his cookery channel, Vah Chef.

As you know, there are different types of brinjals. I have used the purple ones as shown in the picture below. Adding of moong dal is optional but I would recommend using this as it adds to the nutritional value of the dish. I have used only 1 green chilli instead of 3 recommended in the original recipe.



Ingredients:






  • Drumsticks, 2
  • Brinjals, 3 or about 150 grams
  • Moong Dal, 1/4 cup 
  • Onion, 1
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/8 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste, 1/2 tsp
  • Tomato, medium-sized, 1
  • Green Chilli, 1
  • Coriander Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli Powder, 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1-2 tbsp
  • Coriander Leaves, 2 tbsp
Method:

Wash, scrape and cut the drumsticks into 1" pieces
Wash and slice the brinjals into bite size pieces. Immerse them in water to avoid discolouration.
Soak the moong dal in adequate water for  about  2 hours
Slice the onion
Wash and slice the tomato.
Slit the green chilli and chop the coriander leaves

Heat oil in a thick-bottomed kadhai and when it gets hot add sliced onion and a little salt and saute for 2 minutes till the onions turn translucent 
Then add turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, and the drumstick pieces. Mix well
To this add the sliced brinjals and salt to taste. Adjust the salt keeping in mind that a little has been added to the onions earlier.
Cover and cook on low flame for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time
After about 4 minutes, add the sliced tomato, slit green chilli, coriander powder, and chilli powder, 
Mix well and cook covered till the tomato gets cooked and becomes mushy
Now add the soaked moong dal, chopped coriander leaves, mix well and cook covered on medium heat till the moong dal is fully cooked
Switch off the gas and transfer to serving bowl
Serve with rotis etc


Thursday, February 15, 2018

VENDAKKAI PULI KUZHAMBU

VENDAKKAI PULI KUZHAMBU

Lady's Fingers, (more commonly called okra in the United States) is a popular vegetable all over India. This is known as Bhindi in Hindi. Elsewhere in this  blog, you will find lady's fingers recipes such as Bhindi Sambhariya from Gujarat, Bhenda Sagle made by us Konkanis from Karnataka, and Bhindi Masala done in the Punjabi style.

Today's recipe is from the South Indian state of Tamilnadu and is called Vendakkai Puli Kuzhambu after the main ingredients, Lady's Fingers ( "Vendakkai" in Tamil) and Tamarind (" Puli " in Tamil.) This recipe has been adapted from Vendakkai Puli Kulambu in the popular blog, Rak's Kitchen.

For best results, in making this dish please make sure the lady's fingers used are tender.
We use small onions which are popularly called "sambar onions."
Although the original recipe calls for the use of sesame oil, I have used regular cooking oil.



Ingredients:
  • Lady's Fingers, 200 gms
  • Tamarind, 1 tsp, tightly packed
  • MTR Sambar Powder, 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic, 3 cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
To Saute in Oil and Grind:
  • Small Onions, 12
  • Medium- Sized Tomatoes, 2
  • Coconut Gratings, 1/2 cup
To Temper:
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig
  • Oil, 1 tbsp
Method:

Wash the tender lady's fingers, pat them dry and snip off both the ends
Cut the lady's fingers into 1 " pieces and keep aside
Peel the small onions, roughly chop the tomatoes and slice the garlic pods. Keep aside.
Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup of hot water for 30 minutes
Add another 1/2 cup of water and extract the tamarind juice. Keep aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a thick-bottomed kadhai and when it gets hot add the lady's fingers and shallow fry them on medium flame, stirring from time to time till they lose their stickiness and get cooked. Keep aside.
In the same kadhai, add oil if required and fry the small onions till they become a light pink and are transparent
Next add the chopped tomatoes and fry them till they turn soft
Add the coconut gratings and fry for 1 minute
Transfer the sauteed onions, tomatoes and coconut mixture to a plate and allow it to cool
Once it is cool, grind the above to a fine paste in a mixer jar adding a little water if required
Keep aside
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the kadhai and when it gets hot add the mustard seeds, when they splutter add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves and saute for a few seconds
Now add the sliced garlic and saute till it gives off a good aroma
To this add the sauteed lady's fingers, the tamarind extract, salt to taste and another 1 and 1/2 cups of water
Add turmeric powder and sambar powder. Mix well and bring it to a boil
Let it then simmer for 8-10 minutes till the raw smell of the tamarind goes
To this add the ground onion-tomato coconut paste and again bring it to a boil (about 3 minutes) till the gravy thickens
Serve hot with rice





Sunday, February 11, 2018

MATAR CHI USAL

MATAR CHI USAL

At my home we are fond of Green Peas, called Matar in Hindi and in Marathi and I make dishes using them quite often. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for dishes using green peas such as Green Peas MasalaSpinach & Green Peas Rice,  and Paneer Peas Masala.

Today's recipe is from Maharashtrian cuisine and is called Matar chi Usal.  This is adapted from Green Peas Usal by Dasanna in her popular blog, Veg Recipes of India.  We had this with rotis and found it to be very tasty.

You can use fresh green peas during the season or frozen peas if they are not available. If you don't have Goda Masala which is normally used in Maharashtrian cuisine, you can substitute this with 1/2 tsp of Garam Masala.




Ingredients:

  • Fresh Green Peas, 2 cups
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida, 1/8 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Chilli Powder, 1/2 tsp (optional) 
  • Goda Masala, 1 tsp
  • Jaggery, grated, 1 tsp 
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lime,
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1 and 1/2 to 2 tbsp

To be Ground to a Paste : 
  • Coconut Gratings, 1/4 cup + a little for garnish
  • Green Chillies, 3 
  • Ginger, 1 " piece, roughly chopped
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves, a handful
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
Method:

In a mixer jar, grind together coconut gratings, green chillies, ginger, coriander leaves, and cumin seeds to a smooth paste adding 1/4 cup of water. Keep aside.
In a thick-bottomed kadhai, heat oil and when it is hot, on medium heat add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves and saute for a few seconds
Add the green peas and cook covered on medium heat adding about 1/4 cup of water stirring from time to time till the peas are almost done. You may add a little more water if required to cook the green peas.
Next add salt, chilli powder, goda masala and grated jaggery
Mix well and saute for a couple of minutes
Add the ground coconut-coriander paste and required amount of water and bring to a boil
Lower the flame and let it simmer for about 5 minutes till it gets a semi-solid consistency
Add the lime juice, mix well and garnish with coconut gratings and finely chopped coriander leaves
Serve hot with rotis, chapatis etc.




Wednesday, February 7, 2018

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: CENTRAL JAIL RESTAURANT

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: CENTRAL JAIL RESTAURANT

Some months ago, friends of ours had visited this restaurant in Jayanagar 4th Block  in South Bengaluru called Central Jail. They had posted a few pictures of it and we were somewhat intrigued by the decor and outfits worn by the staff. This restaurant, as the name suggests, has the theme of being designed like a jail!!The theme, at least for us, was most certainly unique. I am not adding pictures relating to the theme as you must experience it for yourself.


A few days back we happened to be in the area around lunch time and decided to give it a try. We had no reservations but since it was just after 1.00 p.m. we got space quite easily, not in the Main Jail where the dining places are like cells with bars etc but in our more preferred space outside which is more airy, bright, and well ventilated! This restaurant is open from 12 noon to 3.00 p.m. and from 6.30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

In no time the place filled up and by the time we finished our lunch, virtually all the tables were full and we saw a number of people waiting for their turn to get a table.  In retrospect, it may be a good idea to book a table in advance especially on a weekend.


Like most restaurants they offer a wide variety of cuisine ranging from the popular Andhra style to North Indian, Seafood and Chinese. The menu is quite impressive in its spread. There is a lot to choose from by way of beverages, starters, soups, main course, dessert etc in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, though I suspect this is better known for its non-vegetarian food. Since we were here for the first time, we didn't want to be too adventurous and decided to select the more common dishes which we thought would be good.

We started with Paneer Tikkas . I liked the presentation of the dish and they were as yummy ( to beat to death that old cliche) as they looked especially with the mint chutney. For a tikka to be perfect they need to be well- marinated. The ones we got were excellent.


For the next course, we opted for the Chef's Choice of Jail Special Chicken Biryani, described as being their signature dish. This was served with the customary salan and raita. We don't like bland biryanis so this was quite enjoyable as it had just the required amount of spice.



Since we are fond of prawns, we ordered the Prawn Chilli done in the Indian Chinese style which was outstanding. For this dish, as indeed for everything else the quantity was more than adequate.

We were quite full so we skipped the desserts though they had intriguing names such as " Inmate's Special ", "Hijack", "Shootout " etc. May be we should have this the next time. And, of course there will be a next time as we really liked the food.

The service was also very good as was the overall hygiene and we had no complaints whatsoever about our brief sojourn in the Central Jail!! 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

BHINDI MASALA ( PUNJABI STYLE)

BHINDI MASALA ( PUNJABI STYLE)

One of the more popular vegetables in India is lady's fingers/okra, called "Bhindi" in Hindi. You will find innumerable recipes which use bhindi as people from all parts of the country use this in varying ways. Today's recipe is Bhindi Masala done in the Punjabi style. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipe for the Bhindi Sambhariya, popular in Gujarat; Bhindi Shengdana from Maharashtra, and Spicy Bhindi Andhra Style.

Some people make garam masala powder at home. I have preferred to use the store bought Kitchen King Garam Masala which I find to be perfect.

In making this dish, for best results, please use bhindis that are tender and make sure you dry them thoroughly after they are washed.



Ingredients:-

  • Bhindi ( Lady's Fingers/Okra), 250 gms
  • Large Sized Onion, 1
  • Large sized Tomato, 1
  • Cumin Seeds (Jeera) , 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilli,1
  • Ginger Garlic Paste, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Chilli Powder, 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder, 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Amchur Powder ( Dry Mango Powder), 1/4 tsp
  • Kitchen King Garam Masala, 1/4 tsp
  • Kasuri Methi, (Dry Fenugreek Leaves), crushed, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp

Method:

Wash the bhindi and pat them thoroughly dry using a clean kitchen towel, snip off both the ends of the bhindis and cut them into 1 " pieces. Keep aside
Finely chop the onion, tomato and green chilli. Keep aside.
In a thick-bottomed kadhai, heat 1 tbsp of oil and when it becomes hot saute the bhindi pieces on medium/low heat for about 8-10 minutes without covering the kadhai.
Stir from time to time until the bhindis get cooked but make sure they do not get overcooked. Keep aside.
Add the remaining oil to the same kadhai and when it gets heated add the cumin seeds, when they sizzle add the finely chopped onion and finely chopped green chilli
Saute till the onion turns slightly golden brown
To this add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a couple of minutes till the raw smell goes
Next add the finely chopped tomato and a little salt. Cook till the tomato turns soft and mushy.
Add the spice powders: turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, and amchur powder and saute for a few minutes till the spices get well blended with the tomato-onion mixture
Now add the sauteed bhindi prepared earlier, the garama masala powder and the crushed kasuri methi and mix well 
Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat so that the bhindi gets well blended with masala
Transfer to a bowl and serve hot with rotis, naan etc or as a side dish with rice and dal.




Tuesday, January 30, 2018

BABY POTATOES CURRY

BABY POTATOES CURRY

We are fond of baby potatoes in my home. This is evident from the recipes you will find elsewhere in this blog which use baby potatoes such as Minty Baby Potatoes, Batata Losne Saung, and Potato Roast.

Baby potatoes are reputed to have a sweeter flavour than the regular potatoes. They are full of health benefits too as shown in this article in Boldsky.

I usually sprinkle a little salt on the baby potatoes when shallow frying them so that they absorb the salt and taste better.

Today's dish goes great both with rotis and rice. It has been adapted from Potato Curry With Baby Potatoes from FoodViva. I hope you will like it as much as we did.




Ingredients:

  • Baby Potatoes, 15
  • Tomatoes, 3 (Medium sized)
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 (Large sized)
  • Coriander Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon, 1 small piece
  • Bay Leaf, 1 large
  • Ginger, grated, 1/3 tsp
  • Green Chilli, finely chopped, 1
  • Chilli Powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Garam Masala, 1/3 tsp
  • Kasuri Methi, crushed, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 3 tbsp

Method:

Wash the baby potatoes and transfer to pressure cooker.
Add adequate water and salt and pressure cook the baby potatoes for 1-2 whistles 
Once the cooker cools, remove the baby potatoes, peel them and keep aside.
Prepare the tomato puree * (see note below) and keep aside 
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan and shallow fry the baby potatoes till they turn slightly golden in colour. Keep aside.
Add the remaining oil to the non-stick pan and when it becomes hot add cumin seeds and when they sizzle add cinnamon and bay leaf and saute for a few seconds
Next add the finely chopped onion, green chilli and grated ginger. Saute till the onion turn golden brown
To this add the tomato puree and mix well. Then add the coriander powder, sugar, turmeric powder and chilli powder.
Mix well and cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes stirring from time to time till the oil begins to separate
Now add the shallow fried potatoes, crushed kasuri methi, garam masala powder, and salt to taste
Mix well, add a little water if required and cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat so that the baby potatoes absorb the masala
Serve hot with rotis or rice

Notes: * To make the tomato puree:
Immerse the tomatoes in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes then transfer them to a bowl of cold water
Once they are cooled, peel them and chop them roughly 
Grind them to make a smooth puree in a blender  












Friday, January 26, 2018

APPLE KHEER

APPLE KHEER

Recently I got some excellent apples in the department store we usually shop in. You may recall the old saying, " an apple a day keeps the doctor away!" as apples have ever so many health benefits. I was surprised to know from this article in Organic Facts that there are 7500 varieties of apples!!

I made kheer out of the apples. In this recipe the apples are not peeled and we use them with the skin intact. The amount of sugar you use will depend on the sweetness of the apples and your taste.

This recipe is adapted from this YouTube video of Apple Kheer by Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Kazhana which is so nicely presented by Anupa in Marathi.





Ingredients:




  • Apples, 2
  • Full Fat Milk, 5 cups or 1 litre
  • Sugar, 1/2 cup or taste
  • Cardamom (Elaichi) Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Almonds, 6
  • Pistachios, 8

Method:

In a thick bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil then lower the flame and simmer till the milk becomes thick and is reduced in volume
Blanch and slice the almonds and pistachios and keep aside. For blanching, keep the almonds and pistachios in warm water and then remove the skin.
Wash and grate the apples roughly without peeling the skin
In a separate pan, cook the grated apples on medium flame
Add sugar and cook stirring continuously till the sugar melts and the moisture evaporates
(This prevents the milk from curdling in the next step when we add the cooked apples)
To this add some of the reduced milk and cook on medium flame
As the mixture thickens, add the remaining milk and cook till the kheer becomes more thick
Add cardamom powder and the blanched and sliced almonds and pistachios
Mix well, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10- 15 minutes
Once it is cooled, refrigerate the kheer and serve chilled.