Dal Tadka – The Famous Indian Lentil Curry

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Hello my dear wonderful readers,

How are you all doing today? My little boy is down with a fever again and now I am here taking care of him and spending all my time by his side. Over the weekend we took him to a fun play pen and the next day he came down with the cold. This is the second time this is happening after taking him to the same place and the only logical reason would be that he got it from some other kid at the play pen. How do I feel about the fact that parents bring their sick kids to a public area? Well personally I make sure my son is not around other kids when is unwell and if I know he is about to fall sick or is just recovering from one, I inform the family or friends I am about to meet. Well but that’s just me right? So now he is down with terrible cold, running nose, lots of sneezes and needs constant attention. All the while I find comfort in reassuring myself that this is the way his immune system does its job and grows stronger. So lets see.

The weekend was also a surprise cause after many many years, I made a new friend. A wonderful woman, who I can relate to in so many ways and its not often that you come across someone who you can just pour your heart out, the first time you meet them right? So all in all, the weekend was AWESOME!! It was also nice to leave the boys and have a little girl time after a looooooonnnggg time! Just to have a coffee and talk girl to girl and also hear out loud many things I have said to myself but never put to practice, was such a relief!! LOL..

Since the little one is unwell, I wasn’t able to get much cooking done. So, this recipe is my life saver. If you are Indian, then you know that there is noting simpler, comforting and wholesome like a big bowl of Dal and Rice / Chappati. This recipe can be used for a wide array of lentils. The simplest and most common combination is the one I have used in my recipe (below). The use of a pressure cooker just makes it faster and easier. But if you do not have a pressure cooker, you just need a pot with a lid and cover and cook till the lentils are mushy and soft to touch. Traditionally, Ghee / Clarified Butter is used instead of oil, but you could use any oil that you are comfortable using.

Ingredients :-

  1. Toor Dal / Pigeon Pea – 2 cup
  2. Masoor Dal / Red Lentils – 1 cup
  3. Oil / Ghee – 1 tbsp + 3 tsp
  4. Cinnamon Stick – 1  one inch stick
  5. Cloves – 4
  6. Green Cardamom – 4  ( bruise with the back of a spoon)
  7. Cumin Seeds – 2 tsp
  8. Asafoetida – 2 pinches
  9. Garlic Cloves – 5 Large
  10. Dry Red Chillies – 4
  11. Onions –     (finely chopped)
  12. Tomatoes –   (finely chopped)
  13. Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  14. Turmeric Powder – 1 + 1/2 tsp
  15. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  16. Salt – as required
  17. Water – 4 cups
  18. Coriander Leaves – 3 tbsp

Instructions :-

  1.  In a large bowl, combine both the lentils and wash thoroughly in running water. Then soak in water for 15 mins
  2. Now in a pressure cooker or large bowl, add 1 tbsp of oil. One the oil is hot, add the jeera / cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  3. As soon as the cumin seeds begin to crackle, add the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, red chillies (3) and asafoetida
  4. Once the chillies plump up, add the onions. Fry till the onions are pink and almost translucent
  5. Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears
  6. Next add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and chili  powder
  7. Now cook till the tomatoes are cooked through (do not wait for it to fry )
  8. Once the onion tomato paste is ready, add the soaked lentils. ( Discard the water it was soaked in)
  9. Add the water and 1 tbsp of salt
  10. Cover and cook for 3 whistles or till the lentils have cooked through
  11. Once the lentils have cooked through, in a small pan, add rest of the oil. Once the oil is hot add the rest of the cumin seeds, red chili and garlic cloves. Fry till the garlic is golden brown
  12. Pour over the cooked lentils and garnish with the chopped coriander leaves
  13. Serve right away along with hot rice or chappatis

 

 

 

Green Masala Prawn Biriyani – ( Spicy Green Masala Base )

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Hello My dear wonderful readers!

How are you all doing today? I am back with a simple prawn biriyani that is very different in flavour compared to my other biriyani recipes. I do have two other biriyani recipes such as the

Prawn Biriyani and Thalassery Biriyani

Compared to those two this recipe is super easy. Unlike many other kinds of biriyani, this recipe does not use the layering technique. Its mostly a one pot dish and since prawn cooks faster compared to other kinds of meat, this one is a keeper.

The green colour this dish has is from the rich green paste that is made from grinding coriander and mint leaves. The dish can be as spicy as you like. All you have to do is adjust the heat by adding as many green chilies as you may want.

For health reasons, I have used coconut oil in my recipe but you could use ghee / clarified butter for a richer more fragrant dish. Along with a cooling raita and some cut cucumbers, this biriyani is your perfect weekend lunch. If there are left overs, maybe dinner too 🙂 . I usually make a big batch cause then two or some times three meals are sorted!! and no my boys love biriyani and they do not get tired of it. LOL .

Speaking of the boys, the little one is doing much better and every day he picks up a new word and yesterdays word was “Actually”. So he goes “Amma Actually car stuckada ” – Its only after he says these words do I go back and recollect why and when I used those words. It is so funny. Some times the words are in the wrong places and those instances are so so funny. In fact there was this advertisement in the newspaper that had a family, father, mother, sister and brother, sitting together and smiling. So I asked him what he was doing and he replied, “That’s a famileeee ” . I was quiet impressed. So I asked him where is his family and he turned and pointed at the door 😦 That’s when I realized his family i.e., his grandpa and grandma and cousins who were here for the holidays. Well he continued reading the newspaper and he did not say a word about it again.

So now lets get back to the food!!

Ingredients :-

  1. Rice – 3 cup ( i used basmati rice )
  2. Bay Leaf – 2
  3. Cloves – 4
  4. Cinnamon – 2 inch stick
  5. Cardamom – 5 ( bruised with the back of a spoon)
  6. Pepper Corns – 1 tbsp
  7. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Mint Leaves – 1 cups (packed tightly)
  9. Green Chillies – 6 large (adjust to taste)
  10. Coriander Leaves – 2 cups (packed tighlty)
  11. Ginger – 1 large knob (size of a lime)
  12. Garlic – 10 medium size cloves
  13. Coconut oil / Ghee – 2 tbsp
  14. Prawns – 500 gms ( deveined and cleaned)
  15.  Salt to taste
  16. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  17. Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
  18. Garam Masala Powder – 2 heap tsp
  19. Water – 5 cups
  20. Onions – 2 cups (sliced)
  21. Tomato – 1 cup

Instructions :-

  1. Wash and soak rice in water for 15 mins
  2. During that time in the bowl of your blender add mint leaves + coriander leaves + green chillies + ginger + garlic + cumin seeds and a little water. Blend to form a nice green paste. Make sure that the ginger grinds well and forms a nice thick paste
  3. Now in a large heavy bottom pot, heat the oil. Keep the flame on a medium
  4. When the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and cardamom.
  5. Once they begin to release a nice aroma, add the onions and saute till light golden brown
  6. Then add the tomatoes. Next add the spice powders, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and give it a good mix
  7. Let the mixture cook for 3 mins
  8. Then add the green mixture to the pot and cook till you see oil separating from the sides of the masala
  9. Now its time to add the prawns. Turn the heat up and cook for 1 min
  10. Then add the rice and water. Mix the rice well with the green masala and add salt ( 2 tsp)
  11. Cover and cook till the rice is cooked well
  12. You can serve this just as is

For garnish – OPTIONAL

  1. Heat one 1 tbsp ghee/ coconut oil and deep fry some cashew nut and thinly slices onions
  2. You could sprinkle them on the top just before serving

Thai Style – Galangal and Lemongrass Chicken Soup

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Hello my wonderful readers!!

Its December already!! Can you believe how fast this year has gone by!! I mean the amount of things that have happened and the pace at which things have changed is just incredible! Do not get me wrong. Every moment in it be it sadness or happiness has been an adventure and I do not intend on changing it one bit. But I fear that time moves too quickly when you have a little 2 year and you are hitting 30.

Before getting into the recipe, there was a little thought I wanted to share with you. Last month I turned 30. And oh boy that was a sucky day. I hate birthdays. I do not see the point in celebrating the fact that your skin is getting wrinkled, you hair is losing its lushness, you bones are getting brittle and your patience is running at a low. But that is when my husband sat me down and asked me – what where the highlights of the year and some how I had more reasons to be happy than sad. That is when I realized that your birthday is just a celebration of the number of memories that you have made for so many years and the opportunity to make new ones as time progresses. The number does not really matter for what really matter is how many times you closed your eyes to sleep wearing a smile on your face, or how many times you laughed like no one was watching. How far did you push your self to do the right thing and actually make a difference in someones life. More importantly a birthday is day you treat your self for the champion that you are for all the fears you overcame and all little things you did for your self to make you stronger today. Ok now I am done about that!!!

This recipe is as easy as it gets and oh my god it is so full of flavour. If you are looking for a mild, creamy, aromatic soup then this is it! It reminds you of summer days spent on beaches after a massage at a spa. Soft and delicate, this soup is the perfect winter soup for when the heart yearns for summer time.

Ingredients :-

  1. Chicken – 1 kg ( breast pieces cut into bite size chunks)
  2. Coconut Milk – 2 cans
  3. Pepper Corns – 1 tbsp
  4. Lemon Grass – 10 cms stick
  5. Lime Leaves – 5
  6. Shallots – 8
  7. Cherry Tomatoes – 8
  8. Galangal – 2 tbsp ( chopped fine)
  9. Fish Sauce – 4 tbsp
  10. Coconut sugar – 3 tbsp
  11. Chicken stock – 1 cup
  12. Button Mushroom – 250 gms
  13. Lime Juice – juice from 3 limes
  14. Green Chillies – 5 ( chopped fine)
  15. Salt to taste

Instructions :-

  1. In a large pot, add the coconut milk, pepper corns, shallots and galangal
  2. Bruise the lemon grass with the back of a knife and add to the pot and bring to a boil. Then add the chicken stock
  3. Add the fish sauce, chicken and coconut sugar. Stir occasionally
  4. Once the chicken has cooked add the mushrooms, green chilies, lime juice and lime leaves
  5. Add salt to taste
  6. Bring back to a boil and add the cherry tomatoes. Cook only for another 1 min
  7. Serve right away with fresh lime leaves

Parsley, roasted garlic and Lime Garlic Knots

 

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? As the weather changes and the cold sets in, I find myself pulling out my blankets, fuzzy socks and jackets out. So in anticipation of soup season, I also have a feeling we will have a lot of bread making in the house too. Did i mention I ruined my oven? Yes, so while I was getting the house ready for Diwali, last month, I cleaned the oven and when I turned it back on, the whole house lost power!!! Yeah I managed to destroy my favorite kitchen apparatus and I havent gotten around to getting the company guys to come take a look at it either (talk about being lazy) :-).

So this time I made my bread in the “convection” mode of my microwave oven and to my pleaseant surprise in really does work! how awesome is that. Now did I mention that this recipe also incorporates, whole wheat? Yes, sir it does!! So I added equal amounts of bread flour and whole wheat flour to make these babies so that they are not all that unhealthy and make a perfectly wholesome meal when paired with a big bowl of healthy soup.

Do you guys love the small bread baskets that they serve in Italian restaurants? With the flavoured butter? I am a sucker for them. While my husband refuses to have it cause he says its a distraction from the main food. I say I love it all.. hahaha..

Ingredients :-

 

  1. Bread Flour / Maida – 1 + 1/4 cup
  2. Whole Wheat Flour / Atta – 1 + 1/4 cup
  3. Sugar – 1 tbsp
  4. Salt – 1 tsp
  5. Oil – 2 tbsp
  6. Yeast – 1 tbsp
  7. Water – 1 cup (warm)
  8. Garlic – 9 cloves
  9. Lime – 1
  10. Parsley – 1/4 cup (chopped fine)
  11. Butter – 50 gms (at room temperature)

 

 

 

Instructions :-

    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add sugar, water and yeast. Set aside to rest for 10 mins. In 10 minutes it should have become nice and frothy
    2. Into the same bowl, add the flour, salt and oil
    3. With the hook attachment on, turn on the mixer to a medium speed for 7 – 10 mins
    4. It will form a nice sticky dough
    5. Grease a big glass bowl and tip the dough mixture into the bowl
    6. Let it rest for 2 hours or till the dough has doubled in size
    7. Meanwhile, drizzle a little oil over the garlic cloves and put them into an oven at 200 C for 15 min or till they are golden and almost black on the outside. Once they have cooled down, with the back of your spoon, press them to form a nice paste
    8. Now take a bowl and add the melted butter, zest the lime, chopped parsley and garlic paste. Season with salt and mix well and set aside
    9. Peheat your oven to 200 C and line a baking tray with baking paper
    10. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip the dough onto a floured surface.
    11. Slowly knead the dough for 2 mins
    12. Then make a large ball and cut it into 2. Then cut them into 5 each. You should have around 10
    13. Slowly roll out the dough into long rolls
    14. Then just like you tie a shoe lace, tie the knot with the rolled out dough
    15. Once you have made the knot, place on the prepared baking tray. Do the same with the remaining dough
    16. Dip a pastry brush in some olive oil and brush the tops of the knots lightly
    17. Place the tray in the pre heat oven and bake for 15 – 20 mins or till lightly golden on the top
    18. During this time, melt the butter mixture in a microwave
    19. As soon as the knots are ready take them out of the oven and dip them into the melted butter
    20. Use a mitten while you dip the knots as they will really hot!!
    21. After dipping them, place them back on the tray
    22. Just before you serve them, brush again with the flavored butter!!

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Khao Soi with sweet sticky Pork and Egg noodles – (soup)

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Hello my dear wonderful readers!!

How are you all doing today? I cannot believe its already November and the year is coming to an end. The air is a little chilly and I pulled out my baby’s jackets and I realized I have to buy him new ones 🙂 . How time flies.

Anyways, so this time I am back with a lovely creamy, bold soup. Now traditionally it is made without the pumpkin and usually it goes with chicken. But this time I decided to make the soup creamy and thick and give it a new dimension.  Hence the pumpkin.Trust me this soup is a meal in itself. You can make it completely vegan my omitting the pork but I wanted that little extra protein and so the addition of pork.

We absolutely love noodles at home. May it be rice, buckwheat, whole wheat, egg any sort, is always welcome. So the recipe calls of egg noddles but if you cannot get a hold of them then go ahead and use any noodle that you like. Just make sure that you add them just before you serve them in a bowl, or else they tend to absorb all the moisture from the soup and then just turn mushy. No one wants a mushy bowl of noodle soup right? This is not your typical noodle in a broth.

 

Preparing the Pork :-
Ingredients

  1. Pork – 400 gms ( lean fillet)
  2. Oil – 1 tsp
  3. Garlic – 1 tbsp ( choppped)
  4. Oyster Sauce – 1 tbsp
  5. Soya Sauce – 1 tsp 
  6. Brown Sugar / Palm Sugar – 3 tsp 
  7. Salt – to taste ( 1.2 tsp)
  8.  Pepper – 1.2 tsp 

Instructions :-

  1.  In a non stick pan, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook till soft
  2. Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook on high for 2 min
  3. Then cover and cook for 5 min on medium heat
  4. Finally open the lid and cook till all the moisture is out 
  5. Remove the cooked pork from the pan and toss out any excess fat on the pan

To Prepare the Pumpkin

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Pumpkin – 4 cups (skin peeled, innards removed and chopped)
  2. Potato – 1 cup ( chopped)
  3. Ginger – 1 tbsp ( choppped)
  4. Salt – 1 tsp
  5. Water – 4 cups

Instructions :-

 

  1. In a large pot, combine all the ingredients and place on medium heat
  2. Cook till the pumpkin and potatoes are soft
  3. Once they are soft, spoon them out, into a blender
  4. Make a fine paste and set aside


To make the Khao Soi Paste :-

  1.  Dried Red chilies – 25
  2. Water – 1/2 cup
  3.  Garlic – 20
  4. Ginger – 2 tbp ( chopped fine)
  5. Cilantro leaves and steam – 1 cup ( packed)
  6. Shallots – 13 
  7. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  8.  Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  9. Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp 

Instructions :-

  1.  Heat water till boiling point
  2.  Place all the dried chillies into the boiling hot water and let them soak for 30 mins
  3. Later in the bowl of a blender add all the ingredients along with the soaked red chillies and the water and blend to make a fine thick paste
  4. Set aside ( you can use as much as you want for this recipe and freeze the rest for later use)

Making and Assembling the soup 

Ingredients for the soup :-

  1.  Egg noodles – 250 gms 
  2. Oil – 2 tbsp
  3. Yellow Bell Pepper – 1/2 cup ( finely sliced)
  4. Red Bell Pepper – 1/2 cup ( finely sliced)
  5. Chicken Broth – 2 cups
  6. Basil Leaves – hand full 
  7. Lime Juice – 3 tbs
  8. Coconut Milk – 1 can 
  9. Coriander and lime for the final garnish 


 Instructions :-

  1.  In a large pot, heat oil 
  2.  Then add Khao Soi Paste and cook till the oil separates from the mixture
  3. Then add the pumpkin and potato mixture
  4.  Cook and combine for 2 mins .Then Bell Pepper and chicken broth
  5. As the mixture begin to simmer add the coconut milk. Again mix well 
  6. Mix well and bring to a boil again ( on medium heat)
  7. Once the mixture boils, add the basil leaves, lime juice and salt according to taste
  8. Cover and cook for another 5 mins and you are ready!
  9. While serving, first add the soup into a bowl, then add the noodles, the pork and finally garnish with some fresh corinader , lime and basil leaves! Yummm!!   

Murgh Kofta – Rich chicken meat balls in a creamy tangy gravy

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Hello my Dear wonderful readers!!

Its the weekend and this time I have made some thing rich and indulgent for you. This dish is inspired from the famous Malai Kofta, which is a croquette made with paneer / cottage cheese and potatoes. It all started with the fact that I had a little white basmati rice left and I wasn’t sure what kind of gravy to prepare along with it. Now it might come as a surprise to you, but we usually serve red rice at home. I mean the fat grainy kind. So white basmati is like having refined sugar in our coffee ( we usually add palm sugar).

After last week festivities I also had some khoya left in the fridge. So I decided to go all out and make a rich, creamy indulgent curry to pair well with rice and a salad. The recipe is divided into two steps. First making the Kofta and then the curry. Just to give it an “imperial” feel, I wrapped the koftas in silver warq. That is totally optional.

Ingredients for the Kofta :-

  1. Chicken mince – 500 gms
  2. Onions – 1 cup ( chopped fine)
  3. Khoya – 200 gms
  4. Green Chillies – 3 medium (sliced)
  5. Ginger garlic Paste – 1 + 1/2 tbsp
  6. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  7. Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
  8. Besan / Gram Flour – 2 tbsp ( only if required)
  9. Oil – to deep fry + 2 tbsp
  10. Silver warq (optional)

 

Instructions :-

  1. In a heavy bottom pan, add the oil
  2. When the oil is hot, add the onions and ginger garlic paste. Fry till golden brown
  3. Then add the green chilies, chilli powder, garam masala powder and fry 1 min
  4. Add the chicken mince to the onion mixture and cook till all the water has dried out completely. Make sure you have all the water evaporated. Add salt according to taste
  5. Set aside to cook down
  6. In another bowl, slowly kneed the khoya till its nice and smooth
  7. Add to cooled chicken mixture into a blender jar and add the khoya
  8. Blend together for a nice thick paste
  9. Now grease your hand and make small lime size balls with the mixture. Add gram flour if you find that the mixture is not holding shape. But do not add too much as it will not taste that great
  10. Finally heat oil in a deep pan on medium. When the oil is hot, add the prepared chicken balls and fry till golden brown or slightly dark brown (that’s how we like it)
  11. Reserve on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Cover the balls with silver leaf at this stage ( optional)

 

Ingredients for the curry :-

  1. Onions – 2 cups
  2. Tomato – 1 cup
  3. Cardamom – 5
  4. Cinnamon – 1
  5. Bay Leaf – 1
  6. Oil – 2 tbsp
  7. Fresh Cream – 1/2 cup
  8. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  9. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp

Instructions :-

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. When the oil is hot, add the cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf
  2. Once the spices release their aroma, add the onions and fry till translucent
  3. Then add the tomato, turmeric and chilli powder. Season with salt according to taste
  4. Fry till the tomatoes are cooked well
  5. In a blender, puree the above mixture
  6. Now again reheat the same pan with the blended mixture. Add fresh cream and mix well to combine.
  7. When it begins to boil, add the chicken kofta and give it a mix without breaking the kofta
  8. Your Chicken Koftas are ready.
  9. This dish pairs well will simple hot rice , pappads and a salad or even chappati / naans

 

Chettinad Milagu / Pepper Chicken

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Hello My Dear Wonderful Readers ,

So the festivities are just around the corner and I have tons of festive food recipes to share with you. But before that I would like to share this recipe. If you are the kind of person who loves rotti and chicken or plain rice and chicken, then this is the dish for you. Pepper chicken has been adapted to suit every taste bud around India. Infact every region has its own version of a pepper chicken. This recipe is from the chettinad region of India. Now the chettiyars are a class of people that loved money and had a fine eye for architecture. But personally I think their greatest contribution is their cuisine!  Every single dish has a distinct taste and unique flavour that keeps you coming back to it ever so often. This is one such dish. Traditionally, you would require a “arakal” to make this spice mixture but a mortar and pestle or even a blender would do the job. Another important aspect of this style of cooking is the fact that whole spices are used in the recipe and not the powder, this helps to enhance the pungency of the spices. Ok I have said enough about the dish. Here is the recipe. Do try it out and I promise that you will not be dissapointed!

 

 Ingredients :-
1. Pepper Corns – 2 tbsp
2.Cumin Seeds -2 tsp
3. Fennel Seeds – 2 tsp
4. Dry Red Chillies – 6
5. Ginger – 1
6. Garlic – 1+ 1/2
7. Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
8. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp

Instructions :
 1. In a khadai, dry roast the above ingredients (except the turmeric powder, ginger and garlic). Take care not to burn the spices
2.Then in a mortar add the spice and the other ingredients and grind to a fine paste. Use 1 tbsp of water if required

Set Aside

 Ingredients :-
1. Chicken – 1 kg
2. Vegetable Oil – 1/2 cup
3. Cardamom – 5
4. Onions – 1 + 1/2 cup finelly chopped
5. Tomato Puree – 1 cup
6. Salt – to taste
7. Water – 2/3 cup

Instructions :-
1. In the same Kadai, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add cinnamon, cardamom and onions. Mix well and let the onions fry till golden brown
2. Then add the tomato puree. Mix well to combine. Then add the ground up spices (above) and mix well. Cook on medium flame till the oil seperates from the mixture
3.  Then add the chicken into the masala mixture. Let it come to a boil. Then lower the heat, add 2/3 cup of water and cover and cook for 20 mins on low
4. After 20 mins, open the cover and crank up the heat and cook till all the water has evporated and the masala coats the chicken.
5. Your Chettinad pepper chicken is ready! Serve with hot rice or flaky malabar parathas!

Adapted from The Bangala Table