Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cilantro Chutney

         Cilantro chutney is a simple refreshing dip that can be used with a variety of grilled and fried dishes. It is also widely used as a spread for making sandwiches. A slice of bread with a little butter and cilantro chutney makes a great snack.

  • 2 cups chopped Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 4-5 Green Chilies
  • 1 tsp finely chopped Ginger
  • 8-10 Mint Leaves
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt as per taste
  • Add chillies, ginger, salt, sugar, lemon juice to the blender
  • Then add cilantro and mint leaves
  • Add little water if necessary. I generally prefer not to add water
  • The consistency of the chutney should be like a spread and should be finely blended
  • Ginger and Mint leaves are optional
  • Green Chilies should be added as per the spiciness desired
  • You can adjust the spice quantities according to your taste. We prefer our chutney to be spicy, but you can make it tangier or sweeter.
  • I usually make it in a large quantity and freeze it in ice cube trays, or a container. Whenever needed, I defrost the chutney and use
  • One important point here, if we freeze it right after making it, it will retain its bright green color and freshness.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dal Fry


                    Dal or Lentil curry is a common everyday household food in India. It tastes best with Jeera (Cumin) Rice. After a tired long day, this is the food that gives you warmth, and relaxes you.

  • 2 Cups Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Pea)
  • 1 finely chopped Onion
  • 2 finely chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 chopped Serrano Peppers (Green Chilies)
  • 1 tbsp Red Chilli-Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 4-5 Curry Leaves (Sweet Neem Leaves)
  • 2 tbsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala (Optional)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • A pinch of Asafoetida
  • Finely Chopped Cilantro for Garnish
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Wash the Toor dal properly, and boil it. I prefer to use pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles or till the dal is cooked properly.
  • Heat some oil in the pan.
  • Once the oil is heated, add asafoetida and cumin seeds
  • As soon as the cumin seeds start to crackle, add the curry leaves, chili-garlic paste and the serrano peppers
  • Saute them for a minute and then add onions
  • Add little salt and saute the onions till they turn pinkish
  • Now add the tomatoes
  • Then add salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala and mix it well 
  • Let it cook for a minute and then add the boiled Dal to it and mix it
  • Add lemon juice and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with either plain Rice or Jeera (Cumin) Rice

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Methi Thepla

              Thepla is a type of whole wheat Indian bread that is very popular in Gujarat, the western state of India. Thepla is an inherent part of Gujarati meals, and the preferred snack while travelling or for picnics. There are many variations to it, for example, add Methi (Fenugreek Leaves) to make Methi Thepla or add Dudhi (Bottle Gourd) to make Dudhi Thepla.

Here is my favorite variation, made with Methi and Garlic.

  • 3 cups Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup finely Chopped Fenugreek Leaves
  • 2 tbsp Chilli-Garlic Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt according to taste
  • Water
  • Sieve the wheat flour.
  • Add the fenugreek leaves, chilli garlic paste, turmeric powder and cumin seeds to the flour
  • Add salt and 1 tsp oil and mix well. 
  • Add enough water and make the semi-soft dough.
  • Knead the dough and divide into smaller portions.
  • Roll out each portion of the dough into a small round with the help of flour.
  • Put the thepla on hot tava (or skillet), cook for a minute or two and turn once.
  • After 1 minute, spread little oil on the thepla, turn again and repeat on the other side.

  • When brown patches appear on both sides, the thepla is ready.
  • Serve hot with any curry or can simply enjoy with yogurt or pickle.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hakka Noodles

             Chinese cuisine is very famous in India, and is probably the most ubiquitous international cuisine in India. But the Chinese food available in most restaurants in India is almost indistinguishable from authentic Chinese cuisine. Chinese cuisine in India was made famous by the Chinatown in Kolkata who adapted their Chinese recipes to cater to local tastes, which then became more Indian and more un-Chinese as they spread across India.

Hakka Noodles is a famous Chinese dish often served in restaurants in India. Here is my take on this dish. Hope you like it.

  • 1 packet Hakka Noodles
  • 1 cup finely shredded Cabbage
  • 1 cup finely sliced Onions
  • 1 cup finely sliced Bell Peppers
  • 2-4 finely chopped Green Chillies ( Can be adjusted as per the desired spiciness)
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Soya Sauce
  • Salt as per taste
  • Black Pepper as per taste
  • Oil
  • Boil the noodles in about 4 cups of water with about 1 tsp oil. The oil prevents the noodles from sticking together.
  • Drain the water from the noodles, and pour some cold water on it. Again, I usually do this to prevent them from sticking.
  • Now, take a wok or a pan and heat some oil on a high flame.

  • Add the green chillies and onions and saute them for 2 minutes
  • Then add the bell peppers and the cabbage and saute them for another 2-3 minutes
  • Add the salt and pepper to it and mix it well

  • Then, add the boiled noodles, soya sauce and mix well
  • Let it cook for 2-3 more minutes, and take it off the heat 

  • Then add the vinegar and spring onions for garnish
  • Serve hot with some chinese gravy with Manchurian or Paneer Chili
  • We can use colored bell peppers as well
  • The more vegetables it has, the more healthy it becomes

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sev Tomato Curry

              Sev is a savory crispy snack made from chickpea flour or gram flour. Some brands in the US also call it Indian Noodles. The Sev-Tomato curry is made with sev and ripe tomatoes. This is a very popular dish among Gujaratis.

       Sometimes, if you feel like making something really quick with minimal efforts or if you run out of vegetables at home, then this is the curry you can count on.

This is how I make this tangy and spicy dish:

  • 4 Medium Sized Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Sev
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander-Cumin Powder
  • 1 tbsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1/2 cup finely Chopped Cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of Asafoetida 
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • Heat some oil in a pan
  • Once it is heated, add asafoetida and cumin seeds to it. 
  • Add chopped tomatoes to it, as soon as cumin seeds start to crackle.
  • Add salt as per taste.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooked, add all the spices, turmeric powder, coriander-cumin powder and red chilli powder to it and mix well. 
  • Make sure there is enough gravy, if it is too dry add some water and mix well
  • Now add some cilantro to it.
  • Once the gravy is done, get it off the heat, and add Sev. Mix well.
  • Serve immediately.
  • This curry can be had with any type of Indian Bread.
Some Tips:
  • Make this curry at the serving time. It tastes best while it is hot.
  • The Sev will absorb most of the gravy. So, having it a long time after cooking, won't taste good
  • You can buy the Sev from any Indian store. Preferably, buy the medium thick Sev as the fine Sev will get too soggy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sabudana Khichdi

            Sabudana, also known as Tapioca Pearls, along with potato makes a great Khichdi. This recipe is great to have as a snack as well as for a meal. It is sufficiently filling and very tasty and hence, it is one of the most desired dish during fasting. I generally fast on Thursday, which means having only one full meal in a day. The other meal can be any faraal dish like Sabudana Khichdi or Sabudana Vada.

           Sabudana Khichdi is easy and fast to make. The only problem is it can't be a instant dish, since we need to soak the Sabudana for at least 2-3 hours.

And here is the quick and simple recipe for it:

  • 1 cup Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls)
  • 2 medium Potatoes (Boiled and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Crushed Peanuts
  • 2 tbsp Chili-Ginger Paste
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Pinch of Asafoetida
  • Wash and soak the Sabudana in enough water to cover it for about two to three hours.
  • Then, drain off the excess water.
  • Heat some oil in a pan, add asafoetida and cumin seeds to it.
  • Once the cumin seeds start to crackle, add the chili paste. The chili paste can be adjusted according to the desired spiciness.
  • Now add the Potatoes and Sabudana. Add a little water if needed. 
  • Then add peanuts, salt, lemon juice, cilantro and mix well.
  • Let it simmer for 10 mins on a low to medium heat. Once the Sabudana pearls become translucent  we can be sure that they are done.
  • Sprinkle some cilantro and serve hot.

Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pav Bhaji

       Pav-Bhaji is a very popular dish in India and possibly the most popular in Mumbai. It originated in Mumbai as a quick meal for the labourers. Pav translates to bread in Marathi and Bhaji is simply a potato based mix vegetable curry. Every city in India has their own variations on the Bhaji. Being a Mumbai-ite, I naturally love its version the most.

Here is my take on the famous Mumbai Pav Bhaji.

  • 4 Medium Sized Potatoes
  • 1/2 Medium Sized Cauliflower
  • 2 Green Bell Peppers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1.5 Cups Green Peas
  • 2 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
  • About 3 cups Tomato paste/puree
  • 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Finely chopped Cilantro
  • Salt to Taste
  • Butter
  • 6-8 French Dinner Rolls or Pav
  • Boil the green peas, florets of cauliflower and green bell peppers. I prefer to use the Pressure Cooker to boil these vegetables, but we can use any steamer.
  • Once boiled and soft, mash all these vegetables properly and keep them aside.
  • Now, boil the potatoes until soft and mash them properly.
  • Take a pan and heat some butter in it.
  • Add asafoetida and cumin seeds to it.
  • Once the cumin seeds start to crackle, add the garlic and onions to it.
  • Add salt and saute them till the onions turn pinkish.

  • Now, add the tomato puree to the pan
  • As soon as the tomato puree starts to boil slightly, add turmeric powder, chilli powder and pav bhaji masala to it.

  • Let it cook for 4-5 mins
  • Then, add the mashed vegetables and potatoes to it and mix it very well.
  • Now add the lemon juice and cilantro to it

  • Let it simmer on medium heat for 5-7 mins
  • In the Meantime, Heat some butter with chilli powder on a griddle, and toast the dinner rolls
  • Serve hot with some chopped onions on the side

          The best part about Pav-Bhaji is that the recipe is very versatile and can be tweaked to suit any palate. You can be creative and add any vegetable or ingredient. Please leave a comment with your variations of this dish.