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Daring Cooks cook Indian : Masala Dosa (Updated)

Posted by vivnidhi on September 15, 2009

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Masala Dosa with Sambhar, coconut chutney and Podi

Debyi from http://www.healthyvegankitchen.com hosted this month’s challenge and ordered Indian Dosas for all of us at Fresh Restaurants (www.freshrestaurants.ca) in Toronto, Canada. Since we all live in a virtual world these days, we were all handed over a recipe from their cookbook  and asked to make dosas to serve ourselves. Now, masala dosas (and oh my dear idlis, made from a similar batter) are a very big favorites with me. I can eat them all the time. My parents and I spent a couple of years in Vishakhapatnam , Andhra Pradesh and that is where my mother learnt to make good idlis and dosas. Another big influence was my Aunt who spent half her life in Chennai, then Madras and cooked fabulous South Indian meals.

Unfortunately I cannot make something with grains and flour and call it a dosa. A similar fare called Chil-ra is made in North India and I will be talking about it at the end of the post. Hence, I used my regular recipe for making dosas . I hope Debyi won’t mind it……..I kept the whole thing Vegan 🙂 .

The Recipe:

Dosa:

  • Idli Rice 3 cups soaked in water overnight
  • Black gram (Urad Daal)  1 cup soaked in water overnight
  • Fenugreek seeds 1 tsp.
  • salt to taste

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Fenugreek seeds,urad daal soaked and drained and idli rice soaked and drained in picture 2

Soak fenugreek seeds and urad daal together in water overnight. Since I make idlis and dosas from the same batter, I soak rice and lentils separately. Grind the lentils with little water till a very smooth paste is achieved.

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Ground lentils

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Rice needs to ground well too…..adding rice paste to lentils paste and final paste before fermentation

After lentils and rice are ground well, add rice paste to lentils paste and add about 2 tsp. salt. Leave to ferment 12 to 14 hours. Unless, you live in a hot weather, in that case check after 5-6 hours. The dough should almost double.

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Half the batter : after fermentation. Add water as required and dosa batter’s ready

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Ladle the dosa batter in circular motion

Potato filling:

  • Potatoes 4 medium boiled and chopped
  • Onion 1 big sliced
  • Ginger grated 1 tsp.
  • Canola Oil 2 tsp.
  • Asafoetida (Heeng) 1/2 tsp.
  • Mustard seeds (Rai) 1 tsp.
  • Fresh Curry leaves 2 stems washed
  • Bengal gram (Chana Daal ) 1 tsp.
  • Black gram (Urad Daal) 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder (Haldi) 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder (Lal mirch) 1/2 tsp.
  • salt to taste

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Potato filling ingredients clockwise:Fresh curry leaves, boiled potatoes, asafoetida, urad daal, chana daal, grated ginger, mustard seeds and sliced onions

To make the filling:

Heat the oil in a wok and add all the ingredients except potatoes, onion and salt.

Fry for one minute then add the onions. Let them fry for 2 more minutes.

When the onions start to turn translucent, add the potatoes and salt. If the mixture seems too dry, add 2 Tbsps. water. Cover and cook the filling for 5 minutes. The filling is ready.

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Add the potato filling as the dosa starts to brown at the bottom

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Fold the dosa and we’re done

I prepared 2-3 dosas at a time on a big electric griddle as I was serving 5 people at a time. The best crispness and color is achieved on an iron griddle. The iron griddle is heated , a couple of drops of oil are added to it and a raw onion just sliced at the top is used to spread the oil on the griddle. This is the traditional way of preparing dosas.

Sambhar :

  • Split yellow pigeon peas (Arhar/Toor Daal)  2 cups boiled in a pressure cooker with turmeric and salt
  • Canola Oil 1 Tbsp.
  • Mustard seeds (Rai) 1 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds (Jeera) 1 tsp.
  • Asafoetida (Heeng)  1/2 tsp.
  • Fresh Curry leaves 2 stems washed (remove the stems 😉 )
  • Ginger 2 tsp. grated
  • Garlic 2 cloves minced
  • Shallots/pearl onions 1/2 cup (cut if required to bite size pieces)
  • Tomatoes 2 chopped
  • Vegetables of choice (beans, bell pepper, bottle gourd etc. ) optional
  • Sambhar Masala powder 1 Tbsp.
  • Tamarind concentrate 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves for garnish

To prepare the sambhar heat oil in a big saucepan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and fresh curry leaves. When you hear the mustard seeds crackle, add the ginger and garlic.

Next add the shallots or pearl onions and fry for a little bit more. Next add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes start getting mushy, add the boiled lentils. Mix well and let it come to a boil. The consistency should be like lentil soup. It can be thinned a bit more if desired.  Finally add the sambhar masala powder and the tamarind concentrate.

(If using actual tamarind, soak it in hot water for 15 minutes. Take the pulp out and discard the fibrous portion and the seeds.)

Garnish with cilantro leaves and the sambhar is ready.

Coconut Chutney:

  • Grated coconut (fresh/frozen) 1 cup
  • Dalia Daal (Roasted split Bengal gram) 1/2 cup
  • Peanuts 2 Tbsp.
  • salt to taste

for tempering:

  • Canola Oil 1 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida 1/4 tsp.
  • Mustard seeds 1 tsp.
  • Fresh Curry leaves 2 stems washed
  • Whole Red chili 1

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Dalia Daal/ Roasted split Bengal gram

This is a very basic coconut chutney but tastes great! To prepare the chutney, grind the chutney ingredients in a grinder (ideally) or a blender (I use) and add a little water. Grind the ingredients well till you get a smooth consistency.

Heat oil in a small wok and add all the tempering ingredients. Heat till you hear crackling noise and the tempering ingredients look crisp. Do not let it burn. Add immediately to the ground chutney.

The coconut chutney’s ready!

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Coconut chutney

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Please help yourself 😉

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Dosa with Nutella , caramel sauce and some sweet butter

 

Chil-ra or Godhuma Dosa:

The actual recipe given by Debyi uses spelt flour to make the crepe. In North India , it is called Chilra and in South India, it is called Godhuma Dosa (whole wheat flour dosa)

The way we make it in North India is slightly different and hence my clarifications. We do not eat the chil-ra with any curry. It is usually eaten with pickle or cilantro chutney or even Bhukni (a dry tangy spice powder)

The Recipe:

  • Whole wheat pastry flour (atta) 2 cups
  • Onion 1/2 medium minced
  • Ginger 1 tsp. grated/minced
  • green chilli 1 cut fine
  • tomato 1/2 medium chopped fine
  • Carom seeds 1 tsp.
  • salt to taste
  • water

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Clockwise: Atta , water , onion, green chili, ginger and tomatoes

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Chil-ra with yogurt and mango pickle……comfort food

Add all the ingredients and enough water to make a smooth batter. Make sure no lumps remain.

Heat a griddle and make crepes out of these. These will not be as thin as the lentil mixture. But the meal’s ready instantly. I used to love eating these as kid and still do. My kids are a big fan as well……….only I do not know if it’s the chance to eat pickle or chil-ra that draws them to it. Anyway, it’s a good quick fix for me 😉 .

Edit : 17 Sep.  09 : Oh Dear me! I just re-read my post and realized that I have written the quantity of rice as 1 cup and that of the lentils too. It was a typo. I am so very sorry if anyone has tried making this with the wrong ratio given.  I have marked in red , please do check.

Posted in - Turmeric, -Arhar (Toor) Dal, -Asafoetida, -Canola Oil, -Cilantro, -Curry leaves, -Dalia Daal/Roasted split Bengal Gram, -Fenugreek seeds, -Garlic, -Ginger, -Idli Rice, -Mustard Seeds, -Onion, -Potatoes, -Red chili powder, -Tamarind, -Tomato, -Urad daal/ black gram, -Whole wheat flour, Shallots, _Chana Daal/ Bengal gram | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Matariya Aloo (Spicy Pea like potatoes)

Posted by vivnidhi on August 19, 2009

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It’s been a while since I posted anything North Indian on the blog. I have barely been able to post about the Daring Kitchen challenges. But, I am trying and here is a fresh, new authentic recipe 🙂 .

Pea like potatoes, not peas and potatoes. This is about the very new smallest potatoes that you can find. Even in India, folks would be really pleased if they could lay their hands on fresh small potatoes. You can get very very tiny ones there. Spring and summer months are usually the best bet to find them freshest. Its difficult to find really tiny ones here but Farmer’s Markets usually carry fresh baby potatoes. These have very tender skins and are never peeled. On our visits to the Farmer’s Market, the husband does not like to pass by these without buying cause potatoes are his favorite vegetable 🙂 . In my grandmother’s house, ‘aloo ka rassa’ or (potatoes and water with spice should be the correct description :-)) ) was made every day…..every day for 30-40 years……can you believe that? Now that I have finished describing our undying love for potatoes, let me proceed to the recipe. It is an easy one and requires very little preparation.

The Recipe:

  • Baby Potatoes (smallest you can find) washed and scrubbed 1/2 Kg
  • Fresh Ginger washed, scrubbed and minced  2″ piece
  • Green chilli minced 1 (optional)
  • Canola Oil 2 Tbsp. (Vegetable oil is fine too)
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp.
  • Asafoetida 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric  powder 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander seeds dry roasted and ground coarse 2 Tbsp.
  • Amchur/Dry mango powder 1 Tbsp.
  • Garam Masala 1 tsp.
  • Cilantro leaves torn 1/4 cup

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Washed scrubbed baby potatoes

The most important step I believe in these potatoes is the grinding of coriander seeds. In a wok, dry roast the coriander seeds till they turn aromatic and lightly brown in color. Set them aside. When they are cool enough to handle, grind them pretty coarse. This one ingredient will enhance the taste of the potatoes.

Heat oil in the wok (not a great idea to skimp on oil if looking for best taste……I must admit, I most often do 😉 ) add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder. When the spices seem to be frying a little, add half the ginger and green chilli (if using). These do taste good when a little spicier than usual.

Next add the scrubbed potatoes, sprinkle the salt, mix and cover the wok. Reduce the heat to medium low. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. When the potatoes become tender, add the coarsely ground coriander powder, remaining amount of ginger, garam masala and amchur. Mix well and cover again for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and finally add the cilantro leaves and mix well.

Spicy baby potatoes or Matariya aloo are ready! Try these and I bet, these won’t last for long. These can be eaten on their own, as a side dish or with paranthas.

I would like to send these potatoes to Laura of The Spiced Life. It’s my grandmother’s recipe. This is indeed a simple, treasured recipe enjoyed by all at home. The spiced Life

Posted in - Turmeric, -Asafoetida, -Baby Potatoes, -Canola Oil, -Cilantro, -Coriander, -Dry Mango Powder, -Garam Masala, -Ginger, -Green Chillies, -Red chili powder | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Daring Cooks make Rice with mushrooms, Tofu, Potatoes and artichokes

Posted by vivnidhi on August 14, 2009

Vegetarians Win!! Yeah well, I should not rejoice so much. My expertise at preparing any non-vegetarian food is pretty bleak………and if I have to cook seafood, its worse. I (with the husband’s help 😉 , of course ) can handle salmon well now ….and we know when it is done, but the rest of the stuff leaves me shivering. I tried making scallops thrice and only once did I get it right, rest of the times the family could not eat leather. So, this time we attempted squid…..and I FAILED ……….and hence, everybody ate vegetarian…….YEAH!!

Before I say anything about what I made and what happened, I must mention the accompaniment. This month I learnt to make allioli (the traditional way) and it is just phenomenal. No garlic lover should not – not try it.  To me , it was like tasting sheer bliss. I LOVE garlic. I can eat allioli with bread, pasta, roti, parantha, of course rice , just about anything (OK, spare the desserts 😉 )

This month’s challenge was hosted by Olga of  Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes . . She chose a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment. The recipe is from his US TV show Made in Spain.  (Please note Olga’s tips (2) and (3) at the bottom for alternative cooking).

Allioli is my favorite and so lets begin with that. I made it the traditional way and just loved it. This will be made a lot in my house. A lot of people find it strong, but for this spice accustomed tongue, it was just great!

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Allioli…..the traditional way

 

Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Cooking time: 20 min aprox.
Ingredients:

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)

Directions:

  1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
  2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
  3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
  4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
  5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
  6. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

José’s tips for traditional recipe: It’s hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don’t give up. It’s worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you’re adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.

Allioli a la moderna (Modern recipe)
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 small egg
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
  3. Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
  4. Little by little, add what’s left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
  5. If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
  6. Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
  7. The sauce will be a lovely yellow color.
  8. Add salt to taste.

José’s tips for modern recipe:
(1) If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.
(2) What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don’t throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another beaker and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.

Why did I FAIL? OK, I am a bit of a purist when it comes to food. If a recipe calls for an ingredient and that ingredient is within my means, I try and go the extra mile. Well! in this case several extra miles around the town and just would not find the short grain Spanish rice. I went crazy and really could not believe that I could not find it. (I saw it at Kroger after I had finished all my experiments.) Anyway, I got short grain brown rice !!! Guess what I cooked sea food till the brown rice got tender. now who could eat what I had dished out? The husband, who could not believe his ears (and was really pleased) when I told him that I would be buying squid for him, asked me to never buy that stuff again :-)) . So all ate my vegetarian basmati version 🙂 . 

Here is the recipe:

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Equipment:

  • 1 Chopping Board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size)
  • 1 Saucepan

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or frozen if fresh are not available)
  • 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
  • 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
  • Tofu 1 block cubed and baked at 400 F for 15 minutes
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 1 Potato  cubed
  • “Sofregit” (see recipe below) (pronounced so-frito)
  • 300 gr (2 cups) Basmati rice – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
  • Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
  • Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
  • Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) – optional

Directions:

  1. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the tofu cubes in the pan.
  2. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
  3. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
  4. Add a bay leaf to the tofu and add also the artichokes,potatoes and the mushrooms.
  5. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
  6. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
  7. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
  8. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
  9. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
  10. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
  11. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
  12. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

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Sofregit ingredients: Onion, tomatoes, green pepper, garlic and mushrooms

Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times
different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)-

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour
Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Touch of ground cumin
  • Touch of dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
  2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

Sofregit tastes superb with just about anything.

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Sofregit’s ready!

Olga’s Tips:
(1) In Spain, rice is not stired as often as it is when cooking Italian risotto. You must stir it once or twice maximum. This tip is valid for all Spanish rice dishes like paella, arròs negre, arròs a banda…
(2) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.
(3) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, or you’re not able to eat them because of allergies, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.
(4) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.
(5) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(6) To watch how Jose Andres cooks this dish click here.
(7) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil and garlic alone.
(9) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.
(10) For help on conversion on metric to imperial, visit this page.

My first attempt at cooking Spanish food apart from Sangria and we had a lot of fun in spite of the failure. The husband made  some sangria and I made flan. Thanks for a good meal Olga. Dinner’s ready!!

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Rice with mushrooms, tofu,  potatoes and artichokes

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Some Crema Catalana too…. (Olga’s recipe)

Expenditure:

Artichokes 2………………………..from Meijer ……………..$ 3.34 (I had bought some from Randazzo for 59 c each…..ah supermarkets)

Mushrooms 1 lb……………………..from Kroger …………….$ 1.00 (deal, deal)

Short grain Brown rice 1 lb…………from Arbor farms market $ 1.69

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Total……………………………………………………………..$ 6.03

Posted in - Bay Leaf, -Artichoke, -Cumin seeds, -Garlic, -Green Bell Pepper, -lemon, -mushrooms, -Olive Oil, -Onion, -Oregano, -Potatoes, -Saffron, -Tomato, -White Wine, Alcohol | Tagged: , , , | 13 Comments »

Soya Aloo ki Sabji (Fresh Dill and Potatoes dry curry)

Posted by vivnidhi on July 11, 2008

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Soya Aloo ki Sabji

In Hindi, Dill is called soya.  Wonder why, huh. Anyway, fresh dill is quite a favorite with me. The most common preparation in my house is the one with potatoes as the picture says. Another great snack is when you mix dill with rice flour and coconut, make small flatbreads and pan fry. Sindhi Sai Bhaji needs Soya. Another most common use in north Indian homes is to knead it with whole wheat flour and make paranthas/flatbreads with it. And yes, it pairs pretty well with Methi/Fenugreek leaves too. The husband loves salmon with a side of dill dip.

Soya Aloo ki Sabji: (2 servings)

  • Potatoes 1 large or two medium chopped
  • Fresh Dill/soya 1/2 bunch cut fine
  • Ginger 1/2 ” piece minced or grated
  • Green chilli 1 cut fine
  • Oil 1 tsp.
  • Asafoetida 1/4 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds/ Jeera 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder/ haldi 1/2 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp.
  • Coriander powder/Dhaniya 1/2 tsp.
  • Dry mango powder/ amchur 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam Masala 1/4 tsp.

A cast iron skillet is great to cook potatoes in. It gives the potatoes a great crust which makes the dish delicious, so use it to cook the potatoes in if you can. Heat the skillet and add oil. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder to the oil.

When you hear the sizzling sound, add the green chilli and ginger. Saute briefly for 30 seconds and then add the potatoes and the dill. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet. Let it cook like that for 15-20 minutes till the potatoes look like they are done. You can stir a couple of times in between.

Lastly add dry mango powder and the garam masala. Mix well with a light hand. And soya aloo ki sabji is ready. This makes a fabulous side dish, whether with lentil soup or even a spicy curry. Its delicious to just snack on them too:). Tastes great with rotis, paranthas or even rice.

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Simple lunch: Soya Aloo ki sabji, daal, yogurt and rotis

I forgot to mention that we lost power for almost 34 hours last week. It was a nightmare, I had to heat milk on a candle for my son in my apartment. After 2 meals outside, we were tired of eating out and guess what, we fired our charcoal grill for an impromptu BBQ on 3rd July. The son was craving regular roti sabji………….so I realized I could cook up an entire Indian meal on our small grill. It was just fantastic……tandoori rotis and Rajma………..and potatoes with dill:).

Just mix all  the ingredients listed above in an aluminum foil. Make a sort of a pocket which holds all the ingredients and close it. Put it directly among the coals. In 15 -20 minutes, the potatoes are ready! You will open up to an aroma of asafoetida when you open the packet. Some may not like that but in a few minutes, the smell reduces and then the potatoes taste really good. This is on its way to Joelen’s Culinary adventures Grilled recipes.

This is also on its way to Sweetnick’s ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday cause this is certainly antioxidant rich:).

Posted in - Dill, -Cumin seeds, -Ginger, -Potatoes | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

Tofu, Chhole Aloo aur Dhaniya ki Dandiyan (Tofu, Chickpeas, potato and Cilantro stems)

Posted by vivnidhi on May 28, 2008

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Tofu, Chhole Aloo garnished with onions

There are numerous things that I want to post about, but boy! have I been busy!! Yes, my mother left for India a few days back and now its only me with two young kids……………:(. How do people manage twins…………I’d go nuts. On the positive side, my older son does manage to entertain my little one so that I can finish the daily chores. But that’s about it (even that is an achievement some days). One day as I was busy with my younger one, the son wanted me to do something else as well……..and I just couldn’t help saying ” I have only two hands”. Just then, the son remembered of Brahmaji (an Indian deity having 4 arms and 4 heads) His reply was ” You should be like Brahma, then you would have four hands” Now do you think , I could hide my smile.

Fresh Cilantro (Coriander leaves) are the best and most essential garnish in North Indian cuisine. The fresh leaves just really enhance the flavor in spicy curries. In order to keep these leaves fresher longer, I like to remove the leaves from the stems and save them either in a paper bag or the leftover boxes of berries which also have holes to breathe. So, that’s a reuse tip. Honest confession is that my kitchen pantry is full of plastic boxes that came with something else and are saved up to keep something else. I just can’t throw them in trash without thinking of me adding further plastic garbage.I know one day all this will be thrown but at least after being  reused several times. Now, a PHD student’s wife also saves money on containers this way too;).

So, I got 4 bunches of cilantro and saved the leaves. I was left with really tender cilantro stems. Mom suggested I use them and when they were added to the curry, they just made the curry taste so very delicious, I could lick the bowl.

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Fresh Cilantro stems and soaked and boiled chickpeas

Its quite a medley but delicious combination.

The Recipe:

  • 2 slabs extra firm tofu cut into cubes
  • 1 cup soaked and boiled chickpeas
  • 1 small potato cut into cubes
  • 2 onions chopped very fine
  • 1 tomato chopped fine
  • 1 tomato cut into cubes
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2″ piece of ginger minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder (Haldi)
  • 2 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Coriander powder (Dhaniya)
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1-1/2 bunches cilantro stems chopped fine

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Star of the show: finely chopped cilantro stems

Heat oil in a saucepan and add cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Fry finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic well till they change color to brown.

Add finely chopped tomatoes till they have almost melted in the onions.

Add the yogurt, mix well and fry for 2 more minutes stirring continuously.

Next add the potato, tomato, tofu ,chickpeas and salt. Add 1/2 a cup of water and cover.

When the vegetables have softened enough, check for gravy, add more water if need be.Add Garam masala and cilantro stems.Cover for 5 more minutes till the stems have mixed well in the gravy. This curry is very fragrant on its own. Even the kitchen starts smelling wonderful. Tastes great with paranthas or rice.

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Tofu Aloo Chhole with paranthas and Coleslaw

I am sending this recipe to Wandering Chopsticks, guest host of Weekend Herb Blogging which is a creation of Kalyn.

Edit: August 8’08 : I mention in my post that its a good idea to keep the cilantro leaves in a plastic box which has holes to let the leaves breathe. This is a great idea if one has a lot of cilantro………like I did, 4 bunches. Soon, the leaves in the box will dry out and they can be used later. Keeping them in the box saves them from rotting. If there is a very small quantity of cilantro like a bunch which you know will be used in a week or so, it is best to keep the cilantro leaves in a brown paper bag. It will help the leaves from drying out. Cilantro stems are best in the crisper in a plastic bag.

Posted in -Cilantro, -Garbanzo Beans, -Potatoes, -Tofu, Dried Beans, Herbs | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

Dressing up the Dulha……….Bhara hua Daal ka Dulha Series…….Round 1:

Posted by vivnidhi on May 4, 2008

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Aloo Bhara Daal Ka Dulha

Our dulha is coming of age in my house (the daal ka dulha is being made so often). So, we thought we start dressing it up in various forms we know of and then decide the winning costume for our dear dulha:). Credit goes to my mother for all these recipes.

The first filling is of the evergreen potato. This dish is like spicy pierogies in lentil soup. This truly is a delicious combination. Our dear rustic dulha too can stand among the finest raviolis and pastas of the world when dressed up;)

The Recipe:

Initial tempering:

  • Oil 1/2 tsp
  • cumin seeds/Jeera 1/2 tsp.
  • turmeric powder/Haldi 1 tsp.

For Daal:

  • Toor Daal/Arhar daal/split yellow pigeon peas 2 cups
  • Water 6 cups
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • salt to taste

For Dulha:(This is the ratio for making roti dough.About 1/10th is used to make the dulhas in the daal given)

  • Whole wheat flour 4 cups
  • Water 1 3/4 cups
  • Salt (optional)

For Filling:

  • Potatoes 2 boiled and mashed
  • Ginger 1″ piece chopped fine or grated
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves a handful chopped fine
  • Green chili 1 chopped fine
  • Red chili powder 1 tsp.
  • Garam masala 1 tsp.
  • Dry mango powder/Amchur 1 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/heeng powdered 1 tsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Onion 1/2 finely chopped (optional)
  • Garlic 1 clove finely chopped (optional)

Final tempering:

  • Oil (preferably ghee) 2 Tbsp.
  • Asafoetida/heeng powdered 1 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds 1 Tbsp .
  • Red chilli powder 2 tsp.

We begin as usual by making the daal or lentil soup in a pressure cooker. Heat oil and add the initial tempering. Once the cumin seeds are crackling, add the ingredients listed under daal and close the pressure cooker. Further details on making the daal can be found in my post Everyday daal.

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Filling Ingredients clockwise……potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, asafoetida, red chili powder,dry mango powder, Garam masala, green chilies and salt………missing is cilantro leaves…

The most important part is our Dulha. Dulhas can be prepared while the daal is cooking. To prepare the potato for the filling, I like to pierce the potato with a fork, wet the potato well and bake it in the microwave.Boiling the potatoes in water causes them to get watery at times. Mix all the ingredients listed under filling and make small balls of the filling. Onions and garlic are optional, I like them, but the original recipe as made by our elders did not have onions or garlic. Make a thin flat round of the wheat dough. A drop of oil can be spread on the fingers and the dough while making the flat. Keep the filling in the flat and close it. Use the palm of the hand to flatten the filled round of the dough. Make as many dulhas as required.

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Potato filling and wheat dough balls

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Flattened uncooked dulhas

Heat the daal if made earlier. Make sure that the daal is hot when the dulhas are added to it in the pressure cooker. Give two more whistles to the cooker or let it simmer for at least half an hour if one is not using a pressure cooker. Make the final tempering in a separate pan. When the cumin seeds start crackling, add it to the daal. Aloo (potato) bhara daal ka dulha is ready to be served. It can be eaten alone or with roti and some vegetables also.

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So, how does the bhara hua daal ka dulha look?

Posted in -Arhar (Toor) Dal, -Garlic, -Ginger, -Onion, -Potatoes, -Whole wheat flour, Daal, Flours, Spices | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Quick Thai Yellow curry

Posted by vivnidhi on January 9, 2008

My last entry for food during pregnancy hosted by simpeindianfood. I think the readers would just get tired. But if there are any pregnant women reading this………please keep an eye on this blog cause most of the stuff I write here is going to be food for pregnant women. I am in my last trimester and soon there will be common and not so common recipes eaten postpartum:).

I love Thai food and the curries come out as delicious as the restaurant even at home. The secret ingredient is the readymade curry pastes I get from my Chinese or Oriental stores. Readymade pastes are extremely convenient as one does have to worry about having galangal and kaafir lime leaves etc. at home all the time and one one can churn out delicious curries when one desires. It is also a delicious way of incorporating tofu in the diet. Since I am a vegetarian I am always looking ways to eat tofu and eggs these days.

Yellow curry is the least favorite of mine but a big fav with hubby dear(its closest in taste to Indian curries, according to him) . And since, yellow curry paste was the only one I had on hand yesterday night……..we had yellow curry and rice for dinner.

The Recipe:

  • Oil 1 tsp.
  • Yellow curry paste 1 Tbsp.
  • Soya sauce 1 Tbsp.
  • Coconut milk 1/2 cup if using full fat or 3/4 cup if using lite
  • Potato 1 chopped
  • Shallots 2 (Red onion can be substituted) chopped coarse and big
  • Tofu Extra firm 2 slabs cut in blocks
  • Fresh basil 1 Tbsp.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the curry paste lightly. Add soya sauce and coconut milk. Add the potato, shallots and tofu and cover the wok. Reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer. The curry is done when the potatoes have softened (in about 10 -15 min’s). One can add vegetables of choice in this curry though we like it plain with potato and onions. Check the salt in the curry, if desired, add more soya sauce at this stage. Add fresh basil if you have them on hand. Sometimes, I even like a tsp. of lime juice in the curry but that’s completely on the kind of taste a person has. Quick spicy yellow curry is ready! Goes best with jasmine rice although nothing beats steaming basmati rice in my house:).

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Yellow Curry, Rice and Sambal Oelek………spicy dinner in minutes:)

Posted in -Onion, -Potatoes, -Tofu, Thai | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Corn Flakes Bhelpuri

Posted by vivnidhi on December 24, 2007

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I am almost always late to enter the kitchen on Sunday mornings. And , I also like breakfast to be something else but whole wheat slices, sprouts and coffee. It was easier for my Mom , I think, our Sunday breakfasts were always great………samosas, kachoris, fresh mathris……….I can’t keep frying something great each weekend:(.

So, this Sunday morning I wondered what to make and saw Cornflakes. Had no time to waste, chopped a lot of stuff, mixed with masalas, in went chutneys and lo……..cornflakes bhelpuri was ready! Added a piping hot cuppa coffee, and there couldn’t have been a better breakfast on this cold snowy morning.

The Recipe:

  • Cornflakes 2 cups
  • Puffed rice 1 cup
  • Onion 1
  • Tomato 1/2 (as I just had half a tomato left, you could add more,if you want)
  • Tomatillos 2
  • Cucumber 1/2 (of a large one )
  • Cilantro/ Coriander leaves 1/2 cup
  • Potato 1 (scrubbed well & boiled)
  • Peanuts 3/4 cup
  • Salt 2 tsp.
  • Red chili powder 1 tsp.
  • Chaat Masala 1 Tbsp.
  • Green Chutney (cilantro/mint/tomatillo……..any would do as long as its tart and fiery) 2 Tbsp.
  • Sweet Tamarind chutney (sonth in Hindi) 2 Tbsp. (These are available readymade in Indian stores or can  be made as I explain in the note and kept for months in the refrigerator.)

Again the list is long here, but the recipe is really versatile. One can adjust as per what one has on hand. The real quick method of making is here:

1. First fork a well scrubbed potato, wet it well or place it in a microwave container with 2 Tbsp. of water and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Microwave times may vary but this is real quick.

2. Meanwhile chop fine all the rest of the veges…..tomato, tomatillo, cucumber, cilantro. Take the potato out and chop it as well. Add to a large container cause these tend to take more space.

3. Peanuts are roasted in the microwave as well. Keep microwaving for a minute at a time and checking continuously till you get them brown per your preference.

4. Puffed rice also goes in the microwave for a minute or more if you need but a minute at a time is the best idea. Its good to have it spread in a plate where you can check it easier. When it gets really crisp, its ready.

5. Let the puffed rice cool for a minute and then add it to the chopped vegetables. Add salt, red chili powder, chaat masala, green chutney and sweet tamarind chutney to the vegetables.  Add the cornflakes and peanuts. Mix really well. Check salt and spice level and adjust according to your taste. You may add lime juice, I didn’t find the need.

And you are ready to serve!! Its difficult for anyone to NOT like this sweet and spicy chaat.

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Note: Sweet Tamarind Chutney/ Imli ki meethi Chutney/ Sonth is quite easy to make with tamarind concentrates available in Indian grocery stores in the U.S.

Mix 4 Tbsp. tamarind concentrate with with about 1/2 cup water and add 1/2 cup sugar to it. Mix it well and check if the sugar level is as desired. It actually is quite sweet in taste. It should also be quite thick like honey. Heat a Tbsp. of oil and add 1/4 tsp. asafetida, 1 tsp. red chili powder and 2 Tbsp. cumin powder. You could also add a handful of golden raisins. Put it in a bottle and keeps well in the refrigerator for months. If using fresh, you could also add finely chopped banana to it but do not add it and refrigerate. Lip smacking meethi chutney is ready which can be used on almost all kinds of chaat.

Posted in -Cucumber, -Green Chutney, -Onion, -Peanuts, -Potatoes, -Puffed Rice, -Sweet Tamarind Chutney, -Tomatillo, -Tomato, Corn Flakes | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Masaledaar Aloo ki sabji

Posted by vivnidhi on December 7, 2007

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Acorn Squash & Potatoes

The acorn squash was sitting there, turning orange by the day……” Why am I being neglected?”, it said, from the top of the refrigerator. Drawing all my attention yet being silent. Yes, I am talking about squash and pumpkin when the title screams potatoes:). The quiet pumpkin (again silently) adds  a lot of taste to my favorite recipe.  So, finally, before it would dry up on me and blame me for its condition, I picked it up. The squash certainly seemed happier, all peeled and cut up next to its dear potatoes. What the leftover squash; saran wrapped and in the refrigerator is saying to me now is another story:)).

Masaledaar aloo ki sabji (poor pumpkin wasn’t even mentioned) was always made in my house to be paired with Calcutta crisp Kachoris (wonder why we named it so but someday I will blog about it too!). Ah! those Sundays when my mother would make them……I would rarely have a count of how many Kachoris I ate or how many times I served the sabji. Now, when I can’t go frying kachoris and eating them often, at least I can indulge in this favorite vegetable gravy. As I was making it, I remembered of the Grindless gravies . This recipe has no grinding involved whatsoever. It uses a few ground masalas found in almost every Indian kitchen.

The most important ingredients here are ginger, heeng (asafoetida),coriander powder and kalonji (nigella seeds). Without kalonji, it just would not taste as good and without coriander powder,  it just won’t get the right consistency and smell. A very informative post about nigella seeds is Mistress of Spices, finally .

The recipe:

Potatoes 2, chopped into bigger pieces
pumpkin about 1 cup, chopped small
ginger 2 Tbsp., chopped up
green chillies 2
tomato 1 (optional)

Masala
Heeng 1/4 tsp.
nigella seeds 3/4 tsp.
cumin seeds 1/4 tsp.
turmeric 1/2 tsp.
red chilli powder 1/4 tsp.
coriander powder 2 heaping Tbsp.
Dry mango powder/amchur 1/2 tsp.
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp.
yogurt 2 Tbsp.

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Heeng in the box & clockwise from left: cumin, nigella seeds, turmeric,red chilli
powder, coriander powder, amchur powder in the center is garam masala

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Chopped up pumpkin, potatoes, ginger and green chillies

Once the masaldaan (a round box with small cups for holding dry masalas)is out and vegetables chopped, we are almost done. First heat the pressure cooker and to 2 tsp. oil add heeng, cumin and nigella seeds.  Once they start to splutter, add yogurt, ginger, green chillies, chopped tomato, turmeric, red chilli and coriander powders. Brown them well, add a Tbsp. of water if need be to prevent the masalas from sticking to the pan. I used canned sliced tomatoes as I didn’t have any fresh ones. Next, add pumpkin and potato along with 1 1/2 cups water and salt and mix well. Close the pressure cooker, put in low medium flame and say the mantra” Fill it, shut it and forget it” You can forget it for upto 30-45 mins but after that you will have to remember it. You could add some water and reheat if the consistency is thicker. After putting the gas off, and when you can open the pressure cooker, mix the contents well, the pumpkin should just dissolve in the gravy.  Add garam masala, amchur powder and garnish with chopped cilantro. You may avoid adding the amchur powder if you find the gravy sour enough.

The sabji goes best with kachoris, but pooris or pranthas  do fine as well.

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Masaledaar Aloo ki Sabji

Posted in -Potatoes | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »