Thursday, 1 November 2012

South Indian Okra in a Yogurt and Coconut sauce.


This is a realy good dish if you need introducing to okra, becuse of the sauce, it is sweet and sour and rich with coconut. It really is so delicious.

I am not exactly sure of this dishes actual name because a friend has kindly given this recipe. My friend is from kerala and is not to sure on how to write in english.

Last week she invited me over for lunch and she had heard about me blogging about real indian food. She said that she could remember me saying one time in her favourite restaurant, that I would've liked to of recreated the thali that we enjoyed on that particular day. She was going to be cooking this dish anyway for her family so she remembered about me :-) Of cause i was overjoyed to receive the invitation and I gladly accepted.

I decided to walk to her house because it was quite a nice day, one of those days where it is cold and crisp, but a nice bright sun. Once I had arrived at the end of her street I could smell her food! It reminded me of one of those cartoons where the hungry animal gets a whiff of some delicious food and floated it the air to follow the scent :-) As i walked up her garden path the fabulous aroma got stronger and stronger and even more delicious. She must have seen me coming to the door, because she opened the door before I could even knock. She greeted me with open arms and said come in, come in! I walked into her kitchen and it was full of her female relatives. They were all busy doing something, Her Mother was grinding some batter for dosa, her sister was kneading some bread, and there was some of her aunts and cousins there too. It was a kind of organised kaos. She called me over to the cooker and firstly asked if they could get me anything to drink. Her aunt gave me a cup of chai (Indian tea) and my friend and I sat down for a chat.
When we had finished our chai she said to me that we should get on, she handed me a pen and paper and she said that as a gift for being a good friend, she was handing me this recipe that had been through her family for a very long time. I could thank enough, but she just kindly replied " just invite me round for tea" I love her so much! Thanks hun! :-)

Here is my friends beautifully simple, South Indian Okra recipe.

Ingredients:-

2 cups of fresh okra, washed and dried, cut into 1/2 inch flowers
1/2 cup of fresh yogurt (dahi)
1/2 cup freshly grated, frozen or desiccated coconut. If you are using desiccated coconut then you should soak in boiled water for about 1/2 hour, reserving the coconut water.
3 tbs oil,
1 tsp mustard seeds,
10-12 curry leaves,
1/2- 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder,
1/2 tsp green chilli paste,
water - as required.
salt to taste,
1 1/2- 3 tsp sugar- as per your taste,
fresh green coriander to garnish.


Directions:-

1) Heat some oil in a pan and fry the okra on a low to medium heat until browning at the edges and all of the sliminess has disappeared. Make sure that you don't keep stirring the okra otherwise it will become really slimy and not very nice. Drain on kitchen paper.

2) In a blender, or with a hand blender, mix together the yogurt, red chilli powder, coconut, salt and sugar. Blend until you have a fairly cause paste.

3) Check the seasoning and add sufficient water, but not too much. Test again.

4) Heat a saucepan over a medium to hot heat and add the mustard seeds. Wait until they pop and then add the curry leaves. Let them splutter and then add the okra and sauce.

5) Reheat gently up to boiling point and then serve hot with chapatis and rice, or as part of your favorite thali

Sev Mumra recipe (chickpea vermicelli and puffed rice) Or simply sev, or simply mumra!




Sev mumra is one of those things that you never really think to cook, because I must admit that the shop bought stuff is actually delicious. So for years I have probably spent a small fortune on the stuff.

One of my friends came over for a catch up one day and came with a bag full of homemade sev mumra that she had left over from the weekend. We filled a big bowl full and we sat and nattered and nibbled on this wonderful snack. I said to her that it was the best I had ever tasted by far! She then told me that it was actually home made and one of the easiest things that they prepare in their house. They even prepare this after their main meal is ready, that is if you have some sev already prepared.
It is that easy!! Any way you really must try it, it really is too good to miss!!

Ingredients for the sev:-

1 cup of chickpea flour, (besan)
a pinch of turmeric,
a tsp oil,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
a tiny pinch of hing,
a pinch of baking soda.
Water as needed.
1/2 tsp of salt


Tip!! You need a sev maker to proceed!

Directions:-

1) Prepare a pan of oil and heat it over a medium heat. There oil should be a few inches deep to cover the sev as it is cooking.

2) Grease the sev maker inside and around the lid and screw. (This just helps with the cleaning)

3) Mix together the above ingredients ensuring that the oil gets well incorporated.

4) Slowly add the water and mix until you have a very sticky batter. It should not be runny, but it definitely doesn't want to be hard, otherwize your sev won't turn out very good.

5) Once you are happy with the batter, check to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small drop of batter into the oil and if it sizzles to the top straight the way then the oil is ready. ( also make sure that it is not too hot either otherwise it will taste burnt.)

6) Fill the sev maker with the batter by using a spoon and screw up the lid. Then gently turn the handle over the oil, using circular movements so that the sev almost looks like lace, or if you remember what one looks like a spirograph pattern. :-)(showing my age!) When you have got enough sev in your pan, turn the handle in the other direction to stop the flow of batter.

7) Cook until the oil calms down and then turn the whole thing over to cook the other side.

8) Again cook until the oil calms down and drain onto a piece of kitchen paper.
Repeat the process until you have used up all of your batter.

You can enjoy sev on it's own like this, or use it as a topping for chaats... or you can proceed to make sev mumra!!

ingredients:-

6 cups of puffed rice (Mumra)
7-10 fresh curry leaves,
1/2 - 1 tsp homemade chilli paste,
1/2 tsp homemade garlic paste,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
2 tbs oil,
a large pinch of salt.

Directions:-

1) Heat the oven to the lowest temperature that your oven will go to.

2) In a large, clean roasting tin, mix in all of the above ingredients together thoroughly.

3) Pop the tray into the oven and after about 10 minutes, take them out of the oven and give everything another good stir. You must make sure that your sev does not burn.

4) Repeat this process another 2 times. the sev should only need about 25 minutes in total.

5) Once your mumra is ready, it needs to be cooled down to room temperature.

6) This is actually quite nice nike this to, but i like to mix it with some of the above sev. Just mix to your liking! ENJOY!!!

Feel free to leave your tips and feedback, it is always very welcome! :-) :-) :-)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Drumstick vegetable, tomato and onion curry.




This is an absolute cracker of a recipe! Drumsticks can be quite a task to find if you do not live near an indian grocery store, but please please buy them if you ever see them because you will not regret it! Not only are they delicious in taste, but texture and health benefits too! Please if you get the chance to google this vegetable please do. This plant could literally save the world! It is an amazing plant. The plant or tree is actually called the moringa tree and most of the plant is edible, when you use the actual stick ( drumstick,) you do not eat the tough outer skin, you scrape out the flesh inside with a spoon or you can suck all the goodness out. I personally prefer to scrape everything out with a spoon and mix in some of the sauce into the mashy goodness. The leaves are very highly nutritious too so again, if you ever get the chance to have these, please do.
What i tend to do if i ever find any is to wash, dry and prepare them and then wrap them up well and pop them into the freezer. The freeze very well.

Anyway here is my version of this delicious dish. Please try and let me know what you think? :-) :-) :-)

Ingredients:-

2-4 young, plump and not damaged in any way drumsticks, washed and cut into 3-6 inch pieces.
1 onion,
3-4 tomatoes,
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
2 cloves
a large pinch of hing,
about 10 curry leaves,
1/2 tsp turmeric,
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder,
1-2 green chillies,
3/4 tsp ginger paste,
2 tsp sugar, or to taste.
salt to taste,
fresh green coriander to garnish.

Directions:-

1) Boil the drumsticks in slightly salted water for around ten minutes, or until the drumsticks are starting to open. Drain and set aside.

2) Dice the onion and wash and chop the tomato.

3) Heat 2 tbs oil in a pan and once the oil is hot enough, fry the mustard seeds until they pop like popcorn :-)then add the cumin seeds, cloves, hing and curry leaves and let them splutter for a moment before adding the diced onion and some salt.

4) Cook the onions until they are starting to brown at the edges and then add the chopped tomatoes. Cook these down until they are all nice and mushy - like a thick sauce.

5) Then add the turmeric and chilli powder with the sugar and give it a good mix.

6) Add about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water, cover and simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

7) Add the drumsticks and simmer on a low heat for another 10 minutes. Be sure to check the water levels because this dish needs to be quite soupy.

8) Check the seasoning and adjust to your taste. Garnish with coriander and serve with gujarati potatoes, gujarati kadhi, with rice and chapatis.

ENJOY!!!! :-)


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Bhindi masala with onions and peppers (okra)



This is such an awesome dish!! It Is packed full of nutrients, takes only a jiffy to cook and tastes amazing with basmati rice khadi and chapatis. If you are new to okra, you must realise that you have to cook it just right, otherwise it turns out sticky and not very nice.

There are various key points to remember when cooking okra. My method is absolutely fool proof and has never failed me yet!

1) It must be washed and and dried thoroughly before you even start to consider chopping it.

2) After you have washed and prepared your okra, you should let it air dry on a paper towel for as long as possible, even the night before!

3) During the cooking process you should never touch or stir the okra more than you have too. Just leave it alone to cook gently on a low to medium heat.

I always tend to stir fry the okra in a small amount of oil and also a important tip is to never add salt to okra when it is cooking. only ever add salt at the end.

Anyway here is my recipe.

Ingredients:-
(On this occasion I used frozen okra, but fresh is really recommended)

1/2 bag of frozen okra,
1 tbs oil, + 1/2 tbs extra,
1/4 tsp mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
a pinch of hing ( asafoetida)
1 small onion, or half a large, (Cubed)
1 small yellow pepper, (washed and cubed)
1 large tomato (washed and thinly sliced)
1/2 tsp garlic paste,
1 tsp ginger paste,
1-2 green chillies,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/4 tsp chilli powder,
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder,
1 tsp sugar,
salt to taste,
fresh coriander and a sprinkle of lemon juice.

Directions:-

1) Heat 1 tbs oil in a large frying pan on a medium to high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, add the frozen okra and gently spread the okra evenly in the pan. It is important not to crowd the pan whether you are using fresh or frozen okra.
Now leave in the pan to thaw out for a few minutes on a medium to high heat, but make sure that you turn the okra once to make su

Turn very occasionally until the okra is golden and starting to colour around the edges.

2) Drain onto kitchen paper and set aside.

3) Add the remaining 1/2 tbs oil into the same pan as the okra was fried and heat over a medium heat. once the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds, wait for them to pop like popcorn, then add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida (hing).

4) Then add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt and fry until they start to caramelize around the edges.

5) Then add the curry leaves, tomatoes, garlic paste, ginger paste, green chilli, chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder turmeric and cook until the tomatoes turn into a thick paste and and all of the moisture has been cooked away.


6) Add the sugar and the peppers and cook for another minute before adding the okra,

7) Sprinkle over some lemon juice and coriander and mix in. Check the seasonings before you serve and adjust to your taste.

8) Serve with basmati rice and chapati or paratha.

Please enjoy and share your thoughts............Many thanks!!! :-) :-) :-)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Green Peas Kachori Recipe


I absolutely LOVE these!! So does all of my family! We used to buy these a lot when we went shopping. I always used to ponder how these were made because the pastry coating was quite unusual. It has no cracks, but it is flaky and crisp. The filling comes in many different types of recipes depending on the region of India, and different personal tastes. As I say, my Husband and I have always preferred the peas filling, but I would say that the next most popular stuffing would be with lentils. Because these are such a winner in our family, I have decided to post the recipe with peas. I'm sure to blog about the lentil stuffing soon, because they are also too good to miss out on.

Another really good thing about this recipe is that it really is quick and easy to do. When we bought these little goodies they were too daunting to me to ever try and actually cook them.

My family and I were snacking on some peas kachories in a restaurant one day and we ended up having a conversation with a lady that was also dining at the same time. I had mentioned that we all loved them so much, but I wouldn't know where to start with them. Then the lady said to me "Oh my mother and I cook them all of the time with different fillings, but the pastry is so easy if you just do it all in a food processor! I have a pen in my bag, so I shall just jot down for you what we do" I was so chuffed to bits!! I thought that she was just going to write how to just make the pastry, but she very kindly gave me a nice short recipe on how to make a pea filling too!! WICKED!! I couldn't help wanting to go home straight the way and give the recipe a go!

I didn't get chance to try that day, but when I did, it was well worth the wait!!



Ingredients for the pastry:-

1 cup of plain flour (maida)
1 fairly rounded tbs gram flour
2 tbs suji (semolina)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil + 1 tbs
salt

For the filling....

2 1/2 cups boiled green peas,
1/2 - 3/4 tsp cumin seeds (*to taste)
1/2 - 3/4 tsp ajwain seeds (*to taste)
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp hing ( asafoetida )
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2- 1 tsp green chilli paste
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice ( or to taste )
salt

Directions for the pastry:-

1) In a blender, combine the oil, water and salt. Blend it on full power until the liquid has turned white.

2) The when you are ready with the flour, turn the blender on again and slowly add the flours and the suji. You should stop half way through to push all the mixture down from the sides with a spatula. When a ball forms, that's when the dough is ready. Give the dough a very gentle knead, just to bring into a smooth ball. Leave to one side while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:-

1) In a pan heat a tbs of oil onto a medium high heat. Once it is hot enough, add the seeds and hing. Let them sizzle for a few seconds before you add the cooked peas.

2) Stir fry the peas for a moment and then add the chilli and the garlic pastes. Stir fry the mixture on a low to medium heat for around 3-4 minutes.

3) Add the salt, sugar and the lemon juice and coarsely mash the peas and check the seasonings.


Assembly Directions:-

1) Divide the dough equally into small balls. Keep one ball to one side and cover the rest of the balls.

2) On a rolling board or flat surface, roll the dough out to be about the thickness of a poori. You really do have to make sure that the pastry is not too thin, but not too thick. I usually like to make up a sample one first and fry so that I can check the thickness and the overall taste of the kachori's. ( Any excuse to have a taste)

3) Once the dough is rolled to the desired thickness, place a heaped tbs of the pea mixture into the centre and carefully gather up the sides of the dough. Pinch the excess dough off the end and give the whole thing a roll with your hands so that it is a nice smooth ball with no edges. ( You can crimp the top for presentation, or you can make into patties like I have in the photo's) Leave to one side, and follow the last steps with the rest of the ingredients.

4) When they are all prepared, fry on a medium to hot heat until the are nice and golden. Oh yes and make sure that you don't fry more than two or three at a time.

Drain onto kitchen towels and serve with chutney.

Please feel free to share and thoughts, or how you make this dish. Any comments really make me happy!! ENJOY!!!! :-) :-) :-)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tandoori Potato recipe



The first time that I tried these delicious little morsels was at the local market. I was there shopping and it was a dull cold day. I had just dropped off my son at his nursery at the time, so i had been in a usual last minute rush so I hadn't even had time to grab any breakfast, so I was STARVING!!!! Just in the nick of time there was a market stall selling all sorts of home made spicy foods. I didn't even think about what to eat, i just said to the stall holder "I'll have one of those, one of those and one of those please!! When he put all of my goodies into a bag, the whole carrier bag was absolutely full to the brim!! He must of thought that i was a right greedy pig lol!! Never mind, I didn't care because it made my shopping sooo much easier!!

One of the goodies that was in the bag of joy, was some tandoori potatoes on skewers. My mouth watered when I saw them. They looked like shiny red jewels on a chain. When I tasted them it was just heaven! They were instantly one of my new favourite foods.

On the way home I popped into my local supermarket, I was looking in the world food section (as per usual,) and I noticed some tandoori paste. I had seen the paste before, but I never really paid to much attention to it before. Of cause I snapped the paste up and put it in my basket to buy.

When I got home, I had already got some pre cooked jersey royal new potatoes. They really are the best waxy potato! So I grabbed the ingredients, left to marinade and roasted just before the rest of the dinner was ready. They were different to the potatoes that I had had at the market, but they were equally just as delicious. So why don't you give them a go for yourself and let me know how you get on? :-) :-) :-)

Ingredients:-

About 10-20 new potatoes. It just depends on the size.
3 heaped tbs tandoori paste (of your choice)
2 tbs fresh yoghurt,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)
just a sprinkle of salt,
Fresh coriander for garnishing.

Directions:-

1) In a large bowl mix all of the above ingredients together, except the potatoes.

2) Then mix in the required amount of potatoes.

3) When every thing is thoroughly mixed in together and all of the potatoes are well coated with the mixture, cover with cling film and put them into the fridge to marinade for a couple of hours, or even over night. I only had time to marinade for a few hours but they were fine with that.

4) When you are just about ready to cook, preheat the oven to the hottest temperature your oven will go to. Give the potatoes one last mix, give the baking tray a drizzle of oil and then spread the potatoes evenly onto the tray.

5) Put the tray onto the top shelf of your oven and cook for 5-10 minutes turning once. You need to keep an eye on them once they are in the oven, because evry oven is different so cooking times may change dramatically!

6) Once they are cooked sprinkle over some fresh coriander and serve with salad and plane yoghurt.
I hope that you enjoy they as much as my family and I did, so why don't you let me know how you got on? :-) :-) :-)

Monday, 10 September 2012

layered butter paratha recipe




LAYERED PARATHA LAYERED PARATHA LAYERED PARATHA! This bread is so so amazing you could make a mantra or a chant from the name. It is that AMAZING!! You can absolutely guarantee that once you have made paratha, you will want to make it again and again. This bread is definitely one of the most popular breads there are around in India!!! They are so so versatile too! You can have them plane, with a meal or as a meal, stuffed with nearly every filling you can imagine. I think that the most popular filling is potato, but spinach, cauliflower, paneer, fenugreek and lots more, taste heavenly too, so you can always experiment with you own tastes and ideas. There are even different ways to prepare this heavenly bread. In this recipe, I have layered the paratha in this recipe, but you can just do this like a thick chapati. The only thing is, if yo cook it like a thick chapati, you perhaps need to cook it for a little longer. This is just because it can become chewy if it is too thick.


Ingredients:- serves 2-3

3/4 cup chapati flour,
a large pinch of salt,
hot water, (as required)
oil for drizzling,
butter or ghee for spreading and cooking.


directions:-

1) Mix together the flour with the salt, and then add enough water to make a smooth soft dough.

2) Drizzle a little oil on to the dough and rub the oil all around the dough ball. Leave to rest in a warm place for at least 15 minutes and also don't forget to cover it with cling film or a damp cloth.

3) Pre heat a tawa or a heavy bottomed pan on a medium to low heat. Next, give the dough another quick kneed and divide into equal portions, take one of the balls and place the rest back into the warm place, covered, just while you roll the dough.

4) Roll them out into a circle and about twice the thickness of a chapati. with the back of the spoon, spread some melted butter over the top, then fold it once, spread a little more butter onto the top of that half, and then fold again. Leave to one side and follow the same steps with all of the other dough balls.

5) When you are ready to roll, place one of the triangles onto the board and roll out to about the same thickness of a chapati, but try and keep everything tucked in nicely. ( This is just for presentation, so don't worry if you cant do this because it doesn't affect the flavour at all.

6) Once this is done, slap the rolled paratha onto the heat and cook until it changes colour slightly and you start to see little bubbles. Flip the paratha over and do the same as the other side, but this time you need to spread some butter onto the top of the paratha. Gently press the bubbles to encourage the paratha to puff up. Flip it over and spread some more butter and cook for a little while longer. You may need to flip the paratha several times to crisp them up.

7) Repeat the process until all of the paratha's are cooked. Keep them warm by wrapping them in tin foil.

Serve with your favourite curry.


Please feel free to add your comments and suggestions. I would be the happiest person in the world if you did! :-) :-)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Aloo Gobi Matar recipe ( potato, cauliflower and pea curry )


This such a great every day curry. It uses basic ingredients that you are definitely going to have already in your kitchen and it is very highly nutritious. The ingredients in this curry are the ones that you use every day, although if you want to have this for a special occasion you can always add a few more special spices.

This curry reminds me of when I first moved out of home and I hadn't really got a clue on how to cook for myself :-) When I used to go to my friends mothers house whom I lived with at the time, used to cook this dish a lot for us. This was to make sure that we were getting a good wholesome meal once a week. Manjula used to serve this dish with Gujarati kadhi and rice with chapati, although this does go with any bread. The last time I cooked this dish, I did it with layered paratha's. Every day I would eat it with chapatis but it really does taste amazing with poories! You should definitely try it!!

Ingredients:-
1 large potato, ( peeled and cubed )
6 nice sized florets of cauliflower, ( washed and boiled )
1-2 tomatoes ( washed and cut into 8th )
1 1/2 cups of green peas,
1/2 tsp garlic paste,
1/2 tsp ginger paste,
1 green chilli,
1/2 tsp mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
a large pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder,
1 tsp coriander cumin powder,
1 tsp sugar,
salt to taste,
fresh coriander to garnish.

Directions:-

1) Peel and cube the potato and the tomatoes and set aside. Boil the cauliflower.

2) Heat 1 tbs oil in a medium to large pan. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. Let them pop and then add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida.

3) Let them sizzle for a few seconds and then add the turmeric, chilli powder, salt and tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for about 3-5 minutes or until just staring to soften.

4) Add the potatoes and the sugar and stir well to coat with all of the spices. poor about a cup of hot water and simmer with the lid on at a very low temperature for about 15 minutes before adding the cauliflower and peas.

5) Simmer for about another 10-15 minutes, or until everything is nice and tender.

6) Check the seasoning and add the coriander.

Serve with kadhi, tomato rasam, rice and your choice of bread. As an extra treat serve with pickle and poppadoms. :-) :-) :-)

Please leave your comments and suggestions as this would make me the happiest person in the world!!! :-) :-) :-)






Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Idli Sambar Recipe


MMM, the aroma of this dish really is something else!! I really do insist on you making some home made masala powder when you are cooking this dish. I think that it is what makes the difference between home made sambar opposed to restaurant style sambar. Whenever I have eaten restaurant sambar it has always been far too watery and not enough vegetables. To be quite honest all of the restaurant don't really cut the mark for me. I don't want to sound greedy, it's just that there are never enough vegetables and it is always far too thin.... gasp of relief...the rant is over lol :-)

ingredients- For the sambar

To be roasted and then ground into a a fairly coarse powder:-

1-3 dried red chillies,
1 tbs coriander seeds,
1 tsp black mustard seeds,
1 tsp fenugreek seeds,
2 cloves,
2 cardamoms,
a small piece of cinnamon,
1/4- 1/2 tsp black pepper,
1 tsp channa dal,
1 tsp white urad dal,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric

(If you have these spices in powder form then you can add as a short cut but the spices definitely taste better if you use the whole spice.)

1 cup or about 100g toor dal, ( soaked in hot water for at least 1/2 hour in hot water,)
1 white potato, (cubed)
1 red sweet potato, (cubed)
2 carrots peeled and cut into rounds,
a fist-full of washed and trimmed green beans,
2 drumsticks chopped and boiled for bout 10 minutes
3-4 tomatoes puréed,
1/2 tsp mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
about 10-12 curry leaves,
1/2 tsp green chilli paste, or to taste
1 tsp ginger paste,
1 tsp tamarind paste to taste,
1 tbs sugar,
salt to taste,
fresh green coriander.

Directions:-

1) Roast the spices on a low to medium flame until they have turned a shade darker. Leave them aside on a cool plate or bowl to cool down completely. Once they have cooled down, grind them to a fairly coarse powder, but not too coarse.

2) while the spices are cooling, prepare the vegetables and boil or steam until nice and tender. Around ten minutes. Also pressure cook the toor dal for about 4-5 whistles in about 4 cups of water and some salt.

3) In the largest pan you have, heat 2-4 tbs oil and add the mustard seeds. Wait until they pop and then add the cumin seeds and curry leaves.

4) Add the tomato purée, garlic, chilli and ginger paste and cook until you start to see the oil separating from the mixture.

5) Lower the heat to low and add the powdered spices and give it a good stir.

6) Add the dal and give everything a really good mash together until the dal has turned all saucy.

7) Add the cooked veggies and mix well so that the sauce coats everything.

8) Add about 6-8 cups of water and the sugar. This water measurement is a rough measurement. Sambar is supposed to be fairly and soupy, but please, not too thin. Bring to the boil and simmer every thing together for around 20 minutes on a low heat.

9) Check the seasoning and add the tamarind if you think that it needs to be more sour. Remember that it needs to be fairly hot, sour, sweet, salty, so adjust these to your tastes.

Garnish with coriander and serve with idli's or rice. BUT! You really need to try idli once in your life !!! :-)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Tindora and Potato fry


This is a great part of a Gujarati thali! A complete thali always consists of rice, a curry with gravy, a stir-fried curry, kadhi, dal or both, pickles and maybe a pudding. I really am not a pudding person. I love my savouries, so this is why I haven't got an pudding recipe's on my blog yet, although I will work on that factor.

Anyway I feel like I'm wondering off the subject again like I do on all of my posts lol! All i want to say really about this recipe is that it is a really good daily staple. I really would eat it every day if I could, but these days i am cooking less and less fried food, I really am an addict to fried food you see! (my waist pays for it though! lol)

Ingredients:-

1 large potatoes peeled and cut into juliennes or thin wedges,
About the same volume in tindora, washed, trimmed and cut into juliennes.
1/2 tsp mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
a pinch of asafoetida,
a pinch of ginger paste,
1/2 tsp green chilli paste,
1/2 tsp garlic paste,
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp sugar (optional)
salt to taste
fresh coriander to garnish,
a splash of fresh lemon juice.


Directions:-

1) In a wok or a large frying pan, heat 2 tbs oil until it is hot enough to add the mustard seeds.

2) Then add the mustard seeds and fry them until they pop like popcorn.

3) Then add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida and fry for just a moment.

4)Add the potato and fry, covered until nearly half way done. Remember to give it a toss from time to time.

5) Add the tindora, give it a toss and cover again turning frequently.

6) I don't like the tindora too crispy but if you do, cook uncovered for longer, but what I do is turn up the heat a little and give it all a stir fry uncovered for about 5 minutes.

7) When it is cooked to your liking, add the chilli, garlic ginger pastes, turmeric coriander, salt and sugar. Give it a good toss about over the heat and then check the seasoning. Adjust to your taste and then add the coriander.

Serve with a curry that has a sauce or gravy and also salad, kadhi and chapati.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Easy Idli! (rice dumpling for sambar)



IDLI!! I have always loved the soft little clouds of fluffy delight. There is just something so satisfying about these seemingly simple dumplings from heaven!
For a long time I had only eaten these at restaurants and never really tried to cook them at home because the whole preparation thing, until I bought a bag of ready prepared idli flour! Not the ready mixed that you get in a box! I have tried these before and they really don't cut the mark so this is why I tried the bag of the properly milled mix. When I did it, it was so so easy and the out come was the best yet! The only downside really was the price. I don't want to sound like I'm being stingy, it just that I hate paying the high price of things that are ready prepared, when I can just put a tiny bit of prep, good results and half of the price! So, I thought that I would try to grind my own idli mix. The only downside to me doing this is, I only have a small grinder and i can't mix up anything wet into it. I have a food processor but it just doesn't seem to grind fine and evenly enough. I just use my processor for the convenience of chopping and grating food stuffs, although it is quite good for making coriander chutney! :-) But anyway! I thought that I could grind my own flour mix. So after much trial and error, I bring to you, my easy idli recipe!
P.S I will improve the photo soon because the idli's look yellow and they really are white! :-)

Ingredients:-

1 measuring cup of coarse rice flour,
1 tbs white urad dal,
1/8-1/4 fenugreek seeds,
1 tsp salt - or to taste,
1 tsp eno. (not to be mixed until the last minute.)

Directions:-

1) Grind the urad dal and the fenugreek seeds to a coarse flour. Sieve the flour to separate the ungrounded grains. Blend again if you need to.

2) Mix the ground mixture and the salt with the coarse rice flour and mix together well.

3) Mix enough hot water from the kettle to make a fairly thick batter. It should be about dropping consistency, but not quite poring consistency. You can always add some more hot water if the batter thickens. The amount of water was the thing that I have struggled with the most. I know that I haven't written a measure for the water, but I find that the measurement is different every time. I have also found that if you don't add enough water the batter will not ferment properly, but if you add too much water, the idli's will become a messy mush when cooked.

4) Leave to ferment over night in a warm place. Because I live in England, I leave my mixture in the airing cupboard over night or for about 11 hours.

5) when you start to see bubbles in the batter it is ready to cook.

6) Grease your idli moulds and set a large pan of water to boil. If you don't have an idli mould you can always use an egg poacher.

7) If you are using an egg poacher you will have to add the eno in batches. If you are using an idli mould add all of the eno and mix in quickly and then ladle the mixture in to the moulds.

8) Steam for about 8-10 minutes. You can check if the idli's are cooked through by sticking a knife into the thickest part. If the knife comes out clean with no creamy bits on it the idli's are cooked.

Enjoy with sambhar or tomato rasam.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Saag Aloo (spinach and potato curry)


I know I know!! I hear you say it.... not another potato dish!! I just cant resist them in a curry! I think that I fell in love with the whole spicy potato thing the first time I tried a home made vegetarian thali (which is a large metal plate which has either different sections or bowls containing different things like rice, curry, stir-fry, kadhi, dal, pickles etc. ) All of these combined deliver a really filling balanced meal, a real feast for the eyes and for the stomach!! Any-ways, back to the story!! The first time I had tried this dish was at a Gujarati friends house and her mother had cooked up a feast of lots of different things and this particular dish was my absolute favourite of these little bowls of treasure. I have eaten it so many times since, either at peoples houses or restaurants and I never get tired of it.

One of the things that I like so much about cooking is that you are doing it YOUR WAY!! you can make them completely to your taste (or your families if you have kids!) So I bring you my version of my favourite dinner. I am really quite pleased with the way the photo turned out too :-)

Ingredients:-

serves 4-6

4 large floury potatoes ( Peeled and cubed )
2 bags of freshly prepared spinach,
2 tomatoes washed and roughly chopped,
1 large onion finely chopped (optional)
1 heaped tsp garlic purée,
1 tsp grated ginger,
1-2 green chillies,
1/2 tsp mustard seeds,
a large pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp turmeric powder,
3/4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder,
1 1/2 tsp coriander cumin powder,
1 tbs finely chopped fenugreek leave or kasuri methi
2 tbs fresh coriander.
2 tsp lemon juice,
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste.
a dollop of butter (optional but delicious)

Directions:-

1)Heat the oil in a large pan. When it is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let them pop and crackle.

2)When they have popped, add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida, fry for a second before adding the onions if you are using. If you are not using onions then you can increase the amount of asafoetida.

3)Stir-fry until the onions turn translucent and then add the ginger, garlic and green chilli and saute for a minute or two without without colouring the garlic.

4)Then add the fresh coriander and methi (fenugreek) leaves and saute until the leaves have wilted

5)Add the tomatoes and cook until all nice and pulpy and some of the moisture has evaporated. Add salt and sugar if you haven't done already.

6)Add the powdered spices and a splash of water and stir in the cubed potato. Stir everything through.

7)In the mean time, prepare the spinach (if you need to) and chop very finely.

8)When the potatoes are just over half way cooked, add the chopped spinach and give it a stir. Cook until the potatoes are nice and tender. Check the seasoning and then add the lemon juice. (you should always keep checking the taste of the food so that you know if you have the right balance of seasoning ingredients.)

9)Adjust the level of salt, sugar and lemon juice if you need to and then sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Serve with dal or kadhi, rice and chapati. :-)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Home made Ghee


MMMMMMM!!!! I tell you, there is just something sooooo irresistible about home made ghee!! The smell, the taste it is just so fantastic! Home made ghee is so much better in every single way compared to the shop bought stuff. I have completely stopped buying the shop bought stuff - YUK. At the beginning of my cooking journey, I always used shop bought ghee, but ever since I made my first tub of home made ghee I have never looked back! Home made ghee is sooo much cheaper too. I bought a pot of ghee and it cost around £4.99 and to make the same amount at home it only costs £2!!!!! over half price!!

There are conflicting opinions about butter. Many people say that ghee has many, many health benefits and then other people say that it is bad for you. I must say that I am a believer that a little bit of everything is good for you. The thing is, some dishes just don't taste right unless you use ghee!!

Ingredients:-

2 blocks of shop bought unsalted butter. THAT'S IT!!!


Directions:-

1) Heat a saucepan over a low to medium heat and melt the butter.

2) Once all of the butter has melted, bring to a gentle simmer until the butter separates and you start to see a foam. This foam should go.

3) Keep simmering until another foam stars to develop and you see the white bits start to colour.

4) At this point the ghee needs to be strained straight the way, so either through a muslin cloth, or a strainer, poor the contents into a clean metal, or adequate container and leave to cool.

That's it!!! The ghee is ready!! :-) Use as required. :-) :-)

moong dal palak recipe ( spinach moong dal )


Again, this is such a comforting dish. It is essentially very similar to my split green moong dal recipe but with added health benefits of spinach!! Full of iron, full of protein, it is sooooo healthy it is incredible!!! don't let this put you of though with me saying how healthy it is, because it really is equally as yummy!! I promise that I will pop some nice photo's of this dish soon, so watch this space!! :-)

Here it is............

Ingredients:-
1 cup split green moong dal
1-2 cups of washed and chopped spinach. It must be fresh, not frozen or tinned!!
3 cups of water
1 tbs sunflower oil
1/4 tsp hing
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 green chilli's
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder- or to taste.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp garam masala
fresh coriander
1 tbs butter ( optional but really nice )

Directions:-

1) Soak dal in boiling water for 1/2 hour - 1 hour if you have time. If you don't have enough time to soak the dal you can always add some more water and cook for another whistle. Drain before cooking.

2) Heat the pressure cooker over a medium heat and add the oil

3) Add the cumin seed and asafoetida and just let them sizzle for a few seconds and then add the green chilli, turmeric and the ginger. Fry again for a few seconds.

4) Add the drained dal, spinach and the salt. Cover and cook for 3-4 whistles.

5) I like to let the steam escape naturally, because this keeps everything cooking slowly, but if you don't have time you can just run the pressure cooker under cold water until all of the pressure is released. Mash everything well with a potato masher.

6) Add the lemon juice, garam massala and the coriander. Mix well test the seasoning
and adjust to your taste.

Serve hot with chapatti's, cacumber ( onions, tomato and cuccumber salad ) and papads. Or plain and simple on it's own!!! UMMMMM

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Potato vada/batata vada/mashed potato fritter




This is a real special recipe! Everyone I know who has tried these amazing balls of wonder have always gone back for seconds, or maybe thirds..or forth... Basically i would make sure that you have time to make plenty of these because the will disappear like hotcakes!

Here we go!!.......

Ingredients:-

1 kg floury potatoes- boiled
About 10 cloves of garlic or a very large tsp of garlic purée,
1-2 green chillies,
about 7 fresh curry leaves,
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion diced,
a large pinch asafoetida,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbs fresh coriander,
1/2 tbs lemon juice or to taste,
1 1/2 tbs oil
salt to taste.

ingredients for the outer layer:-

1 cup sieved gram flour.
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
a pinch turmeric,
1/8 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste.

directions:- For the potato mixture.

1) Heat the oil in a pan over a medium to hot heat and add the mustard seeds. Wait until they pop like popcorn.

2) Add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida and let them sizzle for a second or so before you add the onions. Saute the onions until they are light brown.

3) Add the garlic, chillies and the ginger and stir for a few minutes

4) Add the lemon juice, salt, coriander and the turmeric and give it a quick stir before adding the potato.

5) Mash the potato into the mixture making sure that you leave some chunks of potato.

Test the seasoning to cheek if is your taste and a just if you need to.

6) Mix all the dry ingredients for the outer layer together and then slowly add enough water make a thick batter making sure that there are no lumps. I always check the consistency of the batter on the back of a spoon.

7) Heat enough oil in a pan to coat the vada's over a medium heat.

8) Roll the potato mixture into equal size balls an set aside.

9) Dip the balls into the mixture, making sure that they are well coated and then fry in the oil.

10) Fry 3 or 4 at a time but do not crowed the pan. You need to have space for the vada's to move around.

11) Fry each vada for a few minutes each, or until nice and golden. Make sure you turn each vada a few times to ensure even cooking.

I hope that you enjoy these little treasures as much as my family and friends.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Yellow moong dal (with a difference)


Yellow moong dal has always been one of my favourite dals and there are countless ways to cook this highly nutritious little gem. I have adapted this recipe from a traditional dry version called sukhi dal. I have changed it to suit my taste and methods of cooking because I was never really all that happy with the end result. I definitely prefer this dish to have a sauce, so you definitely can not call this dish sukhi dal. The other ways of cooking this dal is to completely obliterate the dal in a pressure until it is all smooth and silky. So, i just thought that this way would be a nice change, to have the dal retain its shape, but to have a nice gravy too.

So here is my delicious experiment.....

ingredients:-

1 cup yellow moong dal- rinsed and soaked for about 2 hours in hot water,
2-3 tbs oil
1 small onion (optional)
1 heaped tsp garlic purée,
1 tsp ginger paste,
1/2 tsp mustard seed,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
a large pinch of asafoetida,
3-4 curry leaves,
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (recommended to give a nice colour but you can use normal chilli powder)
1 tsp turmeric powder,
1 1/2 - 2 tsp coriander-cumin powder,
2 tsp sugar, or to taste,
1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste,
1 tsp salt, or to taste,
fresh green coriander.

Directions:-

1) When the two hours are up, drain the dal and heat the oil in a pan over a medium to hot heat.

2) Add the mustard seeds and cook until the pop before adding the cumin seeds and asafoetida.

3) Take off the heat and add the curry leaves. Fry for just a moment.

4) Add the onions, ginger, garlic and fry over heat until they start turning brown. (That's if you are using them)

5) Add the spices, sugar and about a cup of water. Bring to the boil and then add the moong dal.

6) Turn the heat down to low and cook with a tight fitting lid for about 15 minutes or until cooked.
But BEWARE!! Do not stir the dal until you put in the lemon juice and salt, but even then you only want to fold those ingredients in otherwise it will all turn to mush.

7) Check the seasoning and serve garnished with coriander. It goes really nice with plain boiled basmati rice and Healthy mixed vegetable curry.

Please enjoy and feel free to give advice, comments and experiences.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Stuffed mirchi bhaji recipe (stuffed chill pakora)


This is one of those recipes that get a craving for when it is a cold damp winters evening. The last time I made these, it was snowing outside and it was sooo cold and dark. Earlier that day I had been shopping and I stumbled across the beautiful banana chillies, they were so bright and green and firm, just like they are when you first pick them. So I bought them without a doubt in my mind what I was going to with them. The previous night I had made lots and lots of other snaky things, so stuffed mirchi bhaji just had to be top of the list to complete our feast!!!

I hope that you enjoy these as much as me!!!

ingredients for the outer layer:-

1 cup sieved gram flour.
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
a pinch turmeric,
1/8 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste,

Ingredients for the filling:-

1 kg floury potatoes- boiled
About 10 cloves of garlic or a very large tsp of garlic purée,
1/2 inch piece of grated ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger paste
1-2 green chillies,
about 7 fresh curry leaves,
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion diced,
a large pinch asafoetida,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbs fresh coriander,
1/2 tbs lemon juice or to taste,
1 1/2 tbs oil
salt to taste.

Directions:-

1) While the potatoes are boiling, mix all the dry ingredients for the outer layer together and then slowly add enough water make a thick batter making sure that there are no lumps. I always check the consistency of the batter on the back of a spoon.

2) Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, let them pop and then add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida and fry for a few seconds.

3) Take the pan of the heat and add the curry leaves. Let them sizzle for a second and then add the onion and saute until just starting to brown on the heat.

4) Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute or so.

5) Season with salt, turmeric, lemon juice and coriander.

6) Add the potatoes and coarsely mash into the spices. Leave aside to cool slightly.

7) While you are waiting, Heat a pan of oil over a medium to hot heat. (You need enough oil to coat the bhaji's.)

8) When the potato mixture is cool enough to handle, place a slit along the chillies, but make sure that you don't go all of the way through and stuff the chillies with the potato mixture, pressing down with your finger to make sure that the stuffing has gone all of the way through the chilli. Seal it together as best as you can.

9) Dip the chillies into the batter and dip into the oil. Fry for a couple of minutes until golden.

Serve the chopped onion, coriander, chutney and sev (optional)

Please feel free to comment on this dish. Maybe you could share your experiences with mirchi bhaji's? Thank you
:-) :-) :-)

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Aloo masala (versatile potato mixture)


This potato mixture is so versatile, I use it for so many different things like stuffed mirchi bhaji (chilli pakora), aloo paratha, dosa, batata vada etc..
I actually use quite a lot of garlic in this recipe, but you can omit if its not to your taste, but it really does make a difference to the dish because it becomes very mild once it has been cooked down and becomes all scrumptious.

Ingredients:-

1 kg floury potatoes- boiled
About 10 cloves of garlic or a very large tsp of garlic purée,
1-2 green chillies,
about 7 fresh curry leaves,
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion diced,
a large pinch asafoetida,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbs fresh coriander,
1/2 tbs lemon juice or to taste,
1 1/2 tbs oil
salt to taste.

directions:-

1) Heat the oil in a pan over a medium to hot heat and add the mustard seeds. Wait until they pop like popcorn.

2) Add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida and let them sizzle for a second or so before you add the onions. Saute the onions until they are light brown.

3) Add the garlic, chillies and the ginger and stir for a few minutes

4) Add the lemon juice, salt, coriander and the turmeric and give it a quick stir before adding the potato.

5) Mash the potato into the mixture making sure that you leave some chunks of potato.

Test the seasoning to cheek if is your taste and a just if you need to.

Enjoy the countless things you can do with this amazing mixture. On this opportunity i made potato vadas.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Gujarati sambharo



This is one of the best side dishes there is!!
I first savoured this dish when I was younger, from a restaurant in Leicester. It was a really hot summers day and we had been shopping down the "golden mile". This is an area in Leicester which is dripping in beautiful jewellery shops, saree shops and sweet marts. For me it is such and amazing place to shops. Anyway back to what I was saying!! I was shopping down Belgrave road and we stopped at one of the sweet marts to get some savoury snacks and they gave us two little pots with the snacks. In one was an amazing green chutney and in the other one was some sambharo. I loved it from the first mouthful. The lady who I was with noticed how I had woffed the whole lot down in one nearly, so she told me about her family recipe and wrote me a copy. When I cooked this recipe for the first time I did not follow her instruction to draw out the water from the vegetables with salt and the end result was still nice, but it did not taste anything like the real thing so I really do recommend that you follow that step, otherwise you will end up with a stir-fry!

Ingredients:-

1/2 white cabbage, stem removed, or 1 whole small cabbage
2 carrots peeled,
1 small onion or 1/2 large, peeled,
2-3 fat green chillies,
1 tsp
3 tbs oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds,
a pinch of cumin seeds,
1/4-1/2tsp asafoetida ( hing )
5-7 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbs lemon juice,
fresh coriander.

Directions:-

1) Shred all of the vegetables separately in an electric chopper.

2) Put the carrots and the cabbage into a large bowl and set aside for at least 1/2 hour.

3) After 1/2 hour, pick up large handfuls of the cabbage and carrots and squeeze out as much of the water as you can and put aside in a dry bowl. Continue this process until all the veg have been squeezed.

4) Heat a wok over a medium to high heat with the oil and add the mustard seed. Wait until they pop and then add a pinch of cumin seeds and the asafoetida.

5) Take the pan off the heat and add the curry leaves.

6) Add the onion and the chillies and return to the heat. Fry until the onions turn translucent.

7) Turn the heat down to low and add the turmeric and the lemon juice.

8) Add the vegetables and mix in on a low- medium heat for a few minutes.

Garnish with coriander and serve hot or cold. This recipe is really nice with mixed vegetable pakora's, or aloo paratha and yoghurt.

Please feel free to post your opinions or advice. Thanks!! :-) :-) :-)

4)

Poori recipe (Yummy puffed up bread)



Poori's are one of my all time favourite breads in the world! They really do go with everything and they are a definite winner at any good party or festival! In fact they are the BEST breads for making on masses because you can roll out the disc's and lay them on a plate in a single layer so that they are fast when it comes to frying them all up.

Like chapati's there are a few factors that make the perfect poori. I really do find that you need the dough to be HARD! Otherwise the wont puff up properly and they will be oil soaked. I ALWAYS use some course semolina to help them crisp up. The last important thing you have to do is do NOT let the dough rest! It is always better to fry them as soon as you can after making the dough. I hope I haven't made it sound to hard to make because these breads are really good fun to cook and your kids will be so exited when the watch them puff up like a balloon. So go on... give my recipe a go and tell me what you think, because this way works for me every time!! :-) :-) :-)

Ingredients:-

to make about 6 poori's

1/2 cup chapati flour,
1 tbs course semolina,
a large pinch of salt,
about 1 1/2 tsp of oil,
enough water to make a hard/firm dough.

Directions:- Pre heat a small pan of oil on a medium heat. You need a few inches deep of oil.

1) Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add all of the ingredients except for the oil and mix well.

2) Add the water SLOWLY and knead the dough together until it forms a hard dough. It needs to be hard because you don't want to use any extra flour when you are rolling them out.

3) Roll out the dough to be a few millimetres thick. They need to be thicker than chapati's.

4) Test the oil with a small piece of dough and if the dough floats to the top when you put it in the oil should be ready. Teat the sample to see what you think.

5) Slide the poori gently into the oil, lightly pressing the poori to encourage it to puff up. When it is fully puffed, after a second gently turn over the poori to fry the other side.

6) Fry on that side for a few moments before draining on kitchen paper and serve immediately with your favourite curry but goes especially nice with prawn curry or Gujarati aloo

Chora nu shaak recipe. (Black eye beans or Lobia)

This is a real comforting, but also a healthy dish to eat. When I cook this dish you can guarantee there will never be any scraps left because it is sooooo good!. It's also a really good dish for the kids to have to because if they like baked beans then they will definitely like this dish. Black eye bean are so so full of goodness to! They are low in calorie's, high in fibre, high in protein so they are excellent for vegetarians, mega high in potassium which is good for the heart and a massive amount of zinc and iron, making them power houses for nutrition! It is also Very delicious so go on! give it a go and let me know what you think. :-) :-) :-)

Ingredients:- Amounts can be doubled for a family.

1 tin of black eye beans,
2 tbs extra mild olive oil or sunflower oil,
1 medium onion - blended,
1 small tin of chopped tomato,
1 heaped tsp garlic paste- or to taste,
1 green chilli - or to taste,
1 tsp ginger paste,
5-6 curry leaves,
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds,
1/4 tsp cumin seeds,
a pinch of asafoetida (hing) - optional,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder or to taste,
1/4 tsp garam masala.
salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Fresh coriander and spring onions for garnishing.

Directions:-

1) Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium to hot heat. Then add the mustard seeds and let them pop and crackle.

2) Then add the cumin seeds and asafoetida and let them sizzle.

3) Take off the heat for a moment and add the curry leaves. Give them a stir.

4) Add the onion, garlic, ginger and the green chilli and cook until the onions are just starting to brown.

5) Then add the tinned tomatoes and cook the mixture down until it is a thick paste.

6) Add the spice powders, the sugar and the beans and give it all a good mix to coat the beans well.

7) Add sufficient water and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, then check the seasoning and adjust if you need to.

Serve with rice and chapati's or poori's
Garnish with coriander and spring onions.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Aloo Paratha recipe



This is one of those dishes that i really get cravings for! and when i say cravings, I mean CRAVINGS!! it is sooo delicious. The filling recipe is not the usual potato filling so i think you should have a go and tell me what you think. :-)

For the filling:-

2-3 potatoes - Boiled and mashed
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbs oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red chilli powder or 1-2 fresh green chillies
2 tbs chopped fresh coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2-1 tsp amchoor powder ( dry mango powder) or 1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garam masala, ( this is traditional, but i use samosa garam masala)
chaat masala (optional)
salt

About 1 1/2 cups of chapati flour,
water ( enough for a soft dough,)
1 tbs oil
a pinch of salt.

Directions:-

1) Make the dough, the same as you would for chapati's

2) Heat the oil and when the oils is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop.

3) then add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a second before adding the green chilli (if using) and the onion. Cook them until they are just starting to brown.

4) Add the potato's, spices and the coriander, check the seasoning and leave to cool.

5) When the mixture is cool enough to touch, roll it out into equal sized balls and set aside.

6) Divide the dough into the same amount of equal portions.

7) Roll the dough into circles, they need to be a bit thicker than a poori.

8) Place a ball of the stuffing into the centre of the dough and then start to gather up the sides of the dough until completely sealed. Pinch off the excess dough.

9) Flatten slightly with your hands and gently roll out to your desired thickness, but I prefer to keep them thick, almost like a pancake. Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients.

10) On a pre heated tawa or frying pan (medium heat) place one of the paratha's on to the heat and cook for about 40-60 seconds, then flip over and give it a quick spread of butter and fry for about the same time. Keep flipping and buttering until nicely cooked and quite crispy. You should only have to do it 3 or 4 times, or to your personal taste.

Garnish with coriander and serve with sambharo, yoghurt and pickles.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Green pea curry ( In a tomato a cashew nut sauce)

This recipe kind of happened by accident really. One day i was making mutter paneer and half way through, when the sauce was done and the pea's had cooked, I tasted some of the curry. I thought and so did my hasband that it was a good and satisfying dish all by it's self, so we disided to eat it as it was and save the paneer for something else. It really was delicious so give it a go yourself!!!!

Ingredients:-

1 1/2 cup of frozen green peas

To be blended together:-

3 tbs cashew nuts - soaked in boiling water 1/2 hour
1 small onion
1 inch fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves

Other:-
2 tbs oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
3 bay leaves
3 tbs fenugreek leaves (methi)
3 tbs fresh coriander (hari dhania)
220g tin of tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2- 1 tsp Punjabi garam masala or normal.
1 tsp sugar (optional)
salt to taste
2 tbs butter
fresh coriander to garnish.

Directions:-

1)Heat the oil in a pan on a medium to high heat.

2)Add the cumin seeds and the hing and stir fry for a for second before adding the bay leaves. Fry for just a moment.

3)Add the onion paste and fry for about 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has turned a few shades darker.

4)Add the tomatoes and the leaves and cook until all of the tomatoes have mixed into a thick paste and the oil separates.

5)Add a splash of water and also all of the powdered spices. Cook for a minute or so.

6)Add the sugar and salt, mix well. Then add the green peas and cook for a couple of minutes with out a lid, making sure that you give it a little stir to prevent it from sticky.

7)Garnish with coriander.

Serve with naan or chapatis

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Mirchi Bhaji (Green chilli pakora)


This is one of those little delicious nibbles that you crave on cold winter evenings as a comforting, warming supper. It is also so versatile it is incredible! The first time i ever had this tasty little morsel, it was just served plain and just with some coriander and mint raita, so this is my favourite way of serving it and it is the quickest and most convenient way to serve them. Although, if you want something a little more exiting, you can split the chilli's and sprinkle your favourite spices inside....If you want something really exiting and tasty you can stuff them with a potato masala and sprinkled with onion, chutneys and chat masala!!! MMMMM my mouth is watering so much as I'm typing, I think I'm going to have to make some of this right now!! So here is what I did for a quick chilli hit tonight, but I will post a stuffed chilli recipe soon :-)

Ingredients:-

10-12 chilli's of your taste, personally I use the long green finger chillies that you use for pickling, or green banana chillies.Sliced but not cut in half.

1 cup sieved gram flour.
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
a pinch turmeric,
1/8 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste,

Completely optional:-
chaat masala,
garam masala,
cumin powder,
amchoor powder (dry mango powder)
salt

Or aloo masala (spiced potato)

Directions:- pre heat a pan with enough oil to coat the chillies on a medium heat.

1) This step is optional, but if you prefer a milder taste, run your knife along the chilli ensuring that you don't slice the chilli in half (You should do this to all of the chillies even if you are not pre- boiling them,) boil the chillies in very salty water for 2-5 minutes and cool before dipping into the batter.

2) Mix all of the first 5 of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix in enough water to make a nice thick batter.

3) Dip the chillies into the batter and then fry on a medium heat for a few minutes, turning once and then drain onto kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining chillies.

serve with finely chopped raw onion and chutney's and pickles of your taste. ENJOY!! :-)


Friday, 18 May 2012

Mastering Chapati





This is an unleavened flat bread that is an absolute daily essential part to any home made curry! They go with EVERYTHING and can even make a nice healthy snack if you spice them up a little.

In India, chapati's replace the need of knives and forks. To eat with these, all you do is rip of a small part of the chapati, scoop up the delicious curry and shove it all in!! HEAVEN!!!

The say that it takes years and years to perfect the art of chapati making and I can certainly believe that tale! It has taken me years of practice to get to where I am now, but I am far from perfect. I think that the problem I have is that I don't have a gas cooker, so the puffing up can be a little inconsistent. If you have an electric cooker like myself, it is easier to make these puff up with a "dabba" which is in one of my pictures, or if you don't have one of these, you can use a damp cloth or a spatula, but a dabba works the best.

Ingredients:- for 3-4 people

1/2 a cup of Chapati flour ( I use the fine gold variety)
a pinch of salt
1 tbs oil
Enough warm water to make a soft but not sticky dough

Directions:-

1) Boil the kettle and let it cool slightly

2) While this is happening, sieve the flour into a large bowl and mix the salt and the oil in completely using your fingers to feel for any lumps.

3) Then slowly start to work in the water until it is a smooth dough. I always say the wetter, the better but not sticky!

4) Leave in a warm place covered with another bowl, or cling film for at least 1/2 hour. I usually make my dough before dinner and then make them all up at the end. This will just save your time but do what works best for you.

5)When the dough is ready it should have softened up, but if it is cold weather, i think it helps to just wizz the dough up in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds helps to soften up.

6) Pre heat a tawa, or a thick bottomed frying pan an a medium to hot heat while you are rolling the dough out. When you roll the dough out, don't worry to much about the shape, you just need to concentrate on getting the chapati dough absolutely level! no creases or slight uneven parts otherwise you bread will not puff up properly. so when I have finished rolling the dough out I always just go back over it with a regular rolling pin. This is only if you are using an Indian rolling pin. A good trick to see if it is completely level is to hold it up against the light quick.

7) When your bread is rolled out to be about 2mm thick and you are happy with the shape, ( traditionally circular ) slap it onto the heat and wait until it changes colour slightly and little bubbles start to appear.

8) Flip the chapati over and do the same thing but maybe just a few more second on this side than the other, so wait until you see larger bubbles forming.

9) Flip it over again and with your dabba, damp cloth or whatever you are using, kind of try and spread the air pockets around so that the whole thing puff's up like a balloon.

10) Place the chapati onto a piece of foil and spread lightly with butter.

11) Repeat the process with the rest of the dough, keeping the dough and the chapati's covered to prevent them from drying out.

Enjoy with your favourite curry.

Please comment and your advice is greatly appreciated. :-) :-)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Perfectly cooked Basmati rice



I'm sorry about the dodgy photo lol!!! I will change it soon, it was taken late at night! Anyway I thought I would post about plain and simple basmati rice, because surprisingly such a simple thing could be such a problem to cook for beginners. It took me so many attempts get to nice fluffy rice instead of either little pellets or sludge.

Once you know how to cook this delicious staple, you will be cooking it all of the time, as a side dish for everything.

Serve it plain, or spice it up for a special occasion. I will post some spicy rice dishes soon. SO WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Ingredients:-

Equal amounts of basmati rice and water,
A pinch of salt.

Directions:

1) Wash the rice, in a colander really really well under cold running water until the water runs clear.

2) This step is not essential, but I think that you will end up with a better end result, is to now leave the rice in a colander on the draining board to dry out. It doesn't take as long as you think to dry and you can be getting on with the rest of the dinner while it dries.

3) When the rice is dry and the grains are not stuck together, put in to a small saucepan with the same quantity of water and bring to the boil adding a pinch of salt.

4) The moment it reaches boiling point, turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
Cook with a tight fitting lid until all of the water has evaporated.

Remember to taste the rice to see if it is cooked properly.
And serve with anything!!! :-)

Please leave your comments, as they are much appreciated. :-) :-) :-)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Tomato Rasam recipe

There really is no better and more comforting side dishes for me. I think the reason why is that it was one of the first REAL Indian dishes that i had tried. It was steaming hot, served on top of fluffy basmati rice with fresh green coriander sprinkled over the top. This was also the first time that i had ever tried fresh coriander too. I had fallen in love instantly with real Indian food and I just wanted more, but I was to polite and shy to ask, as their was a family of three boy's and two adults in the house to feed, so I think that at first they were being polite when they fed me, so I did not ask for more. The lady that cooked this meal for her family was an absolute genius and a complete inspiration to me. I really wish that I took up the many invitations to learn how to cook these spectacular dishes, but of course the situation at the time was difficult to say the least, so like a plum, I never did except the once in a life time opportunity and learn from the best, but we learn from our life experiences and we can only correct them when we realise that we can. Take every opportunity as you can and live life to the full, no mater what your passion is it is achievable even if you know nothing from the start. Here is my attempt of learning from scratch to absolute comfort.

Ingredients:-

4 tbs of red lentils - rinsed, boiled and puréed in a blender. (This is untraditional in this recipe but I think that it add extra flavour and health benefits.)
1 tbs oil and 1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dried red chilli's
4-6 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
1 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon or cassia bark
1 tsp ginger purée
3/4 tsp garlic purée
1 green chilli
about 10-13 curry leaves
1/4- 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
3 tbs freshly chopped coriander
3-4 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped finely
1/2 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of home-made rasam powder or to taste.
2 tsp of sugar, or 1 tsp of jaggery
1 tsp of tamarind paste or to taste

Directions:-

1) Heat the oil on a medium heat in a pan and add the mustard seed and wait until they pop.

2) Add the hing and let it sizzle,

2) Then add the cumin seeds, red chilli, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, green chilli, curry leaves and stir for about 30 seconds off the heat to make sure that the mixture does not burn.

3) Then add the fresh coriander and stir fry until the coriander wilts.

4) Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until all nice and pulpy and the oil separates.

5) Add the rest of the powdered spices and cook for another minute.

6) Add the sugar or jaggery and add your desired amount of water. Maybe around 1-2 pints depending on how you like it.

7) Add the tamarind and green coriander, mix and check the seasoning.

Serve as a soup or on top of rice.

DHOKLA!!!!



This is a really traditional Gujarati recipe. It is probably one of the most popular snacks around.

The way that I would describe this dish to people that have never tasted it, well its one of the most delicious things that i have ever tasted! It is a moist, spongy, crumbly, savory, delicately spiced piece of heaven. This dish can take a lot of preparation if you are not used to Indian cooking, but i can assure you that is well worth the effort!

Again, but like most things, has taken me a bit of practice to get it right. There are definitively a few factors to the success of this dish, the size of the grain and the thickness of the batter i think, is the secret to this delicious dish. I also find that if there is not enough water and oil in the dish is dry, if there is too much water, the khaman will be dense and not enough air. Also another main factor is the fermentation process. You should really leave to ferment over night but it is ok if you only ferment for about 8 hours.

So here goes.....

Ingredients:-

1 cup of channa dal,
3 level tbs gram flour, or fine semolina,
2 tbs ground rice,
1/4 cup yogurt,
a few drops of lemon juice
2-3 tsp of sugar,
1 tsp of salt, or to taste,
1 green chilli,
1 tsp grated ginger,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3tbs oil.

To be added to the batter at the very last minute, 1 tsp of eno.

Seasoning ingredients:

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
a pinch of hing
1-2 green chilies either pureed or chopped finely.
about 10-12 curry leaves
1 tbs oil
dessicated coconut
fresh green coriander.

Directions :-

1) This step is optional, but really traditional and essential if you don't have some type of grinder.
Soak the dal in tepid water for about 4-6 hours and then grind to a coarse paste, adding some of the water from the soaking process into the food processor. You don't want to add too much water otherwise it will be hard to get the right consistency of the grain and the batter. The batter should be dropping consistency, but very nearly poring consistency. If you don't have time for this you can grind the channa dal into a coarse flour, a similar consistency to coarse semolina.

2) Add the flours with the salt, sugar, turmeric, ginger, yoghurt, green chilli and lemon juice, mix well ensuring that there are no lumps and transfer the paste into a metal bowl ( for some reason a metal bowl helps with the fermentation process) and cover with cling film, ensuring that you pop a couple of air holes into the cling film to allow a bit of air at the batter, but not too many as you don't want to dry the batter out.

3) Because i live in a cold climate, i put the bowl into my airing cupboard overnight to ferment. Or if you have a light in your oven you can leave it in there to ferment with the light on. If you can, leave the batter over night or for at least 8 hours.

4) When the batter is ready you should see tiny bubbles on the top. What i sometimes do if i am not to sure of the consistency of my batter i will check it after 5 hours and see if there are any bubbles starting to appear. If there isn't any and the batter looks to thick, I add a splash of boiling water, but be careful of how much you add as you don't want a watery batter. Then i will leave it for a few more hours to finish fermenting.

5) Make sure that you have a deep pan of water on the ready, and maybe use something to balance your cake tin on, if you are using one instead of a dhokla steamer. If you have a dhokla steamer, lightly grease, but if you don't you can use a small round cake tin lightly greased.

6) Gently but quickly mix in the eno, then immediately put into the pan for steaming.

7) If your dhokla's are done in shallow dhokla trays then I would steam for about 10-15 minutes.
If you have steamed the dhokla in a cake tin then probably steam for 15-20 minutes. To check if the dhokla is done, stick a knife into the centre and if it comes out clean then the dhokla is cooked.

For the seasoning:-

1) Heat a pan with the oil and when it is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. Let them pop

2) Add the hing (asafoetida) and let it sizzle for a second and then add the curry leaves, chillies and the sesame seed and give it a stir for about 20 seconds or until the sesame seeds look slightly toasted.

3) Pour evenly over the dhokla's and spread about.

4) Sprinkle over some coconut and coriander. And serve with coriander chutney or tamarind chutney.

ENJOY!!! :-))))))

Please give you comments and advice on my recipes as this would make me soooooooo happy!!!!