Friday, October 25, 2013

Green green Mutton

Mutton hara masala
Juicy and tender pieces of mutton are infused with aromatic spices and enriched with a large amount of greens and herbs to make this delectable curry. Fenugreek, spinach, mint, coriander and dill all contribute their earthy green flavors to the dish. Meat cooks in a gravy infused with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and peppercorns till tender. Try to use all types of greens here as each has a unique taste. A very impressive dish to serve at your next dinner party with naan, roti or rice. 

Ingredients: (Generously serves 4)
2 lb Mutton
1/3 cup kasuri methi
1 lb spinach
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 cups fresh coriander
handful fresh dill
4-6 green chilies
2 medium Onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
Red chili powder to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
3 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Whole spices (dry roast and grind coarsely)
1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander seeds
1/2 inch cinnamon
5 cloves
1 black cardamom
2 green cardamom
few peppercorns
  1. Microwave the spinach till it is lightly cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Grind all the fresh greens (cooked spinach along with its water, mint, dill and coriander) into a smooth paste. Keep aside 
  2. Marinate the mutton in yogurt, salt, chili powder and turmeric for 2 hours. 
  3. Heat oil and add coarsely ground spices, saute for 2 seconds. Add kasuri methi and onions and saute till onions turn pink. Add ginger garlic paste and continue to saute till the entire mixture turns light brown. 
  4. Add the marinated mutton and continue frying for another 5-10 minutes. 
  5. Add 1/2 cup water and pressure cook for 10 minutes on simmer after the whistle. 
  6. Once the pressure is released, put the cooker back on low flame and cook the meat until the oil separates, 
  7. Add the ground greens and cook for 3 minutes max to incorporate the green flavor in the meat. If you cook longer then it will change color. 
  8. Serve with roti or naan. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chicken burrito bowl

This is a deconstructed burrito, largely inspired by Chipotle's burrito bowl. Rice is aromatic with a wonderful lime flavor, black beans are simmered in garlic and cumin, peppers have a charred grilled taste, corn adds the sweetness. I have listed several toppings and you can choose all or a few to make this your own. Omit chicken to make it vegetarian. 

Ingredients: (serves 4 generously)
For the Lime cilantro rice:

1 cup cooked white rice
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp lime zest
  1. Toss the rice with the cilantro and lime zest. Set aside.
For the Black Beans:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp olive oil
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan and add garlic. Saute for 10 seconds and add the drained beans. 
  2. Season with cumin powder and chili flakes. Set aside.

For the Fajita peppers:
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1/4 red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
cracked black pepper
  1. Cut the peppers and onion in long strips. 
  2. In a pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot add garlic and oregano. Saute for 10 seconds and add all the veggies. 
  3. Toss on high heat till they char a little. Season with pepper and salt(optional). Set aside.

For the Corn:
1 fresh corn (kernels stripped)
1 jalapeno minced
Juice of 1 Lime
2 tbsp cilantro chopped
pinch Salt
1/2 tsp olive oil
  1. Heat oil and toss the corn, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper together for 2 minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat and keep aside.
For the Guacamole:
1 avocados
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mash the avocados with the lime juice, garlic, and salt. Season with pepper. Adjust with more lime juice if necessary to taste.
For the Chicken:
2 chicken breasts
Salt to taste
2 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried leaf oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  1. Season the chicken breasts with salt. 
  2. Mix all the other spices and coat the seasoned chicken breast generously with the spice mix. 
  3. Grill the marinated chicken on a moderately hot grill till crisp and brown on the outside and fully cooked to the inside. 
  4. Remove from grill. Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice at a diagonal.
For pico de gallo:
1 large diced tomato
1/2 diced medium sized red onion
1/4 bunch of cilantro (use more or less depending on your taste)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tsp of salt
1 jalapenos (or more if you prefer it hotter)
  1. Mix up all ingredients and keep at room temperature for half an hour to let flavors blend in.
Other Toppings:
4 tbsp Sour Cream (I used hung yogurt)
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
Finely chopped Jalapeno pepper
Hot habanero sauce (optional)
Shredded iceberg lettuce

To Assemble:
  1. In a bowl, add a scoop of rice, and top with a scoop of beans, fajita peppers, corn, chicken, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Use habanero sauce as per your spice quotient.
  2. Use all or some of the other toppings to make this your own. Many combinations are possible and each family member can get a customized meal.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Moong dal halwa

Moong dal halwa is a traditional sweet dish popular in Rajasthan. It is made during the festive season (Rakshabandhan, Diwali, etc) and for weddings. This delectable combination of coarsely ground moong dal, slow-roasted in ghee with hints of saffron and pistachios makes for an ideal winter dish.

This calorie dense dish requires a lot of preparation time including patience to roast dal on low heat, but the result is well worth the effort. When making this dish, here are some things to keep in mind.
  1. Grind the moong dal coarsely with as little water as possible to ensure a proper texture of the finished product. 
  2. Addition of a teaspoon each of semolina and chickpea flour, in the beginning, helps to prevent the moong dal from sticking to the bottom of the pan while roasting.  
  3. Always cook and roast at low to medium heat, stirring constantly and patiently. 
  4. Do not skimp on the ghee. It is required for proper roasting and correct texture of the halwa. 
Ingredients: (5 servings)
1/2 cup dhuli moong dal (dehusked, washed yellow moong dal)
1/2 cup clarified butter (ghee)
1 tsp semolina
1 tsp besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup water
Few strands saffron soaked in 1 tbsp milk
5 green cardamom (skin removed and powdered)
1 tbsp each almonds and pistachios (crushed)
  1. Soak moong dal for 4 hours. Drain and grind it coarsely using very little water. 
  2. Mix water, milk, and sugar together in a pan and bring to boil. Add saffron and cardamom powder. Keep aside. 
  3. Heat ghee in a pan and add semolina and besan. Roast for a minute, then add the moong dal paste. Roast the contents on a low flame, stirring continuously till it becomes golden brown and imparts a cooked roasted aroma. 
  4. This process requires a lot of patience. So take your time and roast it well. This is the most important part of this recipe. 
  5. Add the warm sugar mixture to the roasted dal and stir continuously to avoid any lumps.  Mix till all the moisture has been absorbed and continue roasting on low heat till ghee separates from the sides. 
  6. Remove from flame and add the chopped nuts. Serve hot.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rajasthani thali

Tonight's Menu

Mint lemonade (पुदीना शिकंजी)
Yogurt (मसाला दही)
Besan ke gattey (गट्टे की सब्जी)
Panchmel dal (पंचमेल दाल)
Besan wali arbi (बेसन वाली अर्बी)
Patori besani mirch (पटोरी बेसनी मिर्च)
Garlic chutney (लहसुन की चटनी )
Papad (पापड़)
Bikaneri bhujiya (बीकानेरी भुजिया)
Millet roti (बाजरे की रोटी)
Rice (चावल)
Moong dal halwa (मूंग दाल का हल्वा)

Rajasthani Thali

Located at the northwest side of India, Rajasthan, with its rich cultural heritage, is a land of vibrant colors, attractive palaces, breath-taking architecture and scrumptious cuisine. Primarily vegetarian, the food and cooking style is hugely influenced by the dry climatic conditions of this desert land and the traditional warrior lifestyle of its inhabitants. 
Water and fresh green vegetables are at a premium. Most dishes are cooked in minimum amounts of water. Butter, ghee and buttermilk are used liberally. Spice levels are high and red chili both dry and fresh is used in large quantities. They say heat (मिर्ची) beats the heat (गर्मी). Gram flour (बेसन) is one of the key ingredient used in a number of dishes such as gattey (गट्टे की सब्जी), kadhi (कढ़ी), Mirch pakoda(मिर्ची के पकोड़े). Legumes and pulses are used in a variety of ways such as panchmel dal, mangori (मंगोड़ी). Popular veggies are ker sangri (केर सांगरी) and guar phali (गार की फली). Sweet dishes form a significant part of Rajasthani delicacies. In fact when the meal is served, sweets arrive first. Ghevar(घेवर) of Jaipur, mava kachori(मावा कचोरी) of Jodhpur, malpua(मालपुआ) of Pushkar, sohan halwa(सोहन हलवा) of Ajmer are the most well known. Spicy and tangy accompaniments to enhance your taste buds include garlic chutney(लहसुन की चटनी), tomato chutney (टमाटर लौंजी), mint chutney (पोदीने की चटनी), mango chutney (आम की लौंजी). 

Besan ke gattey
Panchmel dal
Panchmel dal
Ingredients: (serves 6)
1/4 cup chana dal (Split Bengal gram)
1/4 cup sabut moong dal (Whole green grams)
1/4 cup dhuli urad dal (Split black gram skinless)
1/4 cup toor/arhar dal (
Split pigeon pea
1/4 cup masoor dal (Whole red lentils)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder 

1 tsp coriander powder 
1 tsp green chilli-ginger paste
1 tbsp Oil

2 tsp ghee
Pinch hing (Asafoetida)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds Cumin seeds
4-5 whole cloves
2 dried red chilies broken
Red chili powder to taste
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
Fresh coriander leaves chopped

  • Soak dals in 4 cups of water for minimum two hours. 
  • Take soaked dals with the water in a pressure cooker and add turmeric, salt, oil,  coriander powder and chili ginger paste. Pressure cook till done (simmer for 15 minutes after the whistle).
  • Heat ghee in a pan. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds, cloves and dry red chilies  When cumin seeds start to change color, add tomatoes and saute till oil leaves the side of the pan. 
  • Add red chili powder and the cooked dals, and water if required. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring well. Add garam masala powder and serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Besan wali Arbi (बेसन वाली अर्बी)
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
1 lb Arbi (Colocasia - Taro Root)
2 tbsp gram flour(बेसन)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp dry mango powder(अमचूर)
red chili powder to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Oil for frying
Lime juice to taste
fresh coriander chopped to serve
For baghaar (तड़का)
1 tsp oil
3/4 tsp carom seeds (अज्वैन)
1/2 inch ginger julienne 
fresh green chili (optional)
  • Thoroughly wash arbi and place in a pressure cooker with some water to boil. Turn off the heat after 1 whistle and let the steam escape on its own before opening the cooker.
  • Let the boiled arbi cool enough to handle comfortably.
  • Meanwhile in a shallow dish mix together gram flour, salt, chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and dry mango powder.
  • Peel boiled arbi and slice them into thin rounds. Dunk each slice in the prepared spice mixture and keep aside.
  • Shallow fry these slices on both sides till crisp. Do not overcrowd the pan.
  • At this stage you can serve these as a crisp snack. OR
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add carom seeds, roast for 2-3 seconds, add ginger and green chili followed by fried arbi slices. 
  • Turn off the heat and sprinkle lime juice. Mix well. Serve garnished with fresh chopped coriander.
Patori besani mirch
Bajre ki roti (pearl millet)
Bajre ki roti
Ingredients: (makes 8 large)
1 1/2 cups bajra flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
salt to taste
Extra dry flour to roll the dough
Butter or ghee to serve
  • Take the two flours in a deep bowl and add salt.
  • Use water as needed to make a smooth and pliable dough. Knead for 2-3 minutes and let it rest covered in a damp paper towel for 5 minutes. 
  • Divide the dough in to 8 equal portions and roll them in in your palm into a smooth ball, flatten.
  • Press the dough in dry flour and using a rolling pin roll them into thick 6" diameter circles.
  • Cook these on a hot tava (griddle) till both sides turn golden brown. Press lightly with a spatula to help even heat distribution. 
  • Serve with a dollop of white butter and lehsun ki chutney (see below).
Lehsun ki chutney (chillie garlic chutney)
Lehsun ki chutney (chillie garlic chutney)
5 fresh red chillies
4-5 cloves garlic
1 tsp olive oil
Blend all the ingredients to make a fine paste.  If required use very little water. Enjoy with bajra roti (above).