Friday, March 27, 2015

Vegan Kadhi

Vegan Boondi kadhi 

For all the Kadhi lovers out there, who are now Vegan, here is a keeper recipe. Try this non dairy version of kadhi and you will love it. If you aren't on a vegan diet, you could still try, its always great to have a variety in your meals. 
I have used thick coconut milk instead of yogurt and sourness comes from a combination of lime and tamarind juices. Use these as per your sour taste quotient. Also instead of making pakode I added boondi. This helps reduce the cooking time while not compromising on the taste. You can omit boondi and add pakode instead, just make sure to boil them in the kadhi for some time to get the soft melt in your mouth flavour.

I created this recipe for a friend of mine who commented on my Punjabi Kadhi post - 

"OMG, I love Kadhi. It was one of my favorites dishes. I miss it so much! This, and sarson ka saag and makki di roti. I wonder if they can be "veganized". Ahhh... memories of yore. Those Sunday afternoons, sitting in the veranda bathed in the winter sun, piping hot chai, and endless array of savory delicacies..... glorious bygone days....."

I HAD to create a vegan version after reading this. So this one is for you Deepak Ghosh.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
400 ml thick coconut milk
6 tbsp besan 
4-5 cups water (depending on the desired thickness)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp panchporan (blend of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, onion seeds, methi seeds, fennel seeds)
2 tsp ginger grated
2-3 green chilies chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder (optional)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp lime juice
1-2 tbsp tamarind juice
1 cup boondi (store bought)
Handful fresh coriander leaves finely chopped.
For tadka or tempering
1 tbsp olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic grated
1/2 tsp red chillie flakes
  1. In a bowl mix together coconut milk and besan till smooth and free of lumps,in this add water coriander powder,ginger paste, green chilies, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Mix well and keep aside.
  2. In a large pan heat oil and add the panchporan. Let them crackle for a few seconds. 
  3. Add the coconut milk and besan mixture and bring to a boil.  Stir a few times to avoid any burning. 
  4. When it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 10 minutes. 
  5. Now add the lime juice and tamarind juice. Start by adding 1 tbsp each, taste and add more if required. 
  6. For tempering heat oil and add the grated garlic. Cook for a few seconds till they start to turn light brown. At this point add the red chili flakes and remove from heat. 
  7. Just before serving bring the kadhi to boil, add the boondi and stir. Remove from heat and temper with the garlic chili tempering. Stir in some fresh coriander and serve with steamed rice and a green leafy vegetable. Finger licking good. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Achari Karela

Tonight's Menu(Fantastic Punjabi Fare)
Dal Makhani
Achari karela
Tandoori Roti
Onion rings and green chilies

Achari Karela (Bitter melon)
Tonight's dinner is a simple hearty meal from Punjab. Earthy rustic Tandoori roti paired with creamy, buttery dal makhani (literally means legumes cooked in butter) and bold achari (pickle) flavored karela (bitter melon) with a side of raw onion rings and crunchy hot green chilies. A delightful meal with several textures and flavors. A must try combination for all karela lovers.

Achari Karela
Ingredients:(serves 4)
4 large karelas (bitter gourd)
2 large potatoes
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 green chilies chopped(optional)
2 tsp panchporan
2-3 tbsp olive oil or mustard oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
Red chili powder to taste
1 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  1. Peel the potatoes and karelas. Slice them all thinly into rings, about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add the panchporan. Let the seeds crackle for a few seconds.
  3. Add the veggies and all the dry powdered masalas except amchoor. Mix well.
  4. Cover and simmer. Check after 3-4 minutes. Stir to move around the veggies. Cover again and check after another 5 minutes. The potato and karela rings should be cooked through.
  5. Increase heat to max and add the amchoor now. Saute on high to crisp up the veggies a bit. Serve immediately with roti.  

Achari Karela (Bitter melon)
Dal Makhani
Dal Makhani
Ingredients: (serves 4)
3/4 cup whole urad dal
1/8 cup chana dal
1/8 cup rajma (red kidney beans)
salt to taste
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Red chili powder to taste
2 green chilies chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp butter
3 medium tomatoes chopped fine
2 tbsp plain yogurt
Coriander leaves for serving
Tadka or tempering spices(coarsely pounded)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
pinch asafoetida
3-4 cloves
small piece of cinnamon
2 green and 1 black cardamom pods
1 large dry red chili
few peppercorns
  1. Clean wash and soak the dals together overnight in 3 cups of water.
  2. Put these with all the water in a pressure cooker. Add salt, ginger, garlic, ghee, turmeric powder, red chili powder, green chilies, coriander powder. 
  3. Pressure cook on high till the first whistle, simmer and cook for 35-40 minutes. This will allow the dals to soften well. Remove from heat and allow the pressure to drop by itself.
  4. Open the lid and cook further on low heat, mashing with the spoon till dal blends very well. If it is too thick then add some water to adjust the consistency.
  5. While the dal is simmering, heat 1 tsp butter in a pan and add tomatoes. Cook stirring for a few minutes. Add the yogurt and cook further till oil separated from the sides. Add this to the simmering dal and cook till well blended.
  6. Heat the remaining 1 tsp butter and add the tempering spices. Let them crackle for 2-3 minutes before adding them to the dal. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.  
  7. Tastes excellent with crisp rustic buttered tandoori roti and some raw onion slices and green chilies.  
Dal Makhani

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Apple pecan pie


Apple pecan pie in phyllo pastry

2 large apples(cored, peeled, chopped)
1/4 cup each pecans, walnuts, cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 star anise
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp Maple syrup (or honey)
8 sheets phyllo pastry
1/2 stick butter
some extra pecans to sprinkle on top
  1. In a saucepan bring the first six ingredients to boil and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes till the cranberries plump up, mixture thickens up and apples cook a bit. Keep aside to cool. 
  2. Melt butter in a dish and grease a pie plate. Preheat oven to 350 F. 
  3. Start by taking one pastry sheet on your working surface and brush with butter. Put another sheet on top and brush again with butter. Repeat with two more sheets. 
  4. Spread half the apple mixture in the long edge in a line and start rolling slowly to form a log. Tuck the two ends to keep filling from coming out. Roll slowly and carefully put in the pie plate along the edges. Don't worry about the breakage, you can fix it by adding additional pastry sheet pieces. 
  5. Repeat above process with the rest of the sheets and apple filling. 
  6. Brush the top with butter and bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes till the top is golden. 
  7. Remove from heat and pour the maples syrup on top of the hot pie. Sprinkle with nuts (which I forgot to do). Let cool before slicing and enjoying the pie.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dhokar Dalna

Tonight's Menu(Vegetarian Bengali Fare)
Dhokar Dalna
Mulo saag Bhaja
White rice 

Dry Dhokas
Dhokar Dalna
This dish is a beautiful creation of the Niramish (vegetarian) Bengali cuisine. No onion and garlic is used here. Instead lightly spiced chana dal nuggets are fried and then simmered in a gravy of tomatoes, yogurt and ginger. You can also serve these fried nuggets as is with chutney. The process takes some time but is well worth the effort. Potatoes add good taste too. This is best served with white rice but I think the dhoka curry with mulo saag tasted absolutely great with roti. Recipe adapted from BlogHer
Dhokar Dalna (dhokas in gravy) 

For Dhokas or Lentil Cakes
1 cup Chana Dal/Bengal Gram
5-6 green chilies
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Pinch asafoetida/hing
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ginger grated
1/2 tsp sugar
Oil for frying
  1. Soak chana dal overnight in water. Drain water and grind them with green chilies and ginger and salt into a fine paste using as little water as possible. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan(preferably non stick) and temper with hing, cumin seeds. 
  3. Add the ground chana dal and sugar and cook stirring continuously to avoid burning. Cook until the mix comes off the sides clean. The dal should be cooked such that it is moist and soft but not runny or hard. This takes about 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Transfer this mixture to a greased flat container and smooth the top with the back of the spoon or with greased hands. Work fast as the mixture starts to set as it cools. Keep the height about 1/2 inch. Cover and keep aside to cool completely. 
  5. When cool cut into small squares or diamonds. 
  6. Heat oil for frying in a pan to medium high. Slide lentil cakes gently into the hot oil and deep fry in batches till golden. Do not over fry otherwise they will not absorb the gravy.
For the Gravy
1 tbsp Oil
1 big potato, peeled and chopped
2-3 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch asafoetida/hing
2 large tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and fry potato till golden, remove and keep aside. 
  2. In the same pan with left over oil add bay leaves, cumin seeds and a pinch of hing. Add the pureed tomato. Saute till tomato leaves oil at the sides of the pan. 
  3. In the yogurt add all the dry masalas and salt to make a paste. 
  4. Add this paste to the tomatoes and fry at medium heat for 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Now add the potatoes and about a cups and half of water. Cover and cook till potatoes are done. 
  6. Now gently slide in the pieces of dhokas or the fried lentil cakes. Simmer for couple of minutes to let the dhokas soak up the gravy. If your dhokas are cracking and are too soft, do not add them to the gravy. You are better off placing them on the serving dish and pouring the gravy on top. Let them soak the flavor for a few minutes before serving. 
  7. Best served with hot white rice, but tastes great with roti too.

Mulo saag bhaja

Mulo saag bhaja(radish greens stir fry)

This traditional Bengali dish is eaten as a second course in Bengali lunch. I have used the small red radishes as the long white ones were not available with the leaves. Use the white ones if available. I also added one potato. 

4 cup chopped Radish Leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped Radish

1 large potato peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp Nigella seeds (kalonji)

1/4 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 Whole Dry Red Chillies
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder
Salt and red chili powder to taste
1 tbsp Oil
  1. Wash the radish leaves and pat dry. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add nigella and cumin seeds in it. When it starts to splutter, add whole dry red chili. Saute for 40 seconds.
  3. Add chopped radish, radish leaves and potato, turmeric, coriander and chili powder and salt in it. Stir to mix. Cover and cook on medium for 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. When potatoes are done, increase the heat to dry up all the water. Serve hot.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Mirchi ka Salan

Mirchi ka salan (Recipe adapted from Vah re Vah)
Mirchi ka salan or curried chilies is a traditional Hydrabadi delicacy, which is a must make side dish for the famous Hydrabadi Biryani. Chilies are cooked in a gravy made of peanuts, coconut and sesame seeds. These give it the silken consistency and an awesome taste. If you want the dish to be mildly hot then remove the seeds of the chilies before cooking. I often make this with pulao or tahiri. A must try. 
Ingredients (serves 4) 
1 tbsp oil
10 green chilies slit lengthwise
1/4 tsp each mustard, kalonji and cumin seeds 
Few Curry leaves
1 small onion chopped fine
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp Coriander powder
Chilly powder to taste
1/4 tsp Turmeric
Coriander finely chopped 

For the paste
Peanuts 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds 1 tbsp
Coconut powder 1 tbsp

2 dry Red chilies
  1. Heat a pan on medium heat. Dry roast peanuts for a 30 seconds, add sesame seeds and dry roast along with peanuts for another 30 seconds. Now add coconut powder and red chilies, and sauté all till sesame and coconut are roasted to a light color. Cool and put these in a blender, add some water and make a smooth paste. keep aside
  2. Heat oil in the same pan and add the prepared green chilies. Saute these till lightly fried. Keep aside. 
  3. In the same pan and remaining oil add mustard seeds, when mustard seeds splutter add cumin seeds, curry leaves, kalonji, add sliced onions.
  4. Cook till onions are golden in color. Then add ginger garlic paste and cook this mixture till raw flavor is gone. Add turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder and salt.
  5. Add the prepared sesame seed paste, 1 1/4 cups of water and mix it to form a thin gravy. Bring to boil, simmer and cook covered on a low flame for 20 minutes. 
  6. After 20 minutes the gravy should have thickened a bit. Add yogurt and cook on high for another 5-7 minutes till you see oil separating from the sides of the pan. 
  7. Add fried chilies, simmer and cover for another 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves. 
  8. Serve this hot with any type of biryani or pulao.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vangi Bhaat Masala

1/4 cup each urad and roasted chana dal
3/4 cup dry coconut
15 dry ed chilies
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2" cinnamon stick
10 cloves
3 star anise
1/2 tsp khuskhas (poppy seeds)
1-2 tsp oil
  1. In a tsp oil lightly roast dals till red. Remove. 
  2. In the same pan roast red chilies. remove. 
  3. In the same pan roast cinnamon, cloves and star anise. 
  4. Dry roast coriander seeds and coconut till lightly golden. 
  5. Cool everything. Combine all ingredients and grind to get a coarse powder. 
  6. I avoid using salt so that I can control it on a per dish basis. You can add salt if you want while grinding. 
  7. Stays well in the refrigerator. 
  8. Use it to make vangi bhaat and any stir fry.
Dishes to make with this
Vangi Bhaat