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

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