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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)

The word 'Pachadi' has different meanings and recipes depending on which State of India you are in or referring to. In Maharashtra, it generally means a salad made out of Cabbage or Carrots or Beetroots. The ingredient, doesn't matter whether it is beetroots or anything else, it is first grated, mixed with lemon, salt and sugar and then tempered with ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves. The ghee boosts the flavor, but if you don't have ghee in your pantry, butter can be used instead. Apart from being healthy, this dish hardly takes 10 -15 minutes to prepare.

Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)

Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad) - Recipe
Beetroots - 2 medium sized
Lemon - 1/4 slice
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 8-10 leaves
Coriander leaves - handful
Salt - As per your taste
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
Ghee (Clarified butter) - 1-2 teaspoons
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad) Ingredients
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad) Ingredients
1. Peel and grate the beetroots. Chop coriander leaves.
2. Mix grated beets, chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice of 1/4 slice of a lemon, salt and sugar in a bowl.
3. Heat ghee in a tadka /small  pan, temper with mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start crackling, add asafoetida powder and curry leaves.
4. Remove the pan from heat and pour this hot ghee tempering on the beetroot mixture and mix well.
 Serve this healthy pachadi / salad as a side with Parathas/ Curries / Spicy rice pilaf. It tastes amazing with this Masoor Pulao / Pilaf.

Some variations:
1. You can add crushed peanuts for crunch.
2. Add a tablespoon of grated coconut to the mixture for added flavor.
3. Add 1 chopped green chilly if you want some heat.


Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)
Beetroot Pachadi (Beetroot Salad)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)

Misal is a famous moth beans chaat from Maharashtra. But it has 2 versions - one from Pune called 'Puneri Misal' and another from Kolhapur called 'Kolhapuri Misal'. In both kinds, the main part of the dish is the moth beans curry. Puneri Misal is a milder version and uses 'Pohe' or 'chivda' as one of the elements of the chaat. Kolhapuri Misal, on the other hand, is a spicier version that uses 'kat' (pronounciation similar to cut) that is a spicy curry kind element, along with 'farsaan' that is a spicy Indian mixture or Internationally recognised as Bombay mixture. The 'Kat' (spicy curry) is used to adjust the spiciness of the dish. It is usually served on the side so that each person can help himself with the level of spice he / she enjoys. Both kinds of chaat are enjoyed with bread.

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)

I had this 'Kolhapuri Misal' at my mom's friend's place, who is from Kolhapur and is a wonderful cook. The recipe might seem a little elaborate or lengthy for some, but the end result is just amazing. I have tried to simplify it in different steps. So if you are up for an authentic Kolhapuri Misal, this is it.

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)

Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat) - Recipe

STEP I : Spice Powder:
Coriander seeds - 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Sesame seeds - 1 teaspoon
Poppy seeds - 1 teaspoon
Whole black pepper - 5-6
Cinnamon  - 1/4 inch
Cloves - 2-3
Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
Dry red chillies- 2-3
Ingredients for spice powder for misal
Ingredients for spice powder for misal
Dry roast all the above ingredients on a low flame. When cool, grind these in a grinder to make the spice powder and keep aside.
This powder can stay in pantry for a week, so this can be made ahead of time.
Spice powder for Misal
Spice powder for Misal
STEP II : Coconut-Onion paste:
Onion - 1 medium sliced
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Coconut - 2-3 tablespoons (fresh grated)
Dry red chilli - 1
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Coconut-Onion Paste for Misal
Coconut-Onion Paste for Misal

1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan / tawa, add sliced onions and fry them until golden brown.
2. Add chopped garlic, ginger, red chilli and grated coconut and fry for 2-3 minutes.
3. Make a paste of all these in a blender with the help of water.

STEP III : Spicy Kat (Spicy Curry) 
Oil - 2 - 3 teaspoons
Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Kokum - 2 pieces (You can substitute this with tamarind - 1/4 teaspoon)
       (For more on Kokum - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_indica)
Salt
Spice powder made in step 1
Coconut - Onion paste made in step 2

1.  Heat oil in a pan and temper with asafoetida powder.
2. Add Turmeric powder, red chilii powder and kokum.
3. Then add almost 3/4 of the spice powder made in step 1 and saute for a minute.
4. Add 3/4 of the coconut - onion paste made in step 2 and saute.
Spicy Kat for Misal in making
Spicy Kat for Misal in making
5. Add almost 2 - 3 cups of water and salt to taste and let the 'kat' boil. The final consistency of the 'kat' should be soupy.
Spicy 'kat' for Kolhapuri Misal
Spicy 'kat' for Kolhapuri Misal

STEP IV : For Moth beans curry (matki usal):
Sprouted moth beans (matki)- 2 cups
Sprouted moth beans (matki)
Sprouted moth beans (matki)
Onion - 1 medium chopped
Tomato - 1 medium chopped
Potato - 1 small peeled and chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Kokum - 1 (or Tamarind - 1/4 teaspoon)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 10-12 leaves
Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches
Spice powder made in step 1
Coconut - onion paste made in step 2
Salt and Oil

1. Soak the moth beans for 7-8 hours. Then drain the water and let the moth beans sprout. This can take anytime between 3 and 7 hours depending upon the weather outside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds and asafoetida powder.
3. Add curry leaves, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. 
4. Add chopped onions and saute until golden brown.
5. Add chopped tomatoes and saute until soft.
6. Add chopped potatoes and saute.
Matki usal for misal in making
Matki usal for misal in making
7. Add sprouted moth beans (matki) and saute.
Matki usal for misal in making
Matki usal for misal in making
8. Add the rest of the spice powder and coconut - onion paste, salt, kokum / tamarind and water. Cover and cook.
Matki usal (Moth beans curry) for Misal
Matki usal (Moth beans curry) for Misal
To Serve:
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Tomato - 1 finely chopped
Lemon - 1 sliced
Corainder leaves - finely chopped
Farsan (spicy Bombay Mixture)
Kat (Spicy curry) - Made in step 3
Matki usal (Moth beans curry) - Made in step 4
Bread 

In a bowl, add matki usal (Moth beans curry), Ladle some Kat (Spicy curry), Add some farsan (Bombay Mixture) on top, sprinkle chopped onions, chopped tomatoes and chopped coriander leaves. Serve some kat, lemon and bread on side. Enjoy..
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Note : The quantities of all the spices I have stated here make a spicy Misal. So please adjust those quantities according to your taste. You can always make a milder version of any spicy dish. :)



Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)
Kolhapuri Misal (Spicy Moth beans Chaat)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Prawn / Shrimp Curry (Kolumbiche Kalvan)

Recently some people who don't know me well have asked me, 'Why are you writing a food blog??' with a big question mark on their faces. 
Only a foodie understands why one writes about food. We all know that famous saying 'Beauty lies in the eyes of a beholder'. On the similar lines, the way a foodie looks at food is totally different from the way a non-foodie looks at it. For some the food may be just a way to survive and satisfy those hunger pangs whereas 'a foodie cooks with passion, then admires his perfect creation, then savours it along with the loved ones and then shares his wonderful experience with others.'  That's exactly why I am writing a food blog.  
So coming to today's recipe, this recipe of prawn / shrimp curry is a traditional CKP(a Maharashtrian community) style  recipe. Even though there is a biological difference between prawns and shrimps, the same recipe is used for both. When this curry boils, the combined aroma of the shrimps / prawns and all the spices is remarkable. Beware, you might make your (non-vegeterian) neighbours jealous.  
Prawn / Shrimp Curry (Kolumbiche Kalvan)
Prawn / Shrimp Curry (Kolumbiche Kalvan)

Prawn  / Shrimp curry (Kolumbiche kalvan) - Recipe
Prawns / Shrimps - 1/2 kg 
Onion - 1 cup chopped 
Tomato  - 1/2 cup chopped (1 medium sized tomato)
Garlic - 7-8 cloves of garlic
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Green chilli - 2
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon (adjust it according to your taste, I love my prawn curry spicy)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coconut - 1/2 cup (shredded or chopped) 
Tamarind - 1/2 teaspoon of tamarind paste (I use store bought one)
Salt - As per your taste
Asafoetida powder - 1-2 pinches
Coriander leaves - few sprigs for garnishing and the marinade.

1. Make a paste of 2 green chillies, 4 garlic cloves (medium sized), ginger and coriander leaves. 
2. Marinate prawns / shrimps with this paste, salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder and  1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp. Set aside for at least an hour so that the shrimps / prawns soak up all the flavour.

Marinated prawns / shrimps
Marinated prawns / shrimps
3. Heat oil in a pan and add 3-4 crushed garlic cloves. Brown them on all sides and add 2 pinches of asafoetida powder.
Ingredients for prawn / shrimp curry
Ingredients for prawn / shrimp curry
4. Add chopped onion and saute'.
5. When the onions are golden brown, add chopped tomatoes and saute'.
6. When the tomatoes are soft, add the marinated shrimps / prawns and saute'. Add a tad bit water, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Meanwhile make a paste of the shredded or chopped coconut with the help of water. Alternatively, you can use coconut milk. But let me add, the taste of coconut milk and coconut paste is totally different. The coconut milk makes the curry creamy and mild, whereas if you are looking for the version you see in the pic, go for coconut paste. It makes curry thick, flavorful and retains the spiciness.
Prawn / Shrimp curry boiling
Prawn / Shrimp curry boiling

8. Add this coconut paste to the prawns / shrimps. Add water (around 1/2 cup). Add the rest of the red chilli powder and adjust the salt at this point. Cover and cook on medium heat for around 15 minutes or until the prawns / shrimps are cooked. 
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with roti, chapati or rice. It is equally tasty with everything.

Some variations:
1. Add chopped potato or cauliflower after you add chopped tomato. This will help the curry increase in volume if you have a huge crowd to feed. It tastes equally yummy.
2. Skip the coconut paste (or milk) if you want a thicker restaurant style curry.

Prawn / Shrimp Curry (Kolumbiche Kalvan)
Prawn / Shrimp Curry (Kolumbiche Kalvan)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Choco Surprise Gulab Jamun

It was father's day yesterday and I wanted to make something special for 2 wonderful dads in my life - My dad and My Hubby. 
My dad is and has always been a supportive, understanding father. He might be a little quiet on outside but as one knows and understands him better, he is the most sweetest and supportive dad inside. I could understand his innermost sweetness only when I myself became a parent. These gulab jamuns are just like him, sweetest emotions locked deep inside within him.
Another wonderful dad in my life is my hubby. When I met this wonderful guy (now my hubby) few years back, I knew somewhere deep down that he would be a wonderful father. And he certainly has been a wonderful, playful father to our kiddo all these years.
These choco surprise gulab jamuns are just perfect for these wonderful, perfect fathers in my life.

Choco Surprise Gulab jamun
Choco Surprise Gulab jamun
Choco Surprise Gulab jamun
Choco Surprise Gulab jamun

Choco Surprise Gulab Jamun - Recipe
Gulab jamun mix - 1 packet (100 gms)
Milk - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 2 cups
Cardamom powder - 2 - 3 pinches
Rose essence - 2 -3 drops
Saffron - 1 pinch (optional)
Dark chocolate bar - 2-3 tablespoons (grated)
Cocoa powder - 1 tablespoon
Oil for deep frying

1. To make sugar syrup, boil 3 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat and simmer. Let all the sugar dissolve and boil until the water is reduced to almost 2 cups to get nice thick syrup. This gets thicker when cold, so if you want a thinner consistency, boil it only for 10-15 minutes.
2. While the water is boiling, add cardamom powder, saffron and rose essence. Keep aside the sugar syrup.
3. Out of 100 gms packet of gulab jamun mix, take 1/4 cup of the mix in a bowl. Add cocoa powder to it.
Gulab jamun mix, cocoa powder and milk
Gulab jamun mix, cocoa powder and milk
4. Gradually add almost 2-3 tablespoons of milk to make it into a soft dough (almost like a chapati, but softer)
5. Now, take the rest of the gulab jamun mix and gradually add almost 3-4 tablespoons of milk to it to make into a soft dough.
6. Take a small piece of chocolate mixed gulab jamun dough. Flatten it a bit with hand and stuff it with almost 1/8 teaspoon of grated dark chocolate. Roll it into a small ball with the help of some ghee to grease your palms.(just like a small laddoo) Make sure you seal the grated chocolate properly.


Chocolate center gulab jamun balls
Chocolate center gulab jamun balls


Chocolate center gulab jamun balls
Chocolate center gulab jamun balls

7. Now take a bigger portion of the white mixed gulab jamun dough, flatten that and stuff with this chocolate mixed ball. Roll this whole thing into a ball. Make sure that you seal the outer white layer properly or the jamuns will crack open in oil.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for all the gulab jamuns.
9. Heat oil in a kadhai or a pan. (Be careful here, as the jamuns get browned quickly, keep the heat low) Fry gulab jamuns on a low heat.
Fry the jamuns
Fry the jamuns
Fried jamuns
Fried jamuns

10. Add the fried jamuns to the sugar syrup. The syrup should be hot here. If its not, you will need to reheat it.
11. Let the jamuns soak up the sugar syrup before serving. The jamuns might increase in size after soaking up in syrup, so use a larger container.
Choco Surprise Gulab jamun
Choco Surprise Gulab jamun

Some variations:
1. You can add grated milk or white chocolate instead of the dark one.
2. While serving sprinkle some grated chocolate on the top of the jamuns.


Choco Surprise Gulab jamun
Choco Surprise Gulab jamun

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tawa Pulao (Stir fry Rice Pilaf with veggies)

Being born and brought up in Mumbai, street side food has always been a favorite part of my childhood, Pav Bhaji being the topper. Some years back, the pav bhaji vendors started selling a new item 'Tava Pulao'. So me and my sister decided to give it a try, which was really worth it. It was amazing, it was a spicy pulao along with veggies, served  with raita(salad) and a slice of lemon. But the taste seemed highly familiar. The vendor told us that he had put pav bhaji masala in it. That was an aha moment for us. We knew exactly how we can use the leftover rice, leftover pav bhaji masala and various tidbit veggies leftover in the fridge. That's what I have been doing since then. And it doesn't even feel like leftovers. It makes up a spicy, delicious, comforting meal at the end of a long day. And even if you are not using leftovers, you can make this one pot meal in a jiffy.
Tawa Pulao (stir fry rice pilaf with veggies)
Tawa Pulao (stir fry rice pilaf with veggies)


Tawa Pulao (Stir fry Rice pilaf with veggies)- Recipe
Uncooked Rice - 1 and 1/2 cup (If you are using leftover cooked rice, take 3-4 cups of cooked rice for 1 cup of veggies)
Veggies - 1 cup of chopped assorted veggies (carrots, capsicum, green peas, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, corn etc.)
Onions - 1 medium chopped (3/4 cup)
Tomatoes - 1 medium chopped (1/2 cup)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Pav bhaji masala - 1 - 2 teaspoons
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Salt - As per taste

1. Cook rice and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a large pan / pot.
3. Temper with a pinch of asafoetida powder and add chopped onions and saute until soft.
4. When the onions are soft, add tomatoes and saute for a couple of minutes.
5. Add the assorted veggies, saute, cover and cook. (If you want, you can add a tablespoon of water at this point, so that the veggies don't stick to the pot.)
Saute vegetables
Saute vegetables
6. When the veggies are cooked but firm add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and pav bhaji masala. (Adjust the spices as per your taste)
7. Add salt and the cooked rice. Mix well but try not to mash the veggies and rice in the process. 
8. Cover and let the flavours blend for 2-3 minutes on a low flame.
Serve with a slice of lemon, raita or cucumber, tomato and onion slices.


Tawa Pulao (stir fry rice pilaf with veggies)
Tawa Pulao (stir fry rice pilaf with veggies)


Some variations:
1. You can substitute pav bhaji masala with chole masala, kitchen king masala or biryani masala.
2. Add boiled or scrambled egg to add some protein to the meal.
3. Add kasuri methi for added flavour.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Aloo sabzi (Potato stir fry with poppy and fennel seeds)

There is no such thing as a perfect recipe for potato stir fries or curries. You just cook them however you want, add anything you like and they never fail to impress you. Potatoes have their own unique charm, don't they? I make them in my house, whenever I am feeling lazy or running out of time. It is an effortless vegetable. Apart from that, any experiment with them never fails. Just like that, a few years back I experimented with them by adding fennel seeds and poppy seeds and it worked. The flavour and aroma of these 2 ingredients works magic in this stir fry. It is a very simple and a quick recipe and it tastes great with chapatis or puris.
Aloo Sabzi(Potato stir fry with poppy and fennel seeds)
Aloo Sabzi(Potato stir fry with poppy and fennel seeds)

Aloo Sabzi (Potato stir fry with poppy and fennel seeds) - Recipe
Potatoes - 3-4 medium sized
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Poppy seeds - 1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander leaves - few sprigs
Asafoetida, salt and oil

1. Peel and slice the potatoes.
2. Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, poppy seeds and fennel seeds. Poppy seeds are browned very quickly, so be careful.
3. Add the potato slices, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder,coriander powder and salt. Cover and cook. You might need to check the oil once or twice. Add couple of spoons of water if you want.
4. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with puri or chapati.


Aloo Sabzi(Potato stir fry with poppy and fennel seeds)
Aloo Sabzi(Potato stir fry with poppy and fennel seeds)


Some variations:
1. Sprinkle lemon if you want.
2. You can stir fry chopped onion before adding the potato slices.
3. Add garam masala to make it more spicy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Aam Panna Mocktail (Raw Mango Mocktail)

Come summer and the Indian pantries are filled up with raw mangoes, ripe mangoes, Lemons, watermelons, and Rooh afza. We know exactly how to beat the scorching Indian summer heat, don't we? So when the kids get busy tanning themselves in the sun all day, the ladies are busy making rooh afza, lemonade and aam panna or as we call it in Marathi 'Kairicha Panha'.
Aam Panna is made from cooked raw green mangoes. It is known for it's cooling properties and it is a great thirst quencher. Rooh afza is another popular summer drink, sold in a sugary syrup blend of various cooling herbs.
So coming to this refreshing drink...let me tell you something about this mocktail. Last summer I had some surprise guests at home and I had absolutely nothing to serve them. Tea or coffee was out of question because it was hot outside. I had a little roohafza and the aam panna mixture left in the fridge. It would have been awkward to serve some of them roohafza and some of them aam panna. So I came to a quick decision to make a quick mocktail....and then took a deep breath and served them the same. And while I was crossing my fingers, each one of them took their first sip and their eyes lit up..they absolutely loved the drink. The ladies among them started asking how I made it, what is in it etc. They loved it...I felt like jumping on my couch with happiness. The mocktail had saved my day. That day onwards, this mocktail has become my superstar drink. I have been serving this at barbecue parties, kiddie playdates, tupperware parties and people just love it. The Mommies are happy 'cause they know the kids are drinking something healthy and the kids are happy 'cause they know they are drinking the same thing as their mommies.

Aam Panna Mocktail (Raw mango mocktail)
Aam Panna Mocktail (Raw mango mocktail)


To make Aam Panna Mixture:
Green raw mango - 1
Sugar - 1/2 - 3/4 cup
Cardamom(Elaichi) powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Saffron - 2 pinches
Salt- small pinch

1. Pressure cook the raw mango and then remove its peel when cool. Discard the peel and the seed. (Another option to pressure cooker is using the steamer)
2. Blend the soft mango pulp with cardamom powder, saffron, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (this depends upon the size of the mango - for a small mango take 1/2 cup and for a medium sized take 3/4 cup of sugar) and 3/4 cup of water.
Aam Panna mixture
Aam Panna mixture
This blended mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of months.

And now comes my superstar drink...

Panna Roohafza Moktail - Recipe
To make one glass:

Aam Panna Mixture - 3 tablespoons
Roohafza - 2 tablespoons
Water - 1 and 1/2 cups
sugar - 2 teaspoons

1. Add 3 tablespoons of the aam panna mixture, 2 tablespoons of roohafza, 2 teaspoons of sugar to a glass and mix.
2. Add around 1 to 1 and 1/2  cups of water, depending upon the consistency you prefer. Strain the mocktail.
3. Chill and serve. Garnish with a lemon slice or a couple of mint leaves. Couple of ice cubes work magic.

Aam Panna Mocktail (Raw mango mocktail)
Aam Panna Mocktail (Raw mango mocktail)



Some variations:
1. Add a dash of honey to make it sweeter.
2. Add a pinch of cumin powder to give it a twist.
3. Add soda/sparkling water.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Palak Paneer (Spinach with cottage cheese curry)

Palak Paneer (Spinach with cottage cheese curry) is another favorite in my house and I am also always happy to serve it. It is easy to make with all the healthy ingredients in it and goes well with both rice and roti. 
Traditionally while making Palak paneer, spinach is either pressure cooked or blanched before actually proceeding with curry. I have tried these techniques in the past, but the technique that I have listed here works best for me, it brings out a lot of flavor of spinach and saves time by skipping the pressure cooking or blanching steps.
Palak Paneer (Spinach with cottage cheese curry)
Palak Paneer (Spinach with cottage cheese curry)

Palak Paneer - Recipe
Spinach - 1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves
Spinach (Palak)
Spinach (Palak)
Paneer - 1 packet (200 grams)
Onion - 1 medium sized
Tomato - 1 medium sized
Green chilly - 1 (you can skip this, if you want the curry to be mild)
Dry red chillies - 1-2
Ginger - 1/4 inch piece
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 1 teaspoon
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1 small piece(around 1/4 inch)
Black Pepper - 2 
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder, Salt and oil
Ingredients for Palak Paneer
Ingredients for Palak Paneer

1. Chop onion, tomato, spinach and green chilly and keep aside
2. Cut paneer in small cubes. 
3. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the paneer cubes until slightly golden from all sides, remove them from oil and keep aside.
4. In the same pan, heat some oil and add clove, cinnamon and black pepper. Then temper with 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and asafoetida powder.
5. Add ginger, garlic, chopped green chilly and red chillies. Saute everything for few seconds.
6. Add chopped onion and saute until soft. Then add chopped tomatoes and saute for a couple of minutes
7. Add chopped spinach and saute for 3 - 5 minutes or until the spinach is soft.
Saute Palak
Saute Palak

 8. Then remove the pan from the flame. Let it cool and then blend the whole mixture in a blender with water.
9. Now for the final time, heat oil in a pan, temper with 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and asafoetida seeds, add the spinach blended mixture and paneer. Add salt, water, check the spices and let it boil for a couple of minutes.
Serve hot with rotis, rice or parathas.


Palak Paneer (Spinach with cottage cheese curry)
Palak Paneer (Spinach with cottage cheese curry)




 Some variations:
1. You can add fresh cream in the final step to make the curry more creamy.
2. You can add kasuri methi to the blended mixture.
3. Replace paneer with tofu.
4. Sneak in any other greens like amaranth, red chard, green chard etc . (That's my secret, don't tell my kiddo)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stuffed Bhindi / Ladyfingers / Okra (Bharli Bhendi)

Every time I go to my mom's place, I have a long list of  'Mom specials' for her to make. The stuffed Ladyfingers / okra / bhindi or as we call it in marathi 'Bharli Bhendi' is one of them. It just tastes amazing with the chapatis. Takes up a little more oil than the usual stir fry but the end result is worth it.
Stuffed Bhindi / Ladyfingers / Okra (Bharli Bhendi)
Stuffed Bhindi / Ladyfingers / Okra (Bharli Bhendi)

Stuffed Bhindi / Ladyfingers / Okra - Recipe
Bhindi / Ladyfingers / okra - 1/2 Kg
Tomato - 1 medium sized (chopped)
Coconut - 1/4 cup grated
Garlic - 8-10 cloves
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander leaves - few sprigs
Asafoetida powder, Salt and oil

1. Clean and dry the okra. See that they are completely dry before cutting.
2. After cutting both the ends, cut each okra into 2 pieces (for the ones too long, make it 3). Then make a vertical slit into each of them.
3. Now for the stuffing, make a paste of grated coconut, tomato, garlic, coriander leaves, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt. Then add almost a teaspoon of oil to the mixture.
4.Stuff the bhindi / okra with this paste.
Ladyfingers / Okra stuffed with the Spice paste
Ladyfingers / Okra stuffed with the Spice paste

5. Heat oil in a pan and temper with asafoetida powder. Then add the stuffed okra .
6. Cover and cook. You might need to add some additional oil couple of times while cooking, unless you are using a nonstick pan.
Serve with chapatis, pooris or parathas.


Stuffed Bhindi / Ladyfingers / Okra (Bharli Bhendi)
Stuffed Bhindi / Ladyfingers / Okra (Bharli Bhendi)


Some variations:
1. If you are running out of time you can skip the stuffing of the paste and simply stir fry the okra along with the masala (spice paste) and then cover and cook.
2. You can add ginger, green chillies or garam masala powder to the stuffing.