I have never had a chance to travel to Himachal Pradesh – a land whose beauty I have heard much about – but I am so glad to have an opportunity to cook food from this state! This week, the group of very talented food bloggers that I am a part of, Foodie Monday Blog Hop, decided upon ‘recipes from Himachal Pradesh’ as the theme, and I was more than happy to participate.
Himachali cuisine, also referred to as ‘pahari khana‘, is quite well known. The land, with its rough terrain and bordered by hills, has some exquisite vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare as well as sweet dishes to offer. Thanks to the extremely cold weather that is rote here, the Himachalis are heavy consumers of meat. The availability of vegetables and leafy greens is limited in most parts of Himachal Pradesh and, hence, they rely heavily on dried lentils like rajma, chana and the likes, as well as root vegetables like potatoes and colocasia root because they keep well for long. When in season, there is ample use of leafy greens in Himachali cooking, too. The cuisine uses quite a lot of curd and spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, dry red chillies, coriander seeds, amchoor powder, et al) as flavouring agents.
For this week’s cooking challenge, I chose a very simple but beautiful spiced yogurt recipe from Himachal Pradesh, akin to kadhi that is popular in most other Indian states. Locally called rehru or kheru, this dish tastes absolutely fantastic. It is a breeze to prepare as well. We had this with piping hot rice, and just loved it. I’m sure it would taste great with rotis and parathas as well.
Here’s how you can make rehru aka kheru.
Recipe courtesy: Anita’s Kitchen
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
- 2-3 dry red chillies
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 2 cups slightly sour curd, medium thick
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- Red chilli powder, to taste
- A few stalks of fresh coriander
- Crush the coriander seeds (sabut dhania) using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.
- Chop the onion and coriander finely. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Keep aside.
- Add just a little water to the curd and salt to taste. Beat well. Keep aside.
- Heat the mustard oil in a pan. Add cumin, dry red chillies, and crushed coriander seeds. Let them stay in for a second.
- Add chopped garlic. Cook for a couple of seconds, and then add the chopped onion. Cook on medium flame till the onion begins to brown. Do not overcook it – let it retain a bit of a crunch. Take care to ensure that the garlic and onion does not burn.
- Add coriander powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder, along with very little water. Cook for 2-3 seconds on low-medium flame.
- Now, turn flame to low and add the beaten curd to the pan, little quantities at a time. Cook on low-medium flame for just a minute, stirring constantly. Switch off the gas.
- Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve warm with rotis, parathas or rice.
- You can add in some green chillies too, if you want to make the kheru spicier.
- Remember not to overcook the onions and garlic; they should have a bit of crunch left in them. At the same time, ensure that they are not burnt.
- Use mustard oil for the authentic Himachali taste. However, if you aren’t very fond of the pungent smell of mustard oil, you can use ordinary refined oil as well.
- Don’t boil the kheru too much after you add the curd. Just cook it on low-medium flame for about a minute.
- Add the curd little by little, keeping the flame low, to prevent curdling. If you add all the curd at one go or on a high flame, it might curdle and affect the taste of the kheru.
You like? I hope you will try out this recipe too, and that you will love it as much as we did!
This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Recipes from Himachal Pradesh’.