Momo Achar| Peanut Chutney For Momos

The husband was in Sikkim earlier this year on an official get-together, and he told me endless stories about the place on his return. He loved the Sikkimese momos especially, the many varieties that are available. I was intrigued by his descriptions of the yellow chutney served alongside momos by the streetside in Sikkim, Momo Achaar in local parlance. In Bangalore, we only get a spicy red chutney with momos, so this was new and interesting.

So, this yellow Momo Achaar was what I decided to make when Sikkimese cuisine was chosen as the theme for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge this month. The Sikkimese follow a mostly non-vegetarian diet, with simple food made using minimal ingredients. That said, the food is hearty and delicious, several locally grown spices, herbs, greens and vegetables featuring in the dishes.

Coming back to the Momo Achaar, I made it using this recipe from Healthy Recipe Home as the base, with a few little changes here and there. Peanuts are the major ingredient in this chutney, which tastes absolutely delightful. I kept it mildly spicy with a hint of sourness, and it went beautifully with not just the momos I prepared, but also with rotis, parathas, dosas and idlis. You have to try this out, if you haven’t already! The husband loved it to bits and said it tasted exactly like the chutney he had had in Sikkim, I’m happy to report.

Luckily, the two secret ingredients my partner Aruna gave me for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge – garlic and peanuts – were just right for me to make this chutney. On that note, you must check out Aruna’s blog, Vasu’s Veg Kitchen, a treasure trove of well-explained recipes from around the globe. Look at the beautiful dish that Aruna made using the two secret ingredients I assigned her!

Now, let me take you through the way I prepared the Momo Achaar. I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #292. The co-host this week is Ai @ Ai Made It For You.

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups):

  1. 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  2. 1 cup peanuts
  3. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  4. 2 dry red chillies
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. A small onion
  7. 5-6 garlic cloves
  8. 6 medium-sized tomatoes
  9. 2 green chillies
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  12. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  13. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  14. Juice of 2 lemons or to taste
  15. 1 tablespoon honey or to taste (optional)

Method:

1. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Peel off the skin of the onion and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies and tomato roughly, too. Keep aside.

2. Dry roast the peanuts and sesame seeds together, on medium flame, till they start turning brown and crunchy. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate. Keep aside.

3. In the same pan, add in the oil. Then, add the chopped ginger and onion, garlic cloves and the dry red chillies. Saute on medium flame till the onion starts to brown, 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies to the pan too. Cook on medium flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, 2-3 minutes. Switch off gas and allow all the cooked ingredients to cool down fully.

5. When all the cooked ingredients have entirely cooled down, transfer to a mixer jar. Add in salt to taste, turmeric powder, roasted cumin powder, chopped coriander, lemon juice to taste and a little water. Grind everything together to a smooth paste.

6. Mix in honey to taste, if using.

7. Allow the chutney to cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight container. Store refrigerated when not in use.

Notes:

1. I have used country (Nati) tomatoes here, for the beautiful flavour and tartness they impart. If these are not available, you may use the ‘farm’ variety of tomatoes.

2. I have used dry Bydagi red chillies here, for the lovely colour they give to the dish, without adding too much spiciness.

3. Adjust the quantity of dry red chillies and green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the chutney to be. The above quantities yield a medium-spicy chutney.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the chutney you prefer.

5. Using the honey is purely optional.

6. White vinegar can be used in place of the lemon juice in this momo chutney. I have used lemon juice here.

7. This chutney stays well for up to a week when refrigerated and used hygienically.

8. Make sure all the cooked ingredients have completely cooled down, before grinding them.

9. I didn’t remove the skins from the peanuts before grinding.

10. You may reduce the quantity of peanuts you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

11. Traditional Sikkimese recipes suggest the use of soyabeans, the local Timur peppers and green Dalle chillies in this Momo Chutney. Each of these ingredients adds a special flavour and fragrance to the chutney. I didn’t have any of these, so I have omitted the soyabeans and Timur completely and used ordinary green chillies in place of the Dalle.

Did you like this recipe? Please do tell me in your comments!

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Rajasthani Gatte Ki Sabzi

Located in the north-west of India, Rajasthan is the biggest state in the country, as far as land area is concerned. Home to the Thar desert and the Aravalli mountain range, Rajasthan is a dry and arid place for most part of the year. The weather conditions have, undoubtedly, affected the state’s cuisine. The lack of availability of fresh vegetables and greens has led the Rajasthanis to depend upon ingredients like gram flour and sun-dried lentil fritters (vadi). The cuisine favours dishes that last for a few days. Daal Bati Churma, Pyaaz Kachori, Ker Sangri, Jaisalmeri Kala Chana, Dal Kachori, Bikaneri Sev and Gatte Ki Sabzi are some famous dishes from Rajasthan.

Wondering why I’m talking so much about Rajasthani cuisine today? Because I’m about to share with you the recipe for one of the state’s signature dishes – Gatte Ki Sabzi. We are showcasing dishes from Rajasthan this month, in the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of, and that’s the dish I chose. My partner for the month is Jayashree of Evergreen Dishes, a lovely blog with several traditional Indian dishes. She assigned to me the two secret ingredients of coriander and cumin, and they fit right into the recipe for Gatte Ki Sabzi, a dish I’ve always loved and wanted to try out. So, here we are. Don’t miss checking out the delicious Moong Dal Bada Jayashree made using the two ingredients I gave her!

For the uninitiated, Gatte Ki Sabzi refers to a supremely delicious curry from the Indian state of Rajasthan. Gram flour is mixed with a few spices, shaped into dumplings and cooked, then served with a delightful curd-based gravy. The tangy, spicy gravy is just the perfect complement for the soft, soft dumplings (gatte). Together, they make a wonderful accompaniment to parathas, rotis and the likes.

I made the Gatte Ki Sabzi using this recipe from My Weekend Kitchen as the base, with a few variations of my own. This is an authentic Rajasthani recipe that the blog author Ashima has learnt from her mom. I made the sabzi recently for lunch, and it went on to be so much loved by everyone at home! Worth every bit of the effort I put into the making.

Without further ado, here’s presenting to you the way I made the Gatte Ki Sabzi. I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #287, the co-hosts this week being Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Rita @ Parsi Cuisine.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

For the gatte:

  1. 1 cup gram flour
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  9. 2-3 tablespoons curd
  10. Oil, as needed to grease your palms

For the gravy:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 medium-sized tomato, finely chopped
  4. 1 cup thick curd
  5. 2 tablespoons gram flour
  6. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 1 cup water
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 2 green chillies
  10. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  11. A dash of red chilli powder
  12. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

For the tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  5. 1 pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  6. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  7. 2 dry red chillies

For the garnishing:

  1. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  2. 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi

Method:

We will begin by making the gatte or gram flour dumplings that this recipe requires.

1. Take the gram flour in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add in the salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, carom seeds, fennel seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder, and curd.

3. Mix everything together to form a soft dough.

4. Grease your palms with a little oil, and then shape logs out of the dough, about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick. Keep these logs ready.

5. Heat about 2 cups of water in a wide pan. When the water starts boiling, turn the flame down to medium. Add the dough logs into the hot water. Cook uncovered on medium flame till you begin to see bubbles on the logs. Switch off gas.

6. Remove the logs from the water using a spoon. Place them in a colander and let all the water drain out. Reserve the water in which the dough was cooked – do not discard it.

7. Let the dough logs cool down completely. Now, cut them into roundels. Keep ready – these are the gatte you will be adding to the gravy later.

Next, we will prepare the gravy.

1. Add the gram flour, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala to the curd.

2. Slit the green chillies length-wise and add them to the curd. Peel and grate the ginger finely. Add to the curd. Whisk everything well together.

3. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the onions, and cook on high flame till they start turning brown.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with a little of the cooking water we had reserved earlier. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy.

5. Now, reduce the flame to medium and add in the whisked curd. Cook on medium flame till the curd mixture starts boiling.

6. Now, add in about 1 cup of the reserved cooking water. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings. Add in the chopped gatte as well. Mix well.

7. Cook the gravy on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or till it thickens. Switch off gas.

Now, we will add the tempering and garnishes to the gravy.

1. Heat the oil for the tempering in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.

2. Reduce the flame to medium. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies to the pan. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, ensuring that they do not burn. Add this tempering to the gravy.

3. Crush the kasoori methi lightly between the palms of your hands. Add it to the gravy.

4. Add the finely chopped fresh coriander to the gravy. Mix well. Your Gatte Ki Sabzi is now ready to serve!

Notes:

1. Use slightly sour curd to make the gatte and the gravy. Overly sour curd might alter the taste of the dish.

2. Adjust the quantity of curd you use in the gatte as per requirement. Use only as much as you need to bind all the ingredients together into a soft dough.

3. The gatte are cooked when you see bubbles on their surface. Do not overcook them. Make sure you cook them on medium flame only, and do not overcrowd them in the pan either.

4. Once cooked, you can cut the gatte as big or as small as you like.

5. Make sure you reduce the flame to medium before adding the curd to the pan, while making the gravy. Otherwise, the curd might split, causing the gravy to lose its taste.

6. Adjust the quantity of the reserved cooking water depending upon the consistency of the gravy you require. I have added one cup of water here, because I didn’t want a very thick gravy.

7. You may use ghee instead of oil, for the tempering.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Dal Makhani| Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe

I love the creamy deliciousness of well-made Dal Makhani. I love how it literally melts in your mouth and slides down your throat. I love how simple, how unassuming, it looks but how it manages to surprise you with the burst of flavours that it is. Well-made Dal Makhani is a joy to eat, and absolutely not a difficult thing to get right at home.

Dal Makhani has always been projected as this dish that needs hours and hours of slow cooking, perfect technique and measurements to get right, something that is very difficult to achieve in a home setting. However, that so isn’t the case. A good Dal Makhani is, at its heart, very simple. You can pare down the ingredients to a minimum – even cut out the cream, which is considered a must – and still get an awesome, awesome Dal Makhani. Considering this, it is actually a highly nutritious dish, especially so if you can manage to use home-made spice powders. Just think of all the protein packed into that black urad that goes in there!

I have seen a number of celebrity chefs prepare Dal Makhani on television, seen several home chefs and my very own house help make it several times over. Somewhere down the line, I started making it myself, going on to develop a simple style that perfectly suits my family’s taste buds. We rather prefer this home-made version of Dal Makhani to the cream- and calorie-laden version that is typically served in restaurants.

Today, I share with you the way I make Dal Makhani at home. I will very occasionally use cream in it, that too just a teeny bit for garnishing. I cook it for 20-25 minutes, which is enough to give it a silky smoothness and gorgeous taste. As opposed to the traditional method of making Dal Makhani on a wood fire, I cook it in a pan. There is no smoky fragrance in the Dal Makhani I make – my family and I aren’t big fans of it, anyway. Ok, maybe my Dal Makhani isn’t the most authentic version there is, but it surely is delicious and healthy!

Let’s now check out my Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 cup whole black urad dal (sabut udad)
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1 tablespoon butter
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  9. A 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon
  10. 2-3 cloves
  11. 2-3 green cardamom
  12. 1 medium-sized bay leaf
  13. 1 black cardamom
  14. Salt to taste
  15. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  16. 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or to taste
  17. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  18. 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  19. About 1/2 teaspoon of kasoori methi
  20. Cream, as needed to garnish (optional)
  21. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander for garnishing

Method:

1. Wash the whole black urad well under running water. Drain out all the water. Add in enough fresh water to cover the washed and drained urad, and let it soak for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. When the urad is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer it to a wide vessel and add in just enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook the urad for 5-6 whistles on high flame or till it is well cooked, soft and mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop up the tomatoes roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic together in a mixer to a fine puree. Keep aside.

4. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.

5. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, remove the cooked urad dal from it. The urad should be super soft – there should be no give to it.

6. Heat the butter in a large pan. Add in the cumin and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Add in the cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamom, bay leaf, cloves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the onions begin to brown.

8. Add the tomato-ginger-garlic puree to the pan. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, or till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away. Stir intermittently.

9. Add the cooked urad dal to the pan, along with the water it was cooked in. Add about 1/2 cup of fresh water or as needed to adjust the consistency. Cook on medium flame for about 15 minutes or till the dal begins to thicken.

10. Add garam masala and amchoor powder to the pan, and more water if you feel the dal is getting too thick. Adjust salt and other spices. Mix well.

11. Continue to cook on medium flame for 3-4 more minutes. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas.

12. Crush the kasoori methi roughly with your hands and mix it into the Dal Makhani. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander too.

13. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, garnished with a dollop of fresh cream. This Healthy Dal Makhani can be served with rotis, parathas or steamed rice – some of these pickled onions would make a great accompaniment!

Notes:

1. You can use a mix of rajma and whole black urad to make the Dal Makhani. I have not used rajma here.

2. Butter works best in the tempering for Dal Makhani. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences. I have used Amul salted butter here. You may use ghee instead, too.

3. Make sure the urad dal is very well cooked and soft, before adding it to the pan. There should be no crunch to it.

4. The whole spices used in the tempering – cumin, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom and bay leaves – add all the zing that the Dal Makhani needs. If you don’t have any of these spices, though, you can omit it. The cumin is a must, though.

5. The slow cooking of the urad dal is what gives this Healthy Dal Makhani its creaminess. You can add in a tablespoon or so of fresh cream after the Dal Makhani is cooked and done, for more richness, but that is entirely up to you. Skip the fresh cream altogether if you are not comfortable using it, and your Dal Makhani will still be creamy and lovely. Here, I have used Amul fresh cream only for the purpose of garnishing the Dal Makhani.

6. Some people add coriander powder, fennel powder and/or roasted cumin powder to Dal Makhani. I don’t. I have used only a very little quantity of garam masala here.

7. Add the garam masala towards the end of the cooking, so it does not lose its flavour.

8. Kitchen King Masala, Dal Makhani masala or Chana Masala can also be used in place of the garam masala, in the above Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe.

9. Add the kasoori methi at the very end, after the Dal Makhani has finished cooking.

10. I like adding a bit of amchoor powder to the Dal Makhani. You may omit it if you don’t want to use it.

11. You can skip the onions, ginger and garlic if you want to.

12. Use Kashmiri red chilli powder in this recipe for best results. It imparts a very mild spiciness to the Dal Makhani, without making it overly hot, just the way it is supposed to be. It also adds a lovely colour to the Dal Makhani. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

13. Dal Makhani is traditionally slow-cooked on a wood fire, which infuses the dish with a smoky fragrance. The above recipe is not a slow-cook version – it is cooked for 20-25 minutes as opposed to the hours of simmering the traditional Dal Makhani is subject to. There is no smoky fragrance in this version, though that can easily be achieved using a little piece of charcoal.

14. A few minor changes can help you make this dish vegan and gluten-free.

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This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. Every month, the food bloggers in the group pair up, and each pair exchanges secret ingredients. Then, the bloggers go on to use these secret ingredients to create a recipe from a particular Indian state’s cuisine.

The theme this month is Punjabi cuisine, food from the Indian state of Punjab. Punjabi cuisine is known the world over for being robust and supremely flavourful, with a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes on offer. Makke Di Roti, Sarson Da Saag, Dal Makhani, Chana Masala, Paneer Butter Masala, Rajma Masala, Kadhi Pakode, Pindi Chhole, Atte Ka Halwa and Malai Lassi are some examples of the delicious vegetarian food and drink from this state.

My partner for the month is Mayuri, who blogs at Mayuri’s Jikoni. She assigned me two secret ingredients – cream and Kashmiri red chilli powder – and I decided to showcase this Dal Makhani recipe using them. I gave Mayuri the two secret ingredients of paneer and tomato – check out the absolutely scrumptious Paneer Butter Masala she has dished up using them!

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #282. The co-host this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Amba Khatta| Raw Mango Relish From Orissa

The recipe I present to you today, Amba Khatta, comes from Orissa, the land of Lord Jagannath. It is a beautiful sweet-and-sour relish made with raw mango, mildly spiced and flavoured with panch phoron.

This month, the members of the Shhhh Cooking Secretly group are presenting dishes from Orissa, and I chose to make Amba Khatta. I lucked out with the theme this month – I have an Odia help at my place, who was more than happy to tell me in detail about the cuisine of the place and share with me the way they made Amba Khatta at home. Yay to that!

The food of Orissa, I understand, is simple, but full of flavours. It bears a lot of similarities to food from the neighbouring state of Bengal – the plentiful usage of rice and mustard oil, the fondness for sweets, the use of panch phoron to spice food, the many relishes made from seasonal fruit (called ‘khatta‘). This Amba Khatta is a popular dish in Odia households, especially during the hot months of summer.

Amba Khatta is the Odia version of the South Indian Maangaai Pachadi, if I may put it that way, quite similar to the Aam Ki Launji from Rajasthan too. A super simple dish to prepare, it is packed with flavour and a delight to gorge on. This completely plant-based, vegan dish makes for a great accompaniment to rotis and/or steamed rice and can also be served as part of a thali or a big meal, including papad, salad and curries. If you simply omit the asafoetida used in this recipe, it becomes a completely gluten-free dish as well.

Now, let’s get to the recipe for the Amba Khatta, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 medium-sized raw mango
  2. About 3/4 cup water
  3. 1 tablespoon oil
  4. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  5. 1 teaspoon panch phoron
  6. 2-3 dry red chillies
  7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. Red chilli powder to taste
  11. 4-5 tablespoons powdered jaggery or to taste
  12. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder

Method:

  1. Remove the stem from the raw mango, if any. Cut it up into large pieces, discarding the seed. Keep the raw mango pieces aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the panch phoron, and allow it to stay in for a couple of seconds.
  3. Turn the flame to medium. Add in the dry red chillies (each broken into two), asafoetida and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.
  4. Now, add the raw mango pieces to the pan, along with salt and red chilli powder as well as turmeric powder. Saute on medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Now add water to the pan, along with the jaggery powder. Cover and cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes. The mango should get cooked through, but not get overly mushy. Switch off gas at this stage.
  6. Mix in the roasted cumin powder.
  7. Serve the Amba Khatta hot or at room temperature with rice or as an accompaniment to a thali. If you don’t plan on serving the Amba Khatta immediately, allow it to cool completely, then store in a clean, dry, air-tight container.

Notes:

  1. I have used a semi-raw totapuri mango (as shown in the picture above) to make this Amba Khatta. Totapuri mangoes aren’t very sour, so I didn’t have to use much jaggery. If you are using another, more sour version of raw mango, you might have to increase the quantity of jaggery you use.
  2. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how thick you want the Amba Khatta to be.
  3. I make the roasted cumin powder at home, though you can use a store-bought version. To make it, just dry roast some cumin in a pan till fragrant, taking care not to burn it, then allow it to cool down and powder coarsely. Store this in a clean, dry, air-tight container, and use as needed.
  4. Panch phoron is the Bengali five-spice mix that includes mustard, fenugreek, kalonji or onion seeds, cumin and fennel seeds. I use a store-bought version, but you can also make your own at home.
  5. Add the roasted cumin powder at the very end, after the dish has finished cooking and the gas has been switched off. This will help retain the fragrance of the cumin powder in the dish.
  6. Traditionally, mustard oil is used in this dish, which gives it a unique flavour and fragrance. However, since I did not have any mustard oil, I have used ordinary refined oil to make the Amba Khatta.
  7. I have not peeled the raw mango here – I just chopped it into large-ish pieces and used them to make the Amba Khatta. You may peel the mango if you so prefer.
  8. Stored in a clean, dry, air-tight container and refrigerated, the Amba Khatta stays well for up to a week.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. Every month, the members of this group get together to cook dishes from a particular region of India. This month, the place in question is Orissa.

I was paired with Renu of Cook With Renu for the challenge, who assigned me two secret ingredients – panch phoron and raw mango. Check out Renu’s space for many interesting traditional Indian dishes and some world cuisine recipes, as well as some lovely bakes. For this month’s Odia cooking challenge, I gave Renu the two secret ingredients of fenugreek and jaggery, and you have to see the gorgeous confection she has come up with using them!

I used the two assigned ingredients to prepare the Amba Khatta as above, with inputs from my house help.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #278.

Cauliflower Stalk Bai| Mizoram Bai Recipe

Have you heard of a dish called Bai?

For the uninitiated, Bai is a kind of soup that hails from the exotic north-eastern state of Mizoram. The state boasts of a number of indigenous leafy greens, many of which are unheard of outside – and several of these greens go into the Bai. Whatever vegetables are in season also find their way into the Bai. Some Rajah chillies (aka Bhut Jholokia or Ghost Pepper) and fermented mustard – both commonly used ingredients in Mizo kitchens – also form a part of this soup. If it is being served to non-vegetarians, pork sauce is also added. Very simple to prepare and very nutritious, bai is something you will typically find cooked across Mizo households.

Today, I present to you the recipe for Cauliflower Stalk Baibai made with the stalks of cauliflower – yes, you read that right! This is a vegetarian Mizoram Bai Recipe, which I have made with ingredients commonly available where I live.

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I made the Cauliflower Stalk Bai following the recipe outlined by Eat Your Kappa, with a few small variations of my own. What struck me the most about the recipe was just how simple it was, how basic. Well, that is how most food in all of the North East is – simply cooked but hearty, using a few seasonal and local ingredients. Another thing that stuck with me about this recipe is the use of cauliflower stalks, which would otherwise have gone into the trash – keeping wastage in the kitchen minimal, another trait that is quite common in all of the North East.

To be honest, the Bai was quite bland for all of us at home. I had to add in a few condiments – pepper, soya sauce and a bit of tomato ketchup – for it to become acceptable to our city-dweller palates. That’s not how it was intended to be consumed, I’m sure, but that’s how it went.

Well, here is the Mizoram Bai Recipe, the way I made it.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 5-6 cups of water
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 2 cups of cauliflower stalks + leaves + florets (finely chopped)
  5. 5-6 beans, finely chopped
  6. 1 medium-sized potato, peeled and finely chopped
  7. 4 green chillies or to taste, slit length-wise
  8. 1/4 cup cooked rice

Method:

1. Take the water in a thick-bottomed pan. Place it on high heat and bring to a boil.

2. Add in salt to taste and the soda. Mix well.

3. Add in the chopped cauliflower stalks, florets and leaves, as well as the chopped beans and potato. Also, add in the slit green chillies. Mix well.

4. Cook covered on medium flame till the vegetables are tender, but not overly mushy. This should take 15-20 minutes. Keep checking on the pan periodically, adding more water if the mixture feels like it is too thick, stirring intermittently. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

5. Now, add the cooked rice to the pan. Mix well.

6. Cook uncovered on medium flame for a couple of minutes more. Your Cauliflower Stalk Bai is ready!

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This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly group that I am part of. Every month, a bunch of us food bloggers get paired together, with each pair exchanging two secret ingredients and cooking dishes from a particular part of the country. This month, we are all cooking from the North Eastern state of Mizoram.

For the challenge this month, I was paired with Mayuri of Mayuri’s Jikoni, who gave me the two secret ingredients of cauliflower and chillies. I decided to use these two ingredients to make this Mizoram Bai Recipe.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #269. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Ai @ Ai Made It For You.

Meghalayan Ja Stem Recipe|Khasi Turmeric Rice

The recipe that I present to you today, Ja Stem, hails from the beautiful land of Meghalaya. Ja Stem is a traditional recipe of the Khasis, one of the tribes majorly inhabiting the state of Meghalaya. It refers to a very simple rice dish, flavoured with turmeric – ‘Ja‘ means ‘rice’ in the Khasi language, while ‘Stem‘ means ‘turmeric’. Typically, this dish is prepared with the very fragrant, organically grown Lakadong turmeric, which is native to Meghalaya.

Like most other North-Eastern states, Meghalaya has been blessed abundantly by Mother Nature. Just like the other states in the North East, Meghalaya has a raw, non-commercialised aura to it, its cuisine simple and wholesome, based on local ingredients, herbs and spices. I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to experience the grandeur of Meghalaya first-hand, and to taste some of its local fare, Ja Stem included.

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I had always wanted to try making Ja Stem at home, and this month’s Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge provided me just the perfect foil to do so. The members of the group are cooking dishes from the state of Meghalaya this month, and my heart was in the making of Ja Stem. Thankfully, the two secret ingredients my partner assigned me fit right in. So, one fine weekend this month, I undertook the task of preparing this, inspired by this recipe from Zizira.com, fuelled by memories of the beautiful time we had had in Meghalaya. I opted to make the Ja Stem in a pressure cooker – as opposed to cooking it in a pan, the way it is done traditionally – and it was a matter of minutes. The rice turned out fluffy and delicious, simple but hearty.

Ja Stem is quite a healthy dish, cooked using minimal oil. It is gluten-free and vegan, too. Considering it is rather bland on its own, I paired it with some Gutti Vankaya Koora, and an awesome meal was had by all.

Let us now check out my Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 3 green chillies
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 small onion
  7. 2 tablespoons shelled green peas
  8. 1 small carrot
  9. 2-1/2 cups water
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves

Method:

1. Peel the carrot and chop into small cubes. Keep aside.

2. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.

3. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic and chop them roughly. Grind to a coarse paste. Keep aside.

5. Wash the rice under running water a couple of times. Drain out all the water. Keep aside.

6. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add the slit green chillies chopped carrot, onion, green peas and the ginger-garlic paste. Saute on high heat for a minute.

7. Add the washed and drained rice to the pressure cooker. Saute for a minute.

8. Now, add the 2-1/2 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well.

9. Close the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

10. When the pressure has entirely gone down, fluff up the rice gently. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve the Ja Stem hot with a curry of your choice.

Notes:

  1. I have used Sona Masoori raw rice in this Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe. You can use any variety of rice you prefer, instead.
  2. I use 3-1/2 cups of water per cup of rice, for ordinary steamed rice. I have cut down on the quantity of water used here, since I wanted the Ja Stem to be grainy – I have used 2-1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. Adjust the quantity of water depending upon how grainy you want the final dish to be.
  3. In the absence of the fragrant Lakadong turmeric power from Meghalaya, I have used locally available, but equally fragrant turmeric powder.
  4. I have used just 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, while the original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.
  5. Ja Stem is, typically, just salted turmeric rice. Here, I have added green chillies, peas and carrot, to make it more flavourful. The Ja Stem that we tried out at a Khasi homestay in Meghalaya had carrots and peas in it too, and I decided to make a similar version.
  6. 3 whistles in my 5-litre pressure cooker were just right to yield the kind of fluffy, grainy but well-cooked Ja Stem that I was aiming for. Please adjust the number of whistles, depending upon the texture of rice you require, pressure cooker make and size.
  7. Since the Ja Stem is quite bland on its own, it needs a slightly spicy curry to go with it.
  8. I have used a 5-litre pressure cooker for this Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe.

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. Every month, the participants cook from a particular state of India. This month, we are cooking dishes from the state of Meghalaya.

I was paired with Sasmita of First Timer Cook for the month, who assigned me the two secret ingredients of ‘turmeric’ and ‘ginger’. This Meghalayan Ja Stem recipe was what I chose to prepare, using these two ingredients.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #265. The co-hosts this week are Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Kat @ Kat’s 9 Lives.

Chak Hao Amubi| Manipuri Black Rice Pudding (Kheer)

The recipe I am going to share with you today comes from Manipur, an Indian region I have always been fascinated by. Apart from its beautiful valleys and lush forests, sprawling grasslands and caves, the state has a rich cultural heritage too. Manipur is also home to black rice, Chak Hao in the local language, an interesting ingredient I have just begun experimenting with. I chose to use it to prepare Chak Hao Amubi, or a Manipuri Black Rice Pudding (Kheer), and was absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out.

The cuisine of Manipur is very simple, the dishes making use of minimal ingredients. The cuisine is largely non-vegetarian, with quite a few vegetarian dishes on offer too. A variety of local vegetables and greens are used in Manipuri cooking, mostly grown organically. The food is spiced up with local chillies, flavoured with any of the several aromatic herbs that grow in abundance here. The traditional Chak Hao Amubi is reflective of the state’s culinary philosophies too – it is made with minimal ingredients, allowing the nutty flavour of the black rice to shine through. I have made the kheer with a few little variations of my own, though, to suit my family’s taste buds.

Like I was saying earlier, the Black Rice Pudding turned out absolutely brilliant. The black rice, with its unique flavour profile, worked beautifully with the milk and sugar in the pudding. A much healthier alternative to the regular white rice, it lent the pudding a pretty, pretty purple hue too. In terms of both looks and taste, this Black Rice Kheer was a huge hit with everyone at home!

Here’s how I made the Chak Hao Amubi or Black Rice Pudding.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 1/4 cup black rice
  2. 1 litre full-fat milk (+ a little extra if needed)
  3. 1/2 cup sugar or as per taste
  4. 2-3 pinches cardamom powder (optional)
  5. About 1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
  6. 5-6 cashewnuts (optional)
  7. 5-6 almonds (optional)
  8. Dried rose petals as needed for garnishing (optional)

Method:

1. Wash the black rice once in running water. Drain out the excess water. Add in just enough fresh water to cover it, and let it soak for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. Once the black rice is done soaking, drain out the excess water from it. Keep ready.

3. Take 1 litre of full-fat milk in a heavy-bottomed pan, and place on high heat. Let the milk come to a boil.

4. Lower the flame to low-medium. Add the soaked and drained black rice to the milk in the pan. Mix well.

5. Cook on low-medium heat till the rice is cooked through, 25-30 minutes. You will need to stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan, and scrape down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan.

6. Now, add sugar to the pan. Mix well. Simmer the Black Rice Pudding for a couple of minutes more. Switch off gas.

7. Mix in the cardamom powder to the pudding, after the flame has been switched off.

8. Chop the cashewnuts and almonds into slivers. Heat the ghee in another pan. Reduce flame and add the cashewnut and almond slivers. Allow them to brown slightly, ensuring that they do not burn. Switch off the gas, and add the ghee, cashewnuts and almonds to the Black Rice Pudding. Mix well.

9. Serve the Black Rice Kheer hot, at room temperature or chilled, garnished with dried rose petals.

Notes:

1. Black rice is quite tough, and typically needs a soaking time of 8-10 hours. However, there are some versions that need to soak for just 2-3 hours or so. Ensure that you read the package instructions carefully, to check on the exact cooking proceedure for the black rice you are using. The one I got, from our recent travel to Thailand, needed to soak overnight.

2. Use good-quality full-fat milk, for best results. Here, I have used Nandini Full-Cream milk.

3. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

4. To check doneness of the rice, try tasting a couple of the grains – they will still be a bit hard on the outside, but will be soft and cooked on the inside. Like I said earlier, it takes around 25-30 minutes for the black rice to cook in the milk.

5. If you feel the kheer is getting too thick but the rice is not yet cooked, you can add in some more boiled milk. In this case, you will need to re-adjust the quantity of sugar you need.

6. The original Chak Hao Amubi or Black Rice Kheer in Manipur is a very simple affair, made with just milk, black rice and sugar (often, with jaggery or honey as the sweetener). Occasionally, a couple of pinches of cardamom powder are used to liven it up. Using the cardamom is purely optional – I would suggest using it, though, for it adds a lovely touch to the kheer.

7. I have used ghee-roasted cashewnuts and almonds in the Chak Hao Amubi, as well as dried rose petals, to make it more inviting. Using these ingredients is purely optional.

8. I have used only 1/4 cup of rice here, as I wanted the kheer to be runny. You can adjust the quantity of black rice and milk (and sugar, of course), depending upon how thick you want the kheer to be.

9. Check out this old post of mine for another lovely recipe using black rice, and some interesting facts about this very healthy ingredient.

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This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. Every month, the participants of the group cook dishes from a particular part of India, using two secret ingredients assigned to them. This month, all of us over are cooking dishes from the Indian state of Manipur.

I was paired with Bhawana of Code2Cook for this month, who assigned to me the two secret ingredients of black rice and sugar. I decided to make Manipur’s Chak Hao Amubi using these two ingredients. Check out the amazing Vegan Sana Thongba or Vegan Manipuri Paneer Curry that Bhawana made using the two ingredients I gave her – cumin and milk!

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #261. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Julianna @ Foodie on Board.

Mumbai Vada Pav Recipe| How To Make Vada Pav

Vada Pav is one of the lifelines of the Maharashtrian city of Mumbai, ranking right up there with the city’s bus transport and suburban railway systems. It is common man’s food, very pocket-friendly, easily available on the streets at any time of the day (or night). The Mumbaikars are known to grab a vada pav off a street-side stall, and eat it on the go, on the way to work or while travelling for personal errands. Today, I present to you the Mumbai vada pav recipe, which I prepared for the Sshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

For the uninitiated, vada pav refers to a deep-fried potato patty (batata vada) sandwiched between two buttery slices of thick bread (pav). Typically served bundled up in a piece of newspaper, along with fried green chillies and a dry garlic chutney, vada pav is a yummylicious treat much loved by all and sundry. Because of its resemblance to a burger, vada pav is also referred to sometimes as Bombay (erstwhile Mumbai) Burger. There are quite a few stories about how exactly the vada pav came into existence, but there is no doubt about the fact that it originated in Mumbai. However, today, vada pav is now commonly available across the length and breadth of India.

Let us now check out the famous Mumbai Vada Pav recipe.

Recipe courtesy: My Ginger Garlic Kitchen, with slight variations

Ingredients (makes 8-10 pieces):

For the batata (potato) vada:

  1. 4 large potatoes
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 green chillies
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 3-4 cloves of garlic
  7. 1 tablespoon oil + more for deep frying
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  11. A dash of lemon juice
  12. 1-1/2 cups besan or gram flour
  13. 2 tablespoons rice flour

For the dry garlic chutney:

  1. 1/4 cup grated coconut
  2. 4 dry red chillies
  3. Salt to taste
  4. 8-10 cloves of garlic
  5. 4 tablespoons peanuts
  6. 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  7. 2 teaspoons red chilli powder or to taste

Other ingredients:

  1. 8-10 ladi pav
  2. Salted butter, as needed
  3. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as needed
  4. Spicy green chutney, as needed
  5. Green chillies as needed, to serve alongside the vada pav (optional)

Method:

Let us first get the dry garlic chutney ready.

  1. Peel the garlic cloves needed for the chutney, and keep them ready.
  2. Get a pan nice and hot, then turn the flame down to medium.
  3. Now, add the peanuts, sesame seeds, broken dry red chillies, grated coconut and peeled garlic cloves to the pan. Dry roast on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, taking care not to burn any of the ingredients.
  4. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate, and allow them to cool down completely.
  5. Once fully cool, take the roasted ingredients in a small mixer jar. Add in red chilli powder and salt to taste. Pulse a couple of times, a second each time, stopping in between to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar. Stop when you get a coarse powder. Remember to pulse and not grind constantly – grinding will turn the ingredients into a paste, but what you need is a coarse powder.
  6. Keep the dry garlic chutney aside for use in the vada pav later.

We will then get the filling for the vadas ready.

  1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly under running water a couple of times. Ensure that no dirt remains on them.
  2. Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a wide vessel. Fill in just enough water to immerse the potatoes.
  3. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  4. Once the pressure has entirely gone down, remove the cooked potatoes and allow to cool. Peel and mash them roughly. Keep aside.
  5. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop the ginger and green chillies. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste in a small mixer, using a little water. Keep aside.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Now, add the mashed potatoes, salt to taste, turmeric powder and the ginger-garlic-green chilly paste. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  7. Switch off gas. Mix in the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. The vada filling is ready – allow it to cool down completely before using it.

We will now prepare the batter for the vadas.

  1. Take the gram flour, rice flour and salt to taste in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add water little by little to get a thick batter that is not too runny. Ensure that the batter is free of lumps.

Now, we will prepare the vadas.

  1. Take oil for deep frying in a pan. Set it on high flame and allow it to heat up well.
  2. Meanwhile, divide the potato filling we prepared earlier into 8-10 equal parts.
  3. When the oil is nice and hot, dip a couple of the potato filling balls in the batter. Coat them evenly in the batter, and then drop into the hot oil. Fry on medium flame till the vadas are brown on the outside and well-done from the inside. You can fry about 2 vadas at a time, typically, without overcrowding the pan. Transfer the fried vadas to a plate.
  4. Fry all the vadas in a similar manner. Keep ready.
  5. If you are using green chillies, fry them on medium flame, in the leftover oil, till their skin blisters. Transfer to a plate and drizzle some salt over the fried chillies. Keep aside.

Now, while the vadas are still hot, we will assemble the vada pav.

  1. Cut one ladi pav into half.
  2. Heat a thick dosa pan, and add some butter in the centre. Reduce the flame to low and lightly toast both sides of the ladi pav in the butter.
  3. Spread some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney evenly on both sides of the pav.
  4. Spread some dry garlic chutney on the bottom of the pav.
  5. Slightly flatten one vada and place it on the bottom part of the pav. Add some more dry garlic chutney on top of the vada.
  6. Cover it with the top half of the pav, and press down slightly.
  7. Serve immediately, with fried green chillies on the side.
  8. Prepare all the vada pav in a similar fashion.

Notes:

  1. I have used ordinary red chilli powder in the dry garlic chutney. You may use Kashmiri chilli powder instead, for a deeper red colour and less heat.
  2. Any leftover dry garlic chutney can be refrigerated and stored for up to a week. It can be used along with rotis and parathas, or mixed in oil and served with dosas.
  3. Torn curry leaves can be added to the potato filling, if you so desire. I don’t, because we don’t enjoy biting into them.
  4. Skip the lemon juice in the potato filling, if you don’t prefer it. I add it, because we like it.
  5. I normally use store-bought ladi pav to make this dish. You can make the pav at home from scratch too, if you want to.
  6. Click here to get my recipe for spicy green chutney.
  7. Click here to get my recipe for sweet-sour tamarind chutney.
  8. You can prepare the dry garlic chutney, the sweet-sour tamarind chutney, and the spicy green chutney in advance and refrigerate it. This way, you just need to make the vadas on the day you plan to serve the vada pav.
  9. Any leftover fried vadas can be served separately or used in other dishes, later.
  10. The recipe for batata (potato) vadas stated above is the Maharashtrian way of making them. Other states – like Tamilnadu for instance or, say, Gujarat – have slightly different ways of making potato vadas.

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This post is for the Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. Every month, the participants of the group cook dishes from a particular part of India, using two secret ingredients assigned to them. This month, all of us over are cooking dishes from the Indian state of Maharashtra. My partner for the month, Priya Satheesh from Priya’s Menu, gave me two secret ingredients – peanuts and coconut – and I decided to use them in this Mumbai Vada Pav recipe. My talented co-blogger prepared a delicious Vatana Usal using the two secret ingredients I gave her i.e. peas and potato.
I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #252. The co-hosts this week are Alex @ Turks Who Eat and Zeba @ Food For The Soul.
Did you like this Mumbai Vada Pav recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Indori Poha| Authentic Indori Poha Recipe With Jeeravan Masala

This month, the talented food bloggers who are part of the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge are exploring the cuisine of Madhya Pradesh, the ‘heart of India’.

I’m not sure if you guys know, but a few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Kanha in Madhya Pradesh. I was invited by Pugdundee Safaris, to check out their beautiful, beautiful Kanha Earth Lodge and indulge in a wildlife safari in the gorgeous Kanha National Park. This was my first and only visit to Madhya Pradesh, special in more ways than one. Spectacular as the food at the lodge was, I did not get a chance to explore the famed local food of Madhya Pradesh. Well, I was not much of a ‘food blogger’ then, and wasn’t very aware of the brilliant foods that the state has to offer. Now, I am older and better read, and definitely more aware! I think I need to go on a special trip just for hunting down some of those delectable-sounding dishes! Till then, I will make do with trying my hands at one of the state’s most well-known foods.

For the uninitiated, Madhya Pradesh has several vegetarian and non-vegetarian delights to offer. The cuisine changes in different parts of the state, depending upon its history and geographical conditions, but wheat and meat remain the staples almost everywhere. Amli Ri Kadhi, Bhutte Ka Kees, Indori Poha & Jalebi, Bedai, Gatpat, Garadu, Daal Bafla, Mawa Baati and Khoya Jalebi are some of the vegetarian dishes that you can enjoy in the state of Madhya Pradesh. For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, I decided to make Indori Poha, a famous beaten rice dish from the streets of Indore.

The Indori Poha is not your ordinary dish of rice flakes. It is a fragrant, extremely flavourful version of poha that you have to try out to believe the beauty of. Freshly made Jeeravan Masala, the fennel seeds (saunf) that go into the tempering, the generous dose of sev, raw onions, finely chopped coriander and pomegranate arils that it is served with – all these are the hallmarks of a good plate of Indori Poha.

I made the poha with home-made, freshly ground Jeeravan Masala, and was richly rewarded for my efforts. The Indori Poha turned out lip-smackingly delicious, and was much adored by everyone at home. It makes for a beautiful breakfast option, something quite different from the usual for us. Needless to say, I’m so thrilled at having discovered this!

Traditionally, to make Indori Poha, the rice flakes aka poha are first steamed in a colander, and then the other ingredients are mixed in, one by one. I cooked this in a different way, though, in a pan, the way one would normally make Batata Poha or Kanda Poha. Like I said earlier, the taste was just awesome! I can’t wait to try making this the traditional way!

Now, let us check out the recipe for Indori Poha, shall we?

Recipe adapted from: Yummy Diaries

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 3 cups rice flakes aka poha
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
  5. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  7. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  9. 1-1/2 tablespoons Jeeravan Masala, or as needed
  10. 8-10 Curry Leaves
  11. 2-3 green chillies
  12. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  13. Pomegranate arils, as needed for garnishing
  14. 1 medium-sized onion
  15. Juice of 1 lemon
  16. Sev, as needed for garnishing
Method:
  1. Wash the poha under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander, and let all the excess water drain away.
  2. Fluff up the washed and drained poha in the colander, gently. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and sugar. Mix well, gently, with your hands. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.
  4. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Add in the fennel seeds, and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  6. Now, turn the flame to medium. Add the poha to the pan, along with the Jeeravan Masala, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Mix well.
  7. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Switch off the gas.
  8. Mix in the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander and onion.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with sev and pomegranate seeds as needed.

Notes:

  1. Dry red chillies have been added in the preparation of Jeeravan Masala, which gives it spiciness. You need not add red chilli powder in the preparation of the Indori Poha, as you are already using Jeeravan Masala.
  2. I have used the thin variety of poha here, so I did not need to soak it beforehand. If you are using the thicker version, you might have to soak it for a while before you begin making the Indori Poha.
  3. Adjust the quantity of green chillies, salt, Jeeravan Masala, sugar and lemon juice you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
  4. I have used refined sunflower oil here. You may use any other type of oil you prefer.
  5. Pomegranate arils are a must in the making of Indori Poha – you can use as many or as little as you want. However, I have not used them since I did not have any on hand.
  6. Typically, thick Ratlami sev is used to garnish this poha. I did not have any of that, so I have used store-bought medium-fine sev instead. Use as much or as little sev as you prefer.
  7. Jeeravan Masala, sev, lemon juice and sugar, onion, pomegranate arils, fresh coriander and fennel seeds in the garnish – these are the essential components of Indori Poha, without which it just wouldn’t be the same. Please do try not to skip any of these ingredients when you make Indori Poha.
  8. Click here to go to the detailed recipe for Jeeravan Masala.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This recipe is for the Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. Every month, the participants of the group cook dishes from a particular part of India, using two secret ingredients assigned to them. This month, all of us over are cooking dishes from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. My partner for the month, Poornima Porchelvan from Poornima’s Cook Book, gave me two secret ingredients – fennel seeds and onion – and I decided to use them in making Indori Poha.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

Cherupayar Curry| Kerala Green Gram Curry With Coconut Milk

I love cooking with legumes. I love making them a part of my family’s meals, regularly. I am forever looking for new ways to work with legumes like kabuli chana, rajma, double beans, whole green moong, moth beans and the like. Not only are these legumes significant sources of protein, but they are also rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibre and minerals. So, I was, naturally, thrilled to recently discover this new (to me) dish called Cherupayar Curry, which uses green gram aka whole green moong or moong beans.

The Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of is cooking recipes from Kerala, this month. I was paired with the sweet Rafeeda, who writes at The Big Sweet Tooth, for the month. She assigned me two secret ingredients – green gram and coconut – and I decided to make a Kerala-style Cherupayar Curry with them.

I loved how the Cherupayar Curry turned out – finger-lickingly delicious, hearty, and nutritious too. It paired beautifully with the rotis I served it with. Traditionally, this curry is made with fresh grated coconut, ground, but I made do with store-bought coconut milk. With that taken care of, the Cherupayar Curry was a breeze to make, a job that took me barely 15 minutes.

The little reading that I did on the Internet told me that there are various ways to make this curry, though the basic ingredients remain, more or less, the same. Different families in Kerala have different versions of the Cherupayar Curry, some made with black pepper powder, some with garam masala, some with just the basic salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. I followed this recipe from At The Corner Of Happy & Harried, substituting coconut milk for the cow’s milk the author has used.

Here is how I made this Cherupayar Curry.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 3/4 cup green gram aka whole green moong
  2. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  6. 1 sprig curry leaves
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 5-6 garlic cloves
  9. 1 large tomato
  10. 2 green chillies
  11. 1 large onion
  12. Salt, to taste
  13. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  14. Red chilli powder, to taste
  15. About 1 tablespoon garam masala, or to taste
  16. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  17. A few stalks of fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Soak the whole green moong in just enough water to cover it, for at least 8-10 hours or overnight. When done, drain out all the water. Add in just enough water to cover the soaked green moong. Pressure cook for 2 whistles, and allow the pressure to come down naturally.
  2. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Peel the garlic cloves. Grind the ginger and garlic together, coarsely, using a small mixer jar. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the onion, tomato and coriander finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to pop. Add the cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves and slit green chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add the chopped onions to the pan. On medium flame, saute till they begin to turn brown.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with the ginger-garlic paste. On medium flame, saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add a little water at this stage, if needed.
  7. Add in the cooked whole green moong to the pan, along with the water it was cooked in.
  8. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala and red chilli powder to taste. Mix well.
  9. Let the curry simmer on medium flame till it begins to thicken, 2-3 minutes.
  10. Keeping the flame on medium, mix in the thick coconut milk. Allow the Cherupayar Curry to simmer for a minute more, and then switch off gas.
  11. Mix in finely chopped coriander. Serve hot with dosa, rotis, parathas or puttu.

Notes:

  1. Coconut oil works best in the making of this Cherupayar Curry. However, you may use any other type of oil as well.
  2. You may omit the slit green chillies, if you plan to make this curry for kids.
  3. If you want to keep it really simple, you can omit the garam masala as well. Just add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder as the seasonings.
  4. I have used a 200 ml carton of store-bought Dabur Coconut Milk. If you so wish, you can make the coconut milk at home as well.
  5. After soaking, cook the whole green moong for just 2 whistles or so. It should be just cooked, still firm, not overly mushy. Cooking times and number of whistles might vary depending upon the make of the pressure cooker.
  6. Coriander powder can be used instead of garam masala, in this Cherupayar Curry. Here, I have used store-bought Shan Garam Masala.

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This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #243. The co-hosts this week are Catherine @ Kunstkitchen’s Blog and Becky @ Bubbly Bee.