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.

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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.

Mixed Vegetable Badi Ki Sabzi

The Indian state of Jharkhand came into existence in the year 2000, carved out of Bihar. Much of the state is covered by forests, heavily populated by elephants and tigers. I have seen a friend of mine from Jharkhand sing paeans about the state’s natural beauty, but have never had a chance to visit. I am glad to have gotten this chance to get at least virtually close to Jharkhand’s cuisine, via the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of.

For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, all of us food bloggers are cooking dishes from the state of Jharkhand. This month, I was paired with Aruna, the lovely blogger who writes at Aharam, and she assigned me two secret ingredients to make my dish with – potatoes and tomatoes. I decided to use these ingredients to prepare Mixed Vegetable Badi Ki Sabzi, which turned out finger-lickingly delicious and became an instant hit with everyone at home.

About the cuisine of Jharkhand

Before we move on to the recipe for Mixed Vegetable Badi Ki Sabzi, here’s a little glimpse into Jharkhandi cuisine, via Wikipedia.

Jharkhand shares borders with Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Chattisgarh. The cuisine of Jharkhand has heavy influences from those of these neighbouring states, but it also has several indigenous dishes of its own – kera-dudhauri, for instance, which is a dish made with milk, jaggery, rice and ghee; or charpa i.e. fritters made with mashed rice, spices and vegetables. The cuisine of Jharkhand uses a large amount of rice, but a limited number of spices.

Handia, also called Diyeng, is a locally made rice beer that is quite popular in Jharkhand, consumed during marriages and other festive occasions. Mahu, a liquor made using the fruits and flowers of the Mahua tree, is also a favourite among locals in Jharkhand.

Mixed Vegetable Badi Ki Sabzi

Aloo Badi Ki Sabzi – a curry made using potatoes and sun-dried lentil badis or vadis – is quite a common dish in the households of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. I decided to make the sabzi even more wholesome by using an assortment of vegetables, rather than using just potatoes. This gave me just the perfect opening to make use of the beautiful, fresh rajma beans I picked up at the vegetable vendor’s a while back.

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The lovely Mixed Vegetable & Badi Ki Sabzi, which I served with parathas

The badis or vadis used in this sabzi (they can be used in a whole lot of other ways, too!) are typically made at home, using either moong daal or urad daal or vegetables. They are commonly made in bulk in the months of summer, when sunlight is plentiful, and then stored for use during the rest of the year. I, however, used store-bought urad daal vadis to make this dish.

The store-bought urad daal badis or vadis that I made use of

 

Now, let’s take a look at the recipe for the Mixed Vegetable & Badi Ki Sabzi, shall we?

Recipe Source: This recipe from Patna Daily, with a few minor variations of my own

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  2. 5-6 cloves garlic
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 1 medium-sized onion
  5. 1 medium-sized potato
  6. 1/4 cup shelled fresh rajma beans
  7. 6-8 beans
  8. A few large florets of cauliflower
  9. 1 medium-sized carrot
  10. 1 small capsicum
  11. 2-3 big urad daal vadi/badi
  12. Salt to taste
  13. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  14. Red chilli powder to taste
  15. 2 teaspoons garam masala or to taste
  16. 2 teaspoons coriander powder or to taste
  17. 2 teaspoons cumin powder or to taste
  18. 1 tablespoon oil
  19. 1 teaspoon cumin
  20. 2 pinches asafoetida
  21. 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander

Method:

1. Peel the garlic cloves and ginger. Chop the peeled ginger and tomatoes into small pieces. Grind the ginger, garlic and tomatoes to a puree, using a mixer. Keep aside.

2. Now, we will prep the vegetables we need to use. Peel the potato and carrot and chop into cubes. Remove strings from the beans and chop into small pieces. Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Peel the onion and chop finely. Chop capsicum into small pieces. Keep aside.

3. Break the urad daal vadis into small pieces. Keep aside.

4. Heat the oil in a small pressure cooker bottom. Drop in the broken vadi. Fry on medium flame for a minute or till they turn brown, then transfer to a plate.

5. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida to the residual hot oil in the pressure cooker bottom. Keep the flame on medium. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Now, add in the tomato-ginger-garlic puree. On high flame, cook for 2-3 minutes or till the raw smell disappears.

7. Add the chopped onion, potato, beans, carrot, capsicum and shelled fresh rajma beans. Mix well.

8. Add salt to taste, garam masala, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Add in the fried vadis, along with about 1 cup water. Mix well.

9. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow 4 whistles on high flame.

10. When the pressure has entirely gone down, open the pressure cooker. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. That’s it! Serve the sabzi hot with rotis or parathas.

Notes:

1. If the tomatoes are too tart, you can add a tablespoon of sugar/jaggery to the sabzi, to even out the taste. However, that is purely optional.

2. I have used store-bought urad daal vadis here. You can use any type of vadi/badi available to you.

3. You can use any vegetables you have, in the making of this sabzi.

4. The vadis I used were big in size, so I broke them up into smaller pieces. If you have small vadis, you can go ahead and use them directly in the sabzi.

5. I used a 3-1/2 litre pressure cooker to make this sabzi.

6. The amount of water you add to the sabzi will depend on how thick/watery you want it to be. The above quantity worked just fine for us.

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Did you like this recipe for Mixed Vegetable & Badi Ki Sabzi? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #234, and the co-hosts this week are Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog and Deb @ Pantry Portfolio.

 

Doon Chetin| Kashmiri Walnut Chutney

Have you ever tried out Doon Chetin, a walnut chutney in Kashmiri style? I tried it out at home recently, and fell head over heels in love with it, as did my family.

Making Doon Chetin (‘Doon‘ is Kashmiri for ‘walnuts’ and ‘chetin‘ refers to ‘chutney’) had been on my mind ever since our recent trip to Kashmir. I didn’t have an opportunity to savour this chutney in the course of our holiday, so I pledged to make it once I got back home. I made sure to pick up some Kashmiri walnuts (which are believed to be of high quality) and some shahi jeera (black cumin) that goes into the preparation of this chutney. I read up on the Internet, and was lucky to find an authentic Kashmiri recipe for the Doon Chetin. Like I said earlier, the chutney was made recently, and the rest, as they say, is history. I served it as a dip with home-made kuzhi paniyarams, and it was gone in no time at all!

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The Doon Chetin combines some really unusual ingredients – fresh curd, black cumin, raw onion, walnuts, mint and the like. Initially, I admit, I did have apprehensions about whether I would like the taste. What if it tasted too weird? Well, I wouldn’t know unless and until I tried it out, right? So, try it out I did, and I am so glad I did – the Doon Chetin tastes absolutely amazing, rich and creamy, yet light and exquisite, the chillies and mint adding a zing to it, the walnuts contributing their nuttiness, with the faintest of sourness from the curd. Yumminess, I tell you!

Traditionally, the Kashmiris prepare Doon Chetin in a stone mortar and pestle, which gives it a slightly coarse texture. It is eaten with non-vegetarian kebabs or rice dishes, typically. I used a mixer to make the chutney and ground it smooth, which is fine since I was planning to use it as a dip.

Try it out, and I am sure you will love it too!

Here’s the recipe for the Doon Chetin.

Recipe Source: Keep Calm & Curry On

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

  1. 1/2 cup walnuts
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  6. 1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon shahi jeera aka black cumin
  8. 1/4 cup fresh thick curd

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixer jar.
  2. Blend till smooth.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Serve as an accompaniment with tandoori dishes, fried snacks or rice dishes.

Notes:

1. For best results, use thick and fresh curd that is not too sour.

2. Adjust the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the chutney to be.

3. I used Kashmiri walnuts and shahi jeera to make this chutney. In case you don’t have access to them, you can use locally sourced variants for these two ingredients too.

4. Traditionally, this recipe uses Kashmiri red chilli powder, which is low on heat and adds a gorgeous reddish colour to dishes. I didn’t have any, so I used ordinary red chilli powder instead – which is why the colour of my Doon Chetin is not as beautifully brown as it is, traditionally.

5. You can add in a couple of cloves of garlic while grinding the Doon Chetin, too. I skipped it.

6. If you do not have shahi jeera, you can substitute it with ordinary cumin. However, shahi jeera adds a richer, deeper flavour to the Doon Chetin.

7. Dried mint powder can be used in the chutney, in place of fresh mint leaves. If you are using dried mint powder, use about 1 tablespoon for the above quantities of ingredients.

8. I wanted the Doon Chetin to be of a smooth texture, so I ground it in my mixer. You can keep the texture coarser, too, if you so prefer. You may even use a mortar and pestle to make the chutney, as is done traditionally in Kashmir.

9. Any leftover Kashmiri Walnut Chutney can be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight box and stored, refrigerated, for 3-4 days. Use only a clean, dry spoon for the chutney.

10. I served the Kashmiri Walnut Chutney as a dip alongside quick-fix kuzhi paniyarams made from idli batter. The two made for a wonderful, wonderful pair.

What do you think about this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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This post is for the Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. I was paired by Priya Mahesh of @200deg for this month’s challenge, who assigned me the two secret ingredients of ‘Walnuts’ and ‘Curd’. Doon Chetin is what I decided to make, using these two ingredients.

I’m also sending this recipe for Fiesta Friday #230, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

 

 

Chamba Chukh| Red Chilly Pickle From Himachal Pradesh

For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, we food bloggers explored the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh, a land blessed with abundant natural beauty, with several beautiful indigenous foods.

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About Himachali Cuisine

The cuisine of Himachal Pradesh is simple, yet hearty and flavourful, many of the foods fermented and slow-cooked. There is considerable influence from the neighbouring Jammu & Kashmir, Tibet and Punjab on the food of Himachal Pradesh.

Considering a variety of leafy greens and vegetables are tough to grow on the harsh terrain, the Himachalis residing on the high hills (say, in Spiti or Lahaul) depend heavily on rice, meat, hardy grains like buckwheat, millets and barley, as well as dried lentils. In the foothills, seasonal vegetables and greens are consumed aplenty, ,where they are relatively easier to grow. As you move towards the south of the state, you will find more and more people tending to livestock and undertaking agriculture as a way of life – here, the consumption of dairy products is also higher. Wherever you go in Himachal Pradesh, you will find an utter devotion to different varieties of tea, including one called Tchaku Cha, prepared with butter, salt and milk.

The Himachali Dham – a meal consisting of a several courses, typically prepared by the Brahmin cooks of Kangra Valley called botis – is perhaps the best known thing from this state. Chana or Rajma Madra, an aromatic rice that is served with a mixed-lentil daal and khatta, and Mitha Bhaat are some of the dishes that typically form part of a Himachali dham. The dham is reminiscent of the Kashmiri Wazwan – both are multi-course meals fit for kings, but while the Wazwan is predominantly non-vegetarian, the dham is entirely vegetarian. Legend has it that centuries ago, Jaisthambh, the then king of Himachal Pradesh was so fascinated by Kashmiri Wazwan that he ordered his cooks to prepare a similar multi-course, vegetarian meal – and that is how the dham came about.

Chamba Chukh

For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, I was paired with the talented Sujata Roy, who blogs at Batter Up With Sujata. She allotted me the two secret ingredients of cumin and tamarind, and I used them to prepare Chamba Chukh, a fiery dried red chilli pickle from the Chamba Valley.

The chukh has several variations throughout Himachal Pradesh, I hear. It is made in slightly different ways in different homes, though the basic ingredients remain the same. These days, ready-made bottled chukh is available in stores too, with their own little variations. Some people add honey and lots of dried fruits and nuts to it, while some prefer keeping it quite hot with not a hint of sweetness. The version I made is hot too, but I tried to even it out by adding lots of lemon juice and some jaggery. The result was a delectable chukh, which makes for a beautiful accompaniment to rotis, idlis and dosas, a lovely spread for nachos, pizzas, sandwiches and rolls. I love how it jazzes up a dull dish, adds a zing to otherwise bland dishes. The chukh travels really well too, and can be stored for up to a month.

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Here is how I made the Chamba Chukh.

Recipe Courtesy: Adapted from The Picky Bowl, with a few variations of my own

Ingredients (yields about 1 cup):

For the spice powder:

  1. 1 teaspoon dhania aka coriander seeds
  2. 1 teaspoon rai aka mustard seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon ajwain aka carom seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon methi dana aka fenugreek seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon jeera aka cumin seeds

Other ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dry red chillies
  2. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 2 tablespoons amchoor powder
  6. 2-3 tablespoons jaggery, or to taste
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 10 fat garlic cloves
  9. Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
  10. 1/4 cup mustard oil
  11. 2 pinches of hing aka asafoetida

Method:

  1. Soak the dry red chillies in just enough water to cover them, for about 30 minutes.
  2. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for about 10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze the tamarind and extract a thick juice from the tamarind. Add a little more water if necessary. Keep aside.
  3. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop up the ginger. Keep aside.
  4. Now, we will get the spice mix ready. Get a pan nice and hot, and then lower the flame to medium. Add in the coriander seeds, mustard, carom seeds, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds. Dry roast the ingredients on medium flame till they begin to emit a lovely fragrance, taking care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
  5. When the spices have cooled down entirely, grind them into a powder in a mixer. Keep aside.
  6. Once the dry red chillies have soaked for about 30 minutes and have softened a bit, drain out all the water from them. Transfer them to a mixer jar and add in the chopped ginger and garlic cloves. Grind to a paste. Keep aside.
  7. Heat the mustard oil in a pan till it reaches smoking point. Now, lower the flame to medium. Add in the spice mix we prepared earlier. Let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
  8. Now, add the ground dry red chilly paste to the pan, along with salt to taste, amchoor powder, jaggery, asafoetida, turmeric powder and the extracted tamarind paste. Mix well.
  9. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  10. Let the pickle cool down completely. Now, mix in the lemon juice well. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle.

Notes:

  1. Chamba chukh is typically made using mustard oil. I have used kacchi ghani mustard oil here.
  2. The amount of ginger and garlic I have used here was just perfect for our taste buds. You may use more or less of these ingredients, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
  3. Typically, sugar or honey is used to sweeten the Chamba chukh. I have used jaggery here, instead. If you want to keep the chukh fiery, you can skip the jaggery/sugar/honey altogether.
  4. Increase/decrease the quantity of lemon juice you use, depending upon your taste preferences.
  5. I have made this Chamba chukh tangier and sweeter than it traditionally is, to mitigate the spiciness, considering we don’t eat very spicy food at home.
  6. Some Himachalis also soak dry fruits – apricots, raisins and the like – in warm water for a while, grind them and add the same to the chukh. I haven’t.
  7. You may add 1 teaspoon fennel aka saunf to the spice mix, for more flavour. I skipped it.
  8. Typically, Kashmiri chillies or Himachali fresh green/red chillies are used to make this Chamba chukh. Here, I have used a mix of the hot, round Guntur chillies and the less spicy, long Bydagi chillies.
  9. Refrigerated in a clean, dry, air-tight container, the pickle stays for over a fortnight. Use only a clean, dry spoon to remove the chukh.

You like? I hope you will try out this Chamba Chukh recipe too, and that you will love it as much as we did!

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #226. The co-hosts this week is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Haryana-Style Aloo Chutney Pulao

For the recipe I am going to tell you about today, Haryana-Style Aloo Chutney Pulao, I have to give thanks to the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge Facebook group that I am part of. Have I told you how much I love this group? Every month, the members of the group form pairs, and every pair exchanges two secret ingredients. Every month, every member has to cook something from one Indian state’s repertoire, using the two ingredients allotted to her. Then comes fun time – everyone posts a picture of their dish in the group, and the other members try to guess the secret ingredients that they have used! Being the passionate traveller that I am, I love the chance that this challenge offers me to explore the food of different parts of India – albeit virtually.

The theme for this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is Haryanvi cuisine or food from the state of Haryana. I have never had the chance to visit Haryana but, as always, I was thrilled with this opportunity to get closer to the rich diversity of food that is present in India. Carved out of Punjab in the year 1996, the cuisine of Haryana has a lot of Punjabi influences (but of course!). The people of the state are a good mix of urban and rural, with a strong focus on agriculture. Haryana is a land that is rich in milk, desi ghee and other dairy products, and this reflects in the diet of the Haryanvis as well. The food of this state is robust and hearty, and prepared without much fuss. Apparently, Haryana is called ‘the land of rotis‘, thanks to the Haryanvi’s predilection to consume a variety of flavourful and healthy flatbreads. Bajra Aloo Roti, Besan Ki Roti, Bhura Roti Aur Ghee, Hara Dhania Cholia, Kair Sangri Ki Sabzi, Methi Gajar, Kachri Ki Chutney, Rajma Chawal, Mixed Daal, Bajra Khichdi, Alsi Ki Pinni, Daal Pinni and Atte Ka Halwa are some of the most popular dishes from the state of Haryana.

I was paired with Priya Suresh this month, who allotted me two ingredients – ‘potatoes’ and ‘mint’. A bit of reading online later, I zeroed in on this recipe by Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor for Aloo Chutney Pulao. I made the pulao with quite a few variations of my own, and the result was fantabulous! I must say, the Aloo Chutney Pulao turned out absolutely flavourful, and was a huge hit at home. I’m so glad to have discovered this dish that is so very simple to make!

Here is how I made the Haryana-Style Aloo Chutney Pulao.

Ingredients (serves 4):

Major ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 5-6 tablespoons of spicy green chutney, or as needed (See notes)
  5. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste (optional)

Veggies:

  1. 2 medium-sized potatoes
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 1/4 cup shelled green peas
  4. 1 small capsicum
  5. 1 small carrot
  6. 6-7 beans

For the tempering:

  1. 1 teaspoon ghee/oil
  2. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  3. 3-4 green cardamom
  4. 3-4 cloves
  5. 2 small bay leaves
  6. A pinch of asafoetida

Method:

First, we will cook the rice.

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water.
  2. Pressure cook the rice with 2.5 cups of water, for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. Once the pressure has completely gone down, let the rice cool down entirely, then fluff it up with a spoon. Keep aside.

Then, we will partially cook the veggies required to make the Aloo Chutney Pulao.

  1. Peel the potatoes and chop into cubes.
  2. Peel the carrot and chop into cubes.
  3. Remove strings from the beans. Chop into large-ish pieces.
  4. Peel the onion and chop finely.
  5. Chop the capsicum into large-ish pieces.
  6. Place all the vegetables except the onion – potatoes, carrot, beans, capsicum and green peas – in a large container and add about 2 tablespoons of water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles. The vegetables should be cooked, but still retain a bit of their crunchiness. Let the pressure release naturally, and the vegetables cool down entirely.

Now, we will prepare the Aloo Chutney Pulao.

  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a pan. Add in the piece of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for 2 seconds, ensuring they do not burn.
  2. Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the onions begin to brown.
  3. Now, keeping the flame medium, add the cooked vegetables – the potatoes, beans, carrot, capsicum, green peas.
  4. Add in the cooked and fluffed-up rice, salt to taste, turmeric powder and the green chutney. Mix well, but gently.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  6. Allow to cook on low-medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  7. Switch off gas and mix in the lemon juice (if needed). Serve hot with raita of your choice.

Notes:

  1. I have used Sona Masoori rice to prepare this Aloo Chutney Pulao. You can use any variety of rice you prefer.
  2. While pressure cooking the rice, adjust the rice:water ratio depending upon how grainy or soft you want the pulao to be. Using the above measurements yielded just the perfect pulao for us.
  3. I have used Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe for Aloo Chutney Pulao as the base, but have made several variations of my own. The recipe might not be authentic, but I am glad to have gotten a bit more closer to Haryanvi cuisine than I was earlier! And, hey, we loved it!
  4. The way I make spicy green chutney has been outlined in this post.
  5. I’m sending this post to Fiesta Friday – 221, co-hosted this week by Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes.

Why don’t you try this Aloo Chutney Pulao recipe out too?

Did you like the post? Do let me know, in your comments!

Gujarati Kadhi Recipe

We are quite the kadhi-loving family. A well-made cup of kadhi makes our day. We love most versions of kadhi – from the non-sweetened Gujarati one and the South Indian more kozhambu to the Himachali rehru. Making kadhi is always the preferred way to use up any leftover curd in the house.

Today, I am going to share the recipe for another version of Gujarati kadhi, sweetened with jaggery or sugar. This is a very simple dish, rendered full of flavour thanks to the assorted spices that go into the tempering. This Gujarati kadhi makes for a beautiful accompaniment to phulka rotis and sabzi, with khichdi or plain steamed rice.

Let’s now see how to make this Gujarati kadhi, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

Basic ingredients:

  1. 3 cups home-made sour curd
  2. 1.5-2 cups water
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 3 tablespoons besan aka gram flour
  6. 2-3 green chillies
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 3-4 tablespoons sugar or jaggery powder
  9. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves

For the tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds aka rai
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds aka jeera
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 1 sprig curry leaves
  6. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon bark
  7. 4-5 cloves
  8. 4-5 dry red chillies

Method:

1. In a large pan, mix together the curd, water, salt to taste, jaggery or sugar, turmeric powder and gram flour. Whisk well.

2. Slit the green chillies length-wise, and add them to the pan.

3. Peel the ginger and grate it finely. Add the grated ginger to the pan. Whisk well once again.

4. Now, place the pan with the prepared curd mixture on medium flame. Stirring intermittently, cook till it comes to a boil.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the tempering in a separate pan. For this, heat the oil in a pan. Turn flame to low-medium. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add in the cumin and the asafoetida, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add the cloves, cinnamon bark (broken into two), curry leaves and dry red chillies. Leave them in for just a couple of seconds, stirring with a spoon to prevent clumping. Switch off gas, and keep aside.

6. After the curd mixture has come to a boil, lower flame further. Now, add the prepared tempering to the mixture. Simmer for a minute, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas.

7. Chop the coriander finely. Add to the prepared Gujarati kadhi. Serve hot, with phulkas or steamed rice.

Notes:

  1. It is best to cook the Gujarati kadhi on a low-medium flame, to prevent curdling. Similarly, prepare the tempering on a low-medium flame, too, to prevent burning.
  2. Use sour curd for best results. If your curd is not sour, leave it outside, at room temperature, for about half a day for it to turn sour.
  3. I have used home-made curd to make this Gujarati kadhi. It was only moderately thick, so I have used only about 1.5 cups water. If you are using store-bought curd that is very thick, you might want to use more water. The curd-water-gram flour mixture that you prepare must be runny and not very thick, but not very watery either.
  4. We do not use red chilli powder in Gujarati kadhi. The only heat in the kadhi is from the grated ginger and the green chillies. Increase/decrease the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon how hot you want the kadhi to be.
  5. You can either finely grate the ginger or make a paste, before adding it to the curd mixture.
  6. While preparing the tempering, add the dry red chillies at the very end, to prevent them from exploding. You can make the tempering in oil or ghee, or use a mix of oil and ghee. I have used just refined oil here.
  7. Do not skip the jaggery or sugar – sweetness is a must in Gujarati kadhi. Let your tastebuds determine the quantity of jaggery or sugar you want to use. You can also use raw cane sugar or palm jaggery here.
  8. Make sure all the ingredients are well integrated with the curd, before proceeding to make the kadhi. I use a small wooden whisk to make sure everything is well incorporated together.

Do try out this Gujarati kadhi, and let me know how you liked it!

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This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. The theme for this month is ‘Gujarati recipes’. I was paired with Shailaja Reddy, who writes at Sahasra Recipes, and she gave me two ingredients to work with – curd and gram flour (besan). This Gujarati kadhi is what I decided to make with these secret ingredients.