Saturday, July 15, 2017

Punjabi Chole Masala

One of my personal favorite dishes is Punjabi style chole. It allows for a high protein recipe with great flavors that totally transform otherwise mundane chickpeas. I really like the texture and combinations of spices that go into it's making. Especially anardana, which adds a tangy punch to the nuttiness of chickpeas. This recipe goes great with bhature (Recipe), puri or rice. There are many ways to make chole, but in the end color of the dish should be dark brown for this specific style. Enjoy this recipe!!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/4 cups kabuli Channa (soak in water overnight)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 to 4 green chilis, slit
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/2" Cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole black cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tea bags 
  • Large pinch of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice level)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon anardana powder (dried pomegranate seed powder)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil
Dry masala powder:
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 dry red chilis
  • 2 cloves
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper corns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Dry roast all the ingredients on low to medium flame for 4 to 5 minutes and grind to a fine powder
Directions:
  1. In a pressure cooker, add the chickpeas and approximately 3 cups of water, large pinch of baking soda, a tea bag, cinnamon stick and black cardamom. Cook the chickpeas until they are soft (4 to 5 whistles). 
  2. Let the cooker cool before opening. Then, drain the water from the chickpeas, but keep the water aside for later use. Discard the tea bag, cinnamon stick and black cardamom.
  3. Heat oil on a pan and add green chili, grated ginger and bay leaf. Sauté for few seconds.
  4. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they are transparent. Add red chili powder and salt. Mix well. 
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until soft and the oil separates (approx. 15 minutes).
  6. Add the ground masala powder, anardana powder and mix well. Add the boiled channa and cook on simmer for at least 5 minutes. Add the leftover water and bring to a boil. Cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the gravy gets slightly thick.
  7. Adjust the salt (to taste) and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Bhature (Punjabi Bread)

Bhatura is a very popular Punjabi bread eaten all over India. It is a popular breakfast dish in north India. It has a crisp exterior, spongy inside and a mild sour flavor. It is very easy to make and has no yeast, but instead yogurt and baking powder. Typically, bhature is served with chole and has all the essentials of a great brunch. It is filling and makes for a complete meal. In simple terms, bhatura bread is nothing but a fried bread served with chickpeas curry. So enjoy the recipe!

Preparation time: 4 hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (8 bhature)

Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups maida flour
  • 2 tablespoons sooji/rava
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 tablespoons yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Water to knead into the dough
Directions:
  1. Except the oil for frying,  mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Make the dough soft, but it should not be overly soft or too hard to knead.
  2. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and keep aside for at least four hours.
  3. Make lemon sized balls and roll into thick round rotis. They should not be too thick or too thin.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan with the gas on medium high. Once the oil is hot, slide the bhature onto the oil. With a ladle, press the center and along the edges and it should puff. Flip over and fry the other side until medium or light golden brown. Remove onto absorbent paper.
  5. Serve hot with chole, yogurt, fresh onion and salad of your choice.






Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mixed Dal Handvo

Mixed dal handvo is a spicy baked cake made of rice and lentil fermented batter mixed with spices. It is crispy on the outside and soft inside. I learned this recipe from one of my childhood friends from school and it is popular in the Indian state of Gujarat. You may add your choice of vegetables into it such as doodhi/ bottle gourd/ lauki, zucchini, carrots and also fresh spinach. In this recipe I used only grated doodhi. Follow these instructions and you are sure to end up with the perfect handvo.

Soaking Time: 4 hours
Fermenting Time: 8 hours
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 to 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup toovar dal (arhar dal)
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal (split black lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon moong dal (split green gram)
  • 1 tablespoon chana dal (split bengal gram)
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup sour yogurt
  • 1 cup grated doodhi
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • A pinch of soda bi-carb
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chiili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger and chilli paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing/asafoetida
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions:
  1. Clean, wash and soak the dals and rice together in enough water for at least 4 hours. Drain and keep the water aside. Blend the dal and rice together in a mixer to a smooth consistency. Use the kept water as needed.
  2. Transfer the batter into a bowl and add yogurt. Mix well and cover and keep aside to ferment overnight.
  3. When ready, add doodhi, 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, soda, sugar, ginger-chili paste, salt and mix well.
  4. Grease a baking pan with an oil spray or spread oil generously. Pour the handvo batter into the greased pan. Tap the tray as you pour as it will help spreading the batter evenly.
  5. Heat oil for seasoning in a small pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and hing. As the seeds crack, turn off the heat.
  6. Drizzle the seasoning over the handvo batter. Sprinkle sesame seeds as well. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake in a 350 degrees preheated oven for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until top of the handvo is golden brown. To check if it has cooked through, insert a knife into the center of the handvo. When removed, it should come out clean.
  8. Let the handvo cool. Then, cut them into pieces. It is ready to serve with chutney and/or pickle.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Nachos (Mexican Dish)

Nachos is one of the most widely eaten dishes in my home. What is it? Some sort of salad, a snack or something in between? My zesty nachos are comprised of Indian flavored kidney beans (rajma), spicy salsa, lots of vegetables and cheese arranged atop corn chips. It bursts of flavors and textures! Garnish it with spring onions and jalapenos to add a colorful layer of appeal to this tasty snack. You may use a variety of vegetables based on your preferences. I used green pepper, red pepper, spring onions, jalapenos, tomatoes and coriander leaves. If you like, you may also use olives, lettuce etc. Enjoy with some football in the fall!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes (15 minutes for beans and 10 minutes baking time)
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips, 14.5 oz.
For Beans:
  • 1 can red kidney beans, 19 oz.
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
For Toppings:
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 to 3 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup spring onion, chopped
  • 2 bags of mozzarella cheese (16 oz. each)
Directions:
  1. To make the beans, heat oil on a pan and add the chopped onion. Sauté until medium brown. Then, add chopped garlic and jalapeño and sauté until it is tender. Lastly, add chopped tomatoes and when they are softened, add cumin powder, red chili powder and salt. Mix well.
  2. Rinse and drain the kidney beans from the can (or rinse, soak and boil, if from a bag). Mix well and cook for another five minutes. Keep it aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  4. On a baking plate, arrange the tortilla chips/ corn chips. On the top of the chips, spread the cooked kidney beans first, then layered with half of the chopped veggies listed above. Put cheese on the top and then layer with other half veggies.
  5. Put the chips with toppings inside the preheated oven and bake until cheese melts.
  6. Serve hot with sides of Salsa, green hot Mexican (El Yucateco) sauce and fresh guacamole. (For Fresh Homemade Tomato Salsa check the recipe on my blog.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mexican Nacho Sandwich

For a small gathering or with family, create a nacho sandwich buffet by setting out all the ingredients noted below (add others, if desired) for a customized experience. Let the diner choose the toppings they like and you may make unique sandwiches for each person. In my family, we prepare them that way due to varying levels of spice and vegetable preferences. The sandwich is very easy to prepare once you have all the ingredients in front of you. Enjoy!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Bread Preperation:
  • 4 pieces of Italian bread (6" long)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
For Beans:
  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 small plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
Fillings:
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 romaine lettuce
  • 4 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1-1/2 green capsicum, sliced
  • 1-1/2 bags of Mexican cheese (16 oz.)
  • 4 cups cheese 
  • tortilla chips
  • 3 cups of salsa (Fresh Homemade Tomato Salsa)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven on 350 degrees.
  2. First, we will cook the beans. Heat oil on a pan and add the onions. Sauté until medium brown. Then, add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes. When they are softened, add red chilli powder, cumin powder and salt. Mix well and add the kidney beans. (drain and rinse the beans prior to adding.) Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Slit each bread horizontally into halves so you have 8 pieces. Scoop out the middle inner portion of the bread. It will look like a boat after. 
  4. Mix the olive oil and butter and brush the bread with the mixture. After, toast the bread lightly in the oven and remove. 
  5. Put the chips in a Ziplock bag and crush. 
  6. Next, on the bread, spread the beans and add salsa on the top. Then, add the crushed nacho chips, shredded cheese and sliced jalapeños (to taste). Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted. 
  7. Take it out of the oven and put atop the veggies of your choice: lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and green peppers. If you like a spicy sandwich, then sprinkle some hot sauce, preferably of the Mexican kind (i.e. El Yucateco).
  8. Nacho sandwich is now ready to serve

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rasam (South Indian)

This is a simplified recipe for Rasam made without storebought rasam powder. I learned this recipe  from one of my uncle's Madrasi cook in India. Rasam is a thin lentil soup made with tamarind pulp, chopped tomatoes and spices. Whenever my husband has a cold, he always asks me to make rasam. It is spicy and soothing! You may enjoy the rasam as a soup or have it with idli and medu vada.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup toovar dal
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind (paste/pulp)
  • 1/4 cup fresh green coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole jeera
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper (adjust according to your spice preference)
  • 2 to 3 dried red chilli
  • 2 dry red chilli (for tempering)
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 5 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
Directions:
  1. On a pan, roast whole jeera, black pepper and red chilli. Grind them into powder after.
  2. Wash the dal before cooking. Drain and cook the dal with 5 cups of water in a pressure cooker. When it has cooled down, open and strain only the dal water from the top. Do not use the dal. Keep the water on the side. ( you can use the dal for your another meal, don't throw it)
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan/pot. Add hing and two chopped tomatoes. When the tomatoes become soft, add the freshly grinded powder from step 1. Saute for two to three minutes. Put this mixture in a blender to make the paste.
  4. In another pan/pot, add 1 tablespoon ghee, two dry red chilli, hing and the paste. Sauté for two to three minutes. Add the strained dal water, tamarind paste, curry leaves and one chopped tomato.
  5. Cook for five to seven minutes. Add salt to taste and cook for one more minute. Turn off the stove. Add chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot as a soup or with Idli and Medu Vada.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rava/ Sooji/ Semolina Na Dhokla

Rava dhokla, a popular Gujarati dish, is very easy to make and may be served for breakfast or as a snack. There is no soaking, grinding or fermenting involved. Just mix the rava with sour yogurt and  eno salt to make the dhokla spongy. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup rava/sooji
  • 2 tablespoons gram flour
  • 1/2 cup sour yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons green chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon Eno salt
  • Salt to taste
  • Water (a little more than 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
For tempering:
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Pinch of hing (asafoetida)
Directions:
  1. In a bowl, mix rava, add gram flour, green chili paste, ginger paste, salt, turmeric powder and oil. Then, mix in the yogurt and get it all to a smooth paste-like consistency.
  2. Add water, little by little, so there are no lumps. Mix well and cover the batter for five minutes.
  3. Prepare the steamer by adding a little water and let it come to a boil. Grease the dhokla tray (3 tier tray) or thali with oil.
  4. Add Eno on the batter. It will start to bubble up. Stir and immediately pour the batter into greased dhokla tray.
  5. Sprinkle red chilli powder, cumin powder and chopped coriander leaves on all three trays. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes on medium heat. Check to see if it is cooked by inserting a knife and if it comes out clean, then it is ready.
  6. Remove the tray from the steamer and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then, cut it into pieces.
  7. For tempering, heat the oil in small pan. Once hot, add mustard seeds and let them pop. Then, add sesame seeds and hing. Turn off the stove, drizzle the tadka over the dhokla using a spoon.
  8. Serve with green chutney.