Monday, April 18, 2016

South Indian Sambar

This South Indian staple requires no introduction. It's traditionally prepared and balanced with staple dishes such as idli, medu vada, dosa and uttapam among others. The recipe is quite tasty and the cooking aroma will make your mouth water. At heart, it is a medley of vegetables, which makes it easy to eat and relatively healthy.

Soaking Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients for Sambar Powder:
  • 6 to 7 dry red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper seeds
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 8 to 9 fenugreek seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toovar dal (yellow pigeon peas)
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 to 7 dry curry leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
Ingredients for Sambar:
  • 3/4 cup toovar dal
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced and steamed 
  • 7 to 8 drumsticks, steamed 
  • 1/4 cup green capsicum, diced
  • 1/4 cup red capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 cup dudhi (calabash), diced and steamed 
  • 1/4 cup squash/zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1/4 teaspoon jeera/cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida 
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 6 to 7 curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons green coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups water (depending on how thick you want the sambar)
  1. First, for the powder, roast all the ingredients noted above except hing and turmeric powder. Do not burn any of the spices as you roast them. After a few minutes, add hing and turmeric powder and let it all cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, grind them together in a mixer to make the sambar powder.  (You may also use store-bought sambar powder, if you are short on time)
  2. Wash the toovar dal thoroughly and soak for 20 minutes before draining. Combine the washed dal and 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker for 4 whistles. Allow the steam to escape before opening the cooker. Keep the dal aside.
  3. In a large pan/pot, heat the oil and add jeera, mustard seeds, urad dal, dry red chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida/hing.
  4. Once they are well fried, add tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt. Mix well and close the lid for a couple of minutes until the tomato becomes soft and boiled.
  5. Add capsicum, zucchini, all of the steamed vegetables, the toovar dal paste and mix well.
  6. Cook on low flame, add tamarind paste and water. Mix it well until everything is boiled.
  7. Once boiled, add 2 teaspoons of the sambar powder prepared earlier, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 10 to 15 minutes. (You may keep the extra sambar powder in your refrigerator for next time)
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and the sambar is ready to serve.


                  Sambar powder

                  Tuesday, April 12, 2016

                  Kanki Nu Khichu

                  Kanki Khichu is one of the easier recipes you will read about on this blog. It involves a little bit of time, a few ingredients and a pressure cooker. Something so easy to make and ultimately delicious will have you making this frequently. I learned this recipe from my aunt Daksha in India. However, I've added my own twist to it. My Gujarati friends, who typically make khichu with rice flour, will love this recipe. Give it a go!

                  Soaking Time: 30 minutes
                  Prep Time: 5 minutes
                  Cooking Time: 15 minutes
                  Servings: 4

                  • 1 1/2 cups kanki / broken rice
                  • 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
                  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
                  • 3 teaspoons green chili minced and adjusted according to your spice level
                  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped + 2 additional tablespoons for garnish
                  • 3 tablespoon oil or ghee for garnishing (your choice)
                  • 3 teaspoons salt
                  • 1 1/2 teaspoon papadia khar
                  • Pinch of asafoetida
                  • Methi masala for garnish
                  • 7 1/2 cups water
                  1. Wash and soak kanki in water for 30 minutes. Once soaked, drain the water. 
                  2. In a pot, add the soaked kanki and all the ingredients mentioned above, including water, except the methi masala and garnishes. Mix everything together with a spatula.
                  3. Put the pot in a pressure cooker and cook to eight whistles on medium heat. (Don't forget to add water in the pressure cooker and then place the pot in)
                  4. Let cooker get cool. Open and stir the khichu before serving.
                  5. Garnish with methi masala, coriander leaves and oil/ghee.
                  If you like, you may also add minced ginger (1 tablespoon) and minced garlic (2 cloves)

                  Sunday, April 10, 2016

                  Urad ni Dal

                  As you’ve been reading the blog for a few months now, I hope you have found happiness in these home cooked food recipes. When we eat a traditional Indian meal at home with roti, a vegetable dish (shaak), and rice, we always have a bowl of dal (lentils) as well. The dal recipe below, Urad Dal, is comprised of mild spices with a ghee tempering. It goes well with Bajra Rotla during the cold winter months. Enjoy!

                  Prep time: 5 minutes
                  Cooking time: 25 minutes
                  Servings: 4

                  • 3/4 cup split black beans (urad ni dal)
                  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
                  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
                  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
                  • 1 small tomato, chopped
                  • 3 to 4 pieces of kokum (washed and soaked)
                  • 2 to 3 green chillies (cut it in half)
                  • 3 to 4 curry leaves
                  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
                  • 3/4 teaspoon dhana jeera powder
                  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
                  • 2 tablespoons ghee
                  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
                  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
                  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
                  • Salt to taste
                  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh green coriander leaves to garnish
                  • 4 cups of water (approximately)
                  1. First, wash and drain the dal.
                  2. On a medium flame, in a pot or pan, boil the pre-soaked dal in 4 cups of water.
                  3. Stir occasionally for 15 minutes or so until the dal is tender
                  4. Add salt, turmeric powder, kokum, green chili, chana, jeera powder and curry leaves
                  5. Stir and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes
                  6. On a separate low flame, heat ghee in a ladle for tempering. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. As they crackle, add hing and onion. Sauté the onion until it gets light brown. Then, add ginger and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Finally, add red chili powder.
                  7. Pour the tempering into the dal and mix well. Simmer for another 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
                  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with bajra rotla or roti.

                  For Jains, you may omit the onion, garlic and ginger.

                  Guvar Nu Shaak

                  Guvar nu Shaak (cluster beans) pairs well with Bajra na Rotla. The recipe to cook Guvar is short, simple and easy to prepare. Variations to the recipe include making Guvar Dhokli nu Shaak and Guvar Batata nu Shaak. I personally like it to eat it plain with Bajra Rotla.

                  Prep Time: 10 minutes
                  Cooking Time: 20 minutes
                  Servings: 4

                  • 3 1/4 cups cluster beans (guvar)
                  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
                  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dhana jeera powder
                  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
                  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
                  • Pinch of soda bicarbonate (optional, I did not use)
                  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
                  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
                  • 3/4 teaspoon carom seeds
                  • 1/2 teaspoon amachoor powder (mango powder)
                  • Pinch sugar
                  • 3 tablespoons oil
                  • Salt to taste
                  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
                  1.     Wash and string both ends of each Guvar bean. Then cut each one into 2 to 3 smaller peices.
                  2.     On a low flame, heat oil in a pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, add asafoetida, carom seeds, beans, and a little water.
                  3.     Mix well, and cook until half done. Add turmeric powder and salt. Cover with a lid.
                  4.     Keep the inside of the lid moist (rinse a little water, if needed, onto the underside) to let the Guvar steam. You may also use a thali with water on top.
                  5.     Keep the pan slightly uncovered
                  6.     Cook until tender and then add all of the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
                  7.     Garnish with fresh coriander leaves 
                  8.     Serve hot with roti, bajra rotla or bhakri

                  Note: You can also boil the guvar first and then temper.

                  Bajra Na Rotla

                  Bajra Rotla, aptly named as it is made with bajra (millet) flour, is one of my favorite Gujarati comfort foods. I top it off with ghee and jaggery and eat it with some baingan bharta on the side. However, it also goes very well with urad dal, guvar nu shaak (cluster beans), and garlic chutney. For the health conscience, the flour used to make this rotla is quite nutritious. It’s a nice filling meal ideal for the winter time. Be sure to plan a nice nap shortly after!

                  Prep Time: 2 minutes
                  Cooking Time: 25 minutes
                  Servings: Makes 6 Rotlas

                  • 2 cups Bajra/millet flour
                  • Water for dough
                  • Millet flour for dusting (as required)
                  • Melted ghee (to apply on rotla)
                  • Salt to taste
                  1. Sieve the Bajra flour and salt together in a bowl. Add lukewarm water and knead into a semi soft dough
                  2. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions (take one portion and apply pressure using your hand and knead it for some time)
                  3. Dip one portion of the dough in the extra millet flour, flatten, and pat it on the rolling board with your palm to make a round of 5' diameter
                  4. Pre-heat the griddle/tawa on a medium heat. Once hot, place the rotla on the griddle and make sure there are no bubbles on the rotla
                  5. Cook until small blisters appear on the surface. Apply some water on the top surface so that the rotla doesn't get dry. Flip the rotla on other side and cook for few more seconds
                  6. Now take the rotla off the tawa/griddle and place it on direct flame. Let the rotla puff up like a phulka roti with brown spots appearing on both sides. Place aside on a plate.
                  7. Generously spread ghee on top of rotla
                  8. Follow the same steps for the remaining rotla pieces
                  9. The rotla is now ready to serve!
                  Bajra rotla served with guvar nu shaak, a dad ni dal, garlic chutney and jaggery

                  Bajra na rotla