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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ma Ki Dal माँ की दाल / Dal Makhni दाल मखानी ( Famous Punjabi Lentil Dish )

I learnt this dish while working as a trainee for a five star hotel in Mumbai. Till then the only time I had eaten this dish was in my college. Our batch had to prepare food for the rest of the college, including the teachers, three times a week. So , even though we prepared this dish under our trainer's guidance, it still had that taste that dishes have, when prepared by inexperienced chefs. So when I first tasted the same dish in the hotel, I was blown away. It is such a simple dish, yet it has such a multitude of tastes. The tanginess of the tomatoes, the spice of the chillies, the aroma of the garam masalas and the rich, creamy taste of the butter and cream. Add to that the slight bitter taste of the Kasuri Methi and you have the most perfect dish ever. No wonder even the most ferocious looking Punjabi goes soft in the knees, when one mentions "Maa Ki Dal". This is my version of the dish, as I have seen it prepared. Enjoy!


Whole Black Gram (Whole Urad) : 1 Cup; Chana Dal (Bengal Gram) : 1/4 Cup;

Red Kidney Beans (Rajma) : 1/4 Cup; Ginger Garlic Paste : 3 Tb;

Chopped Green Chillies : 3 no; Chopped Garlic : 1 1/2 Tb;

Chopped Onions : 2 large; Chopped Tomatoes : 300 Gms;

Toamato Puree : 3 Tb; Red Chilli Powder : 1 Tb;

Garam Masala Powder : 2 tsp; Kasuri Methi Powder : 1 tsp;

White Butter : 150 Gms; Fresh Cream : 100 ml;

Salt and Sugar: to taste; Chopped Coriander : 1 Tb.

Ghee : 1Tb; Oil : 2 Tb.

Method :

Wash, rinse and soak the black gram, kidney beans and the bengal gram overnight or for 7-8 hours. Then add 1 Tb. of ginger garlic paste and 1 Tb. ghee to this mix and pressure cook till they are overcooked. Then using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the lentils coarsely.
In a frypan, add oil and fry the chopped onions, garlic and green chillies till they are translucent. Now add the remaining ginger garlic paste(2Tb.) and saute. Then add the tomatoes anda pinch of salt and fry till the tomatoes are completely cooked and you get a saucelike consistency. Add the red chilli and garam masala powders and saute for 30 seconds.Now add the tomato puree and the mashed lentils and bring to boil. Then add the sugar and salt to taste and simmer for about 30 minutes. Don't forget to stir the dal inbetween as it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan. Now add the kasuri methi powder and finish off with butter and cream. Simmer for a further 2 minutes and remove. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve hot with tandoori roti or white rice.

P.S. : For some inexplicable reason, this dal tastes a lot better after a day or so in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Veg Kheema ( Spicy Cauliflower Mince )

Ingredients :

Cauliflower : 1/2 kg; Red Onions : 2-3 large;

Tomatoes : 3 large; Ginger Garlic Paste : 2 Tb;

Green Chillies : 2 no; Coriander Powder : 2 tsp;

Cumin Powder : 1 tsp; Red Chilli Powder : 1 Tb;

Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp; Garam Masala Powder : 1/2 tsp;

Kasuri Methi Powder : 1/4 tsp; Chopped Coriander : 1Tb.

Oil : 2-3 Tb; Salt and Sugar to taste.

Method :

Chop the onions, green chillies and tomatoes as finely as possible. Grate the cauliflower using the large-sized holes of a grater.
In a heavy-bottomed pan add oil. Add the chopped onions and green chillies. Saute till the onions are translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds. Then add all the powdered masalas except garam masala and saute ( sprinkle some water on the masalas to keep them from burning). Then add the tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes are completely mashed. Now add the grated cauliflower and saute for a couple of minutes. Now add salt and sugar to taste and cover and cook on low flame. When it is cooked and the chopped coriander, Kasuri Methi powder and the garam masala powder and mix well. Serve hot with a roti or rice of your choice.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Green Tomato and Potato Fry

Green Tomato and Potato Fry, originally uploaded by veetraag.

I usually love making this recipe when it is raining outside. There is something very comforting about eating fried, oily, spicy food while watching the rain as it comes down in torrents. This is the only season when I don't mind eating oily food without feeling guilty afterwards. Hope this recipe gives you as much warmth as it has given me during all those wet, gloomy, rainy days.

Ingredients :

Potatoes : 4 large, Green (unripe) Tomatoes : 4 no;

Mustard Seeds : 1 tsp; Asafoetida (Hing) : 1/4 tsp;

Turmeric powder (Haldi) : 1/2 tsp; Red Chilli Powder : 2 Tb;

Oil : 4-6Tb; Salt & Sugar To Taste.

Method :

Peel and dice potatoes. Dice the green tomatoes. heat oil and add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the seeds crackle, add the potatoes and saute till brown on all sides. Now add salt, sugar, turmeric and red chilli powder. now add the tomatoes and saute for 30 seconds. Now cover and cook for 5 - 10 minutes or till the potatoes are almost cooked. Now saute, uncovered, till there is no trace of water in the pan. Serve hot with dal-rice or parathas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007



Tomatoes : 4 no; Onions : 2 no;

Cucumber : 1 no; Chopped Coriander : 3-4 Tb;

Chopped Green Chilli (Jalapeño, Lavangi or some other fresh, spicy chillies) : 2-3 no;

Salt and Sugar to taste; Juice Of Half A Lemon;

Roasted And Crushed Cumin Seeds : 1/2 Tsp; Crushed Black Peppercorns : 2 no.

Method :

Finely chop the cucumber, onions,tomatoes and mix well. Add to it the chopped coriander, salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice and cumin. Add the chopped green chillies and mix well.

Serve at room temperature.

Chick Pea Salad

Ingredients :

Chick Peas : 1/2 Cup; onions : 1 Large;

Tomato : 1 Large; Capsicum : 1 Large;

Chopped coriander or Parsley : 2 Tb;

Chopped green Chilli (Jalapeño or any spicy, fresh chilli) : 1-2 no;

For Vinaigrette :

Extra Virgin Olive Oil : 6 Tb; Dijon or Wholegrain Mustard : 1 Tb;

Lemon Juice or White Wine Vinegar : 2 Tb; Salt and Pepper : to taste

Method :

Soak the chick peas and then cook, with salt to taste, till done. Let them cool. Cut the onion, tomato and capsicum into dices of roughly the same size as the cooked chick peas. To the chick peas, add the diced vegetables, and chopped herbs. Mix all the ingredients of the vinaigrette and whisk well or you can put them in a glass bottle with a tight lid, close the lid and shake well. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and mix well. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Mung Bean Chilla (Green Gram Pancakes)

I have always considered breakfast as the most important part of my morning ritual. That, along with a steaming cup of filter coffee and a crisp newspaper, really kick starts my day. So I take my breakfast very seriously. I have always marveled at people who eat the same breakfast, day in and day out, all their life. I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like. So one day I was at my friends house and his mom put a green dosa in front of me. I am always game for a new taste and tried it, and to my surprise liked it. The one she made was with garlic and fenugreek leaves. I am more partial to coriander (cilantro) so made a few changes and now you have the Mung Dal Chilla Amol-style.

Ingredients :

Whole Mung Beans ( Green Gram) : 1 cup;

Fresh Green Chillies : 4-6 no; Fresh Ginger : 1" inch;

Chopped Coriander Leaves : 1 Tb; Asafoetida : a pinch;

Chopped Onion : 1 no; Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp;

Salt to taste; Sugar : a pinch; Oil as required


Wash and soak the mung beans for 4-6 hours. Then add chopped chillies and ginger to it and make a paste in the blender. Add salt, sugar, asafoetida, turmeric powder. Add the chopped onion and chopped coriander to the paste. Add water to get the required consistency.
Pour a large spoonful of batter on a heated, lightly greased nonstick pan or iron griddle. Spread it with the back of a spoon to get a thin pancake. Cook on both sides till lightly brown. Serve hot with coconut chutney.
Serves : 4

Variations :

Dhokla : Add 2 tsp gram flour, 1/2 tsp of fruit salt eg.eno, 1 tsp oil and pour the batter in a greased cake pan and steam for 5 minutes.

P.S. You can also use mung dal ( split green gram ) with skin instead of the whole mung.

For Coconut Chutney :

Grated Fresh Coconut : 1/2 no; Chopped Green Chillies : 4-6 no;

Ginger : 1" scraped and grated; Roasted Cumin Seeds : 1/2 tsp; Salt to taste
Method : Mix all the ingredients together and make a semi-smooth paste.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vegetable Samosa

Ingredients :

For The Dough :

Refined Flour : 300 gm; Fat to rub : 60 gm / 4 Tb;

Ajwain ( Bishop's Weed) : 1 tsp; Salt to taste

For The Filling :

Potatoes : 750 gm; Green Peas : 250 gm;

Cumin Seeds : 2 tsp; Ginger : 2" / 2 Tb; Onion : 1 large;

Fresh Green Chillies : 5-10 no; Garam Masala Powder : 1/2 tsp;

Chaat Masala : 1/2 tsp; Salt to taste; Chopped Coriander leaves : 1 Tb.

Oil for deep frying

Method :

The Dough : Sieve the flour and salt , add ajwain, make a well in the centre and pour the fat in it. Rub the fat into the flour. When it is well mixed, add water as required to make a semi-hard dough. Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 portions and cover again for 15 more minutes.
The Filling : Boil the potatoes till done and peel and cut into small dices. Boil the fresh peas. Scrape and finely chop ginger. Finely chop the green chillies and the onion.
To the potatoes, add the peas, chopped coriander and chaat masala and garam masala powder. Roast the cumin seeds and roughly crush them and add to the potato mixture.
In a pan, take 1 Tb ghee / oil and add the chopped onion, ginger and chilli. Saute well and add to the potatoes. Add salt to taste. Mix well and divide into 12 portions. Keep aside.

The Stuffing : Place the balls on a lightly floured surface, flatten with a rolling pin and roll into an oval disc(6"-8"). Cut this disc in half to get 12 equal half ovals. Take one, Line the edges using water and seal to make a cone as shown in diagram. Stuff the filling in the cone and seal the top edge of the cone using water. Keep on a floured tray.
Heat oil in a kadhai / wok and deep fry the samosas over medium heat till golden brown.

P.S. If you find it hard to make a well shaped cone, you can also shape the dough like Calzone i.e. in a half-moon shape. Just roll the dough to form a round disc. Stuff the centre with the filling and fold the disc in half, sealing the edges with water. Crimp the edges with a fork to give it a nice design. Then deep fry as above.
For the health conscious : You can also make the dough using wholewheat flour. Make the dough as you would for purees.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chawli Beans : South - Indian Style

Ingredients :

Fresh Chawli Beans ( green) : 250 gm; Chopped Onions : 2 no;

Jaggery : 1 Tb; Salt : To Taste; Oil : As Required;

Grated Fresh Coconut : 1/2 no; Green Chillies : 2-3 no;

Tamarind : 1/2 Tb; Coriander Seeds : 1 1/2 Tb;

Cumin Seeds : 1/2 Tsp; Cinnamon : 1/2 ";

Cloves : 4 no; Dried Red Chillies : 2-3 no;

Tadka :

Mustard Seeds : 1/2 Tsp; Asafoetida : A Pinch;

Oil : 1/2 Tsp; Curry Leaves : 4-5 no.

Method :

In oil, saute chopped onion and then add chopped chawli. Then add water as required and add salt to taste and jaggery. Cover and cook till chawli is completely cooked.
Make a paste of coconut, green chillies and tamarind. Saute coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds in very little oil, in the order mentioned. Now add these to the paste and run through the blender till the mixture is a smooth paste.
Now add the paste to the cooked chawli and adjust seasoning. Cook till one boil and remove. make the tadka : heat oil, add mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Add this tadka to the veg and keep covered for a few minutes.
Serve hot with white rice or roti.

P.S. : This recipe can also be used with Gawar or other beans.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Potatoes In Chilli Coconut Gravy

I was at a loss about what to do and the lunch hour was coming closer. I wanted to make a very light, easy to cook potato dish and wanted something that takes little time to cook. And suddenly I remembered a dish that my aunt used to make; a native dish with chillies and fresh coconut. That was it! So I made it today and it was an instant hit.
Ingredients :

Potatoes : 250 gm; Fresh Grated Coconut : 150-200 gm;

Green Chillies : 5-6 no; Garlic Cloves : 4-5 no; Ginger : 1 inch;

Turmeric Powder (haldi) : 1/2 Tsp; Onion : 1 no; Oil as required;

Salt to taste; Juice of half a lime; Chopped Coriander : 1Tb.

Method :

Boil potatoes till done and cut into cubes. Finely chop the onion. Make a paste of coconut, chilli, garlic, ginger and turmeric.
In hot oil, saute the onion till translucent. Now add the potatoes, the paste, salt and lime juice and let it cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander.
P.S. Those who are interested can use Kokum(Cocum) instead of the lime juice.

Paneer Tikka ( Cottage Cheese Tikka )

Ingredients :

Paneer ( Cottage Cheese ) : 500 Gm; Curd : 250 Gm;

Ginger :1 inch; Garlic : 4-5 cloves; Green Chillies : 3-4 no;

Red Chilli Powder : 1 Tsp; Garam Masala Powder : 1/2 Tsp;

Processed Cheese Grated(optional) : 1 Tb; Chaat Masala : 1 Tsp.

Onion (big) : 1 no; Tomato (big) : 1 no; Capsicum (big) : 1 no.

Method :

Hang the curd in a muslin cloth till all the water is gone and you get Hung Curd ( the consistency should be like cream cheese). Make a paste of the ginger, garlic and green chilli. Cut the paneer, Onion,tomato and capsicum into cubes.
Cream the processed cheese and add the hung curd. Now add the paste, red chilli powder and garam masala powder and mix well. Now add the paneer and veg cubes and keep refrigerated for a few hours (overnight is better). Take a slim, wooden skewer and skewer the cubes of onion, paneer, capsicum and tomato, in that order. Take three sets on each skewer. Grill them on a charcoal or gas grill till done, basting with a little vegetable oil as required. It takes about 3-5 minutes for one tikka. Sprinkle chaat masala on top and serve.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Favourite Salad Dressing


Orange : 1 no; Lemon :
1/2 no;

Honey : 1 Tb; Salt to taste;

Crushed Peppercorns : 1/2 tsp;

Dried Oregano Or Basil : 1 tsp


Take the juice of 1 orange, add to it juice of 1/2 a lemon. Add honey, salt and pepper to this mix. Add the dried herb to this mix and whisk well. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then whisk well and use.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Olive Oil Dip

Ingredients :

Extra Virgin Olive Oil : 1 cup;

Garlic Cloves ( finely chopped ) : 10-15 no;

Optional : Oregano/Basil (Dried) : 1 tsp

Method :

Mix together the oil and garlic. If you want a herb, you may add any you like. Now refrigerate this mixture for 2-3 days. Then use it as a dip with a toast or as a spread.
The olive oil has to be extra virgin, as it has a richer, fuller taste. If possible, get the cold-pressed olive oil.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Beetroot Salad


Beetroot : 2 no; Onion : 1 no; Salt to taste;

Curd : 1/2 cup; Black Peppercorns ( crushed ) : 2 no;

Green Chilli : 2 no OR Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp;

Sugar to taste; Chopped Coriander Leaves : 1 Tb.

Method :

Boil and peel the beetroots. Chop the beets and the onion finely. Mix together curd, slit green chilli, peppercorns, salt and sugar. Add the chopped beets, onion and coriander to this mixture. Keep in fridge for 1/2 hour and serve.

Optional : Tadka : Oil (1tsp ) + Cumin Seeds (1 tsp ) + Hing ( Asafoetida ) ( a pinch ) + Curry Leaves ( 4-5 no )

Saturday, January 13, 2007

टॉमेटोचे सार ( A Tangy Curry That Goes Well With Rice )

Ingredients :

Tomatoes : 250 gm;
Fresh Coconut (Grated ) : 1/2 no (150 gm );
Green Chillies : 5-6 no;
Ginger : 1" inch;
Garlic Cloves : 4 no;
Cumin Seeds : 1 tsp;
Mustard Seeds : 1 tsp;
Curry Leaves : 5-6 no;
Salt and Sugar to taste;
Chopped Coriander Leaves : 1 Tb;
Oil : 1 tsp; Asafoetida ( हींग ) : a pinch


Chop tomatoes and cook with a little water till completely cooked. Pass through a strainer. Make a paste of coconut, chillies, ginger, garlic and cumin seeds. Add this paste to the tomato puree and add salt and sugar to taste. Cook on low heat till you get one rolling boil. Remove from heat.
Tadka : In oil, add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add asafoetida and curry leaves and add to the saar. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rajma Masala ( Red Kidney Beans In A Tangy Tomato Sauce )

Pic courtsey Bryan Scott


Red Kidney Beans (rajma) : 200 gms; Bay Leaf : 1 no;

Black Cardamom ( badi ilaichi ) : 1 no; Onions ( large ) : 2 no;

Tomatoes ( large ) : 3 no; Ginger Garlic Paste : 2 tsp;

Red Chilli Powder : 1-2 tsp; Garam Masala Powder : 1/2 tsp;

Curd : 1 Tb; Salt to taste; Oil : 2 Tb.


Boil rajma with cardamom and bay leaf and salt till completely cooked. In oil, saute onions till translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute till brown. Now add the tomatoes and saute till soft. Then add the masala powders and curd and saute till oil leaves the sides. Now add the boiled rajma and water and simmer till you get required consistancy.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Karari Bhendi ( Ladyfinger Coated With Spiced Gram Flour )


Ladyfinger ( Bhendi )
: 250 gm; Onion ( small ) : 1 no;

Green Chilli : 1 no; Kokum( Cocum ) : 2 no; Besan ( Gram Flour ) : 3-4 Tb;

Red Chilli Powder : 1 tsp; Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp;

Garam Masala Powder : 1/2 tsp; Chaat Masala : 1/2 tsp;

Coriander-Cumin Powder : 1 tsp; Oil : As Required; Salt to taste

Method :

Cut the tops and ends off of the ladyfinger. Then cut it length-wise in half and then cut each part in half again; so you get four equal parts. Now heat oil, add onion and chilli ( chopped finely ) and saute till light brown. Now add the kokum and saute. Now add the ladyfinger and salt to taste and saute for 30 seconds and then cover and cook till done.
Mix together besan, the masala powders and a little salt. When the ladyfingers are cooked, add this mix and saute till the besan is cooked and the raw smell of besan is gone. Serve hot with rice or roti.