Friday, February 27, 2009

Lal Mirch Ka Gosht (Red Chili Mutton)

You need whole red chilies for this recipe. If fresh are not available in the market, you can use dry red chilies. Only difference between these two is the flavor. Fresh red chilies give little more sweetish flavor than the dry red chilies.

Just slit open the red chilies and remove seeds and placenta (found at the top portion of the chili below the stem) carefully from them. For 2 pounds of mutton you can use 30-40 whole red chilies. Believe me it will not be hot. Enjoy the color of the curry especially when fresh whole red chilies are used.


  • Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and brown cardamoms. Fry till they turn brown.
  • Add whole red chilies, fry for 7-8 seconds only (it should retain its red color).
  • Now add finely sliced onions; stir till the onions are well browned.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add meat pieces to the pan; cover and cook on low heat till they are tender. You may add some water if needed while cooking.
  • When it is done, sprinkle garam masala and lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes more on low heat.
  • Remove from the heat and if there is still any water left dry it before serving by continue frying.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve with paratha or tandoori roti.

Do You Know?

Chili has two important commercial qualities. If some varieties are famous for red color because of the pigment capsanthin, others are known for biting pungency attributed bycapsaicin.
Capsaicin itself is tasteless and odorless and is produced by the glands in the chili’s placenta, found at the top portion of the pepper below the stem. The placenta is about sixteen times hotter than the rest of the pepper and is usually removed along with the seeds (another hot part of the pepper) when preparing food. If you’re looking for a good kick with your dishes, leave it in (along with the seeds), and see what you get.
Red chilis contain high amounts of vitamin C and carotene ("provitamin A"). Yellow and especially green chilis (which are essentially unripe fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. In addition, peppers are a good source of most Bvitamins, and vitamin B6 in particular. They are very high in potassium and high in magnesium and iron. Their high vitamin C content can also substantially increase the uptake of non-heme iron from other ingredients in a meal, such as beans and grains.

Shakarkand Halva (Sweet Potato Halva)

Various types of halva from India are distinguished by the region and the ingredients from which they are prepared.
I prepared halva from orange variety of sweet potato, which is softer than white variety and is commonly marketed as a ‘yam in parts of North America.
On a fasting day Sweet Potato can be used to prepare halva for a change.


  • Wash and cut the top and bottom of Sweet Potato; peel off the skin and grate it.
  • Heat ghee in heavy bottom pan; add grated Sweet Potato and fry for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add milk to cover the Sweet Potato (add more that 2 cups if needed).
  • Let it be cooked for 1/2 hrs.
  • Now add sugar.
  • Let it cook until all the milk is absorbed and sugar is dissolved.
  • Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and dry fruits and serve it hot

Do You Know?

Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient), vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta carotene than those with light colored flesh and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa where Vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem.
Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Capsicum Uttappam (Indian Pancake)

We could call it as Indian pancake, which is similar to dosa. The same dosa batter can be used to make uttapam when it has turned sour after 2-3 days.
Uttapam is traditionally made with tomatoes or an onion-chili mix with coconut as a common ingredient but personally.
I enjoy mixed vegetable Uttapam with lots of capsicum in it.
Have you tried Uttapam with butter? Try it, you will really enjoy.

For the base
  • 1-cup Rice
  • 1/2 cup Urad Dal (split skinned black gram)
  • Salt to taste

For the toppings (quantity varies on your liking)
  • 2 Capsicum finely sliced
  • 2 Green Chilies finely chopped
  • 2 Tomato Finely sliced (without seeds)
  • 2 tsp coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 2 Medium sized onion finely sliced
  • Salt as per taste
  • Oil/Ghee to fry

  • Soak rice and dal overnight or 5-6 hours separately.
  • Wash and drain the rice and grind it coarsely in a blender.
  • Grind the dal into a smooth and frothy paste.
  • Mix the ground rice and dal together into a batter. Mix salt and keep aside in a warm place for 8-10 hours or overnight for fermenting.
  • Heat the nonstick pan on medium heat.
  • With the help of a serving spoon spread batter onto it, using circular motions, in a thick circle. Spread a tbsp of oil on sides and cover the pan for a while. Fire should be between medium and low.
  • Sprinkle cut vegetables on the upper side of uttapam and let it cook on the under side. When one side of the uttapam becomes a little brown in color than cook on the other side too.
  • Serve hot with chutney of your choice.


Duration of fermentation depends on the weather conditions at that time. In warm weather, fermentation requires only a night but in winter it takes longer. To enhance the rate of fermentation, in winter, you keep batter container in a warm place and cover it with a thick cloth. As the fermentation takes place gases are produced which make the dough fluffy and the level of the batter almost doubles.

Try to use non-stick griddles as it's easy to make and requires less oil.

Do You Know?

The primary benefit of fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates into carbon di oxide to leaven the batter. Leavening aerate and fluff up the batter as it cooks.
Food fermentation has been said to serve following main purposes:
- enrichment of the diet through development of a diversity of flavors, aromas, and textures in food substrates.
- detoxification during food-fermentation processing.
- a decrease in cooking times and fuel requirements.

Sweetened Mint Chutney

Sweetened Mint Chutney is very refreshing, can be had with snacks or main meal.
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 medium onion
2 green chilies
Salt to taste
1 big piece of fresh unripe mango or 1tbsp of dry raw mango powder
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp jaggery

  • Keep the whole onion on a medium flame and roast it till outer skin gets dark.
  • Remove from the fire and peel the onion to remove the outer-burnt skin.
  • Grind the roasted onion with all other ingredients into a smooth paste in a food processor.
  • Chill it before serving with plain dal and roti.

Do You Know:
was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomachaches and chest pains. It also aids digestion. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Mint tea is a strong diuretic.
Menthol from mint essential oil is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ghiya Kay Chhilkay (Fried Bottle Guard Peel)

I learned this curry from my mother. She had a quality to utilize all the parts of a vegetable in one or the other curry form.

She used to prepare fried green peel of the bottle guard with besan.



  • Remove the thick peel of ghiya. Cut into small pieces.
  • Boil about 6-8 cups of water (enough water to dip the peel in it) in a pan.
  • When water is boiled add ghiya peel pieces in it. Add 1 tsp of salt and let it boil for 8-10 minutes until the peel becomes tender.
  • Strain and allow it to cool.
  • Squeeze out the water from the boiled ghiya peel when it is cold, by pressing between both the palms. Keep aside for later use.
  • In a small kadhai or wok roast the besan (without adding oil) until light brown. Keep aside for later use.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and add asafetida and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the garlic. Stir-fry till brown; now add the red chili pieces and fry till they are little darker.
  • Add ghiya peel pieces and stir-fry. Add coriander powder, salt, chili powder, turmeric powder, amchur powder and the garam masala. Stir to mix well. Add the roasted besan and stir-fry till all are blended.
  • Serve with Dal and Roti.

Do You Know?
A new study has found that the peels of fruits and vegetables, which are thrown away as wastes are best source of potent antioxidants. So it's better to have a second thought next time, when you want to throw away those peels that fights against aging and keeps you young.

Boondi Raita

It is a perfect yogurt preparation, most liked with puri, kachori, aloo ki sabji. Consistency of raita can be adjusted according to the taste.
To prepare boondi, gram flour batter is made into small balls using a ladle with holes. These balls are then deep fried in vegetable oil.
Boondi is available in Indian grocery shops also.



  • Take the yogurt in a large serving bowl and beat well with milk and 2 cups of water.
  • Add the boondis to it and season with red chili powder, black salt and cumin powder. Add table salt if you need more salty.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan, splutter mustard seeds, and add curry leaves. Add this seasoning to the raita. Mix well.
  • Boondis absorb water so after some time raita becomes thick. Stir it and add more water if required.
  • Chill, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Do You Know?
Yogurt is basically a form of curdled milk much like sour cream but with less fat.
Bacteria in the milk ferments and coagulates to thicken the milk to a creamy texture, adding a tangy, slightly astringent flavor.
Yogurt can be made from any variety of mammal milk, but is most often made from cow, buffalo or goat milk.
Kefir is an alcoholic version of yogurt originally made from fermented camel milk, but now made from cow milk. Available in some natural food stores, kefir has an alcohol content of about 2.5%.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Curry Leaves Chutney

Curry leaves are extensively used in Southern India and are necessary for the authentic flavor. I fell in love with curry leaves after I started living in Hyderabad, India.
Chutney of fresh curry leaves can be prepared by grinding curry leaves with cilantro and chilies.


  • 1 cup curry leaves (removed from the stem)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 3 whole red chilies
  • 2 tsp skinned split Black gram / Urad dal
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp or 1 tbsp dry mango powder
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp asafetida powder
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat oil in a frying pan and add mustard seeds to it.
  • When these stop splattering, add Urad dal and asafetida. Fry, on low flame, until the Urad dal becomes reddish in color.
  • Grind the tamarind pulp / dry mango powder and red chilies finely. Then add curry leaves, cilantro leaves, and green chilies and run it in the mixer. Now, add rest of the seasoned ingredients, along with little water and salt.
  • Grind into a thick paste.
  • Curry Leaf Chutney is ready. Serve it with hot snacks.

Do You Know?

The curry leaves have many medicinal properties.
Liberal intake of curry leaves is useful in preventing premature graying of hair. These leaves have the property of nourishing the hair roots. New hair roots that grow are healthier with normal pigment. Eating ten fresh fully-grown curry leaves every morning for three months will help to prevent diabetes due to heredity factors. It also cures diabetes due to obesity, as the leaves have weight reducing properties. As the weight drops, the diabetic patients stop passing sugar in urine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fish Kebabs

This is an excellent appetizer. Stir fried Fish Kebabs can be had with green salad.

  • 1 pound Fish
  • 1 tbsp besan (Gram flour) or corn flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumb
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp Garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp Ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp crispy fried onion slices crushed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • · 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup Cooking oil to fry kebabs

  • Smear and rub fish pieces with turmeric powder and salt. Wash it after 5 minutes.
  • Keep the fish over a pan of hot water for steaming (about 10 minutes). When fish turns soft, remove from heat. Drain off excess water completely. Remove bones.
  • Now add besan, ginger garlic paste, crushed crispy fried onion, lemon juice, chopped cilantro, green chilies, 1 tbsp cooking oil and salt to the fish in a bowl. Mix well. Soak the bread slice in water and squeeze. Add this to the fish.
  • Divide fish dough into equal portions. Take each portion on your palm and roll into a ball, and then flatten it slightly.
  • Take the beaten egg. Dip the kebab pieces in beaten egg and roll in breadcrumbs.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. cooking oil in the frying pan.
  • Add the coated kebabs to the frying pan, and fry until brown. Turn over to fry the other side. Fish kebabs are now ready.
  • Serve with chutney and onion rings

Do You Know:

Fresh fish is a highly perishable food product It can be kept unpreserved for only a short time.

For short term preservation, fresh fish are filleted and displayed for sale on a bed of crushed ice or refrigerated.

Long term preservation of fish is done in a variety of ways. The oldest and still most widely used techniques are drying and salting. Fish such as salmon, tuna and herring are cooked and canned.

Parasites in fish are a natural occurrence and common. Parasites are a concern when consumers eat raw or lightly preserved fish such as sashimi, sushi. It is important for consumers to be aware of the risk of eating lightly preserved fish.. To kill parasites raw fish should be frozen to an internal temperature of −20°C (−4°F) for at least 7 days. It is important to note that home freezers may not be cold enough to kill parasites

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spicy Dal Vada (Spicy Black Gram Doughnuts)

It is a savoury snack shaped like a doughnut and made from black gram.

  • 2 cups urad dal (split skinned black gram)
  • 2 tbsp rice powder
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped cabbage
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fenugreek powder (methi powder)
  • Oil for deep frying vadas

  • Wash the dal well in repeated changes of water until the water is clear. Soak the dal in 6 cups of cold water for 3 hours.
  • Drain the dal completely, and place it in a food processor. Add the asafetida and salt, and process into a thick batter. Transfer the batter to a bowl and whisk the mixture for 3-4 minutes to put air into the batter.
  • Add all ingredients and mix well.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan or wok. When you are ready to fry, mix the baking soda into the batter.
  • Moisten the palm of your left hand. Take a lump of batter and place it on the palm of moistened left hand. Now moisten your other hand with water, and press to flatten the batter into a round patty. Make a hole in the center of the patty. It should resemble a small doughnut.
  • Slip the vada into the hot oil. Repeat quickly, and fry the vada in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding the pan. When they float to the surface, fry them, turning them to ensure even cooking, for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until they are reddish-brown and crisp.
  • Remove and drain them on paper towels.
  • Serve hot with coconut chutney.


  • Use Peanut oil, Sunflower oil or Canola oil. These oils can heat up to higher temperatures without smoking. This is essential for cooking vadas.
  • Fry vadas at the right temperature. Frying at too high temperature burns the batter. In too low temperature the batter soaks up oil and becomes greasy.
  • To check temperature, drop a couple of bits of batter into the oil. At the right temperature, batter sinks a bit, but bobs right up and browns within 45 seconds. If the batter sinks, oil is not hot enough.
  • If the oil smokes, it is too hot. Batter dances on the surface if oil is too hot.
  • Do not overcrowd the oil. Carefully add the batter, leaving lots of space around each piece. Too much food causes oil temperature to drop and makes the food greasy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Zarda Pulao ( Sweet Rice)

Zarda Pulao, also known as Zafrani Pulao, is a Sweet Rice dish. It is a festive delicacy of North India. Zafrani Pulao basically belongs to the Nawabi delicacies of India; it is prepared on the occasion of marriages and regional festivals.

My mom used to make it on Basant Panchami may be because of its zafrani color.
Try this sweet rice preparation enriched with high calories ingredients.

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup sugar (can be adjusted according to own taste)
  • 3 Green Cardamoms (Crushed)
  • 3 Clove
  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • Few Raisins
  • 1 tsp chironji
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Few strands of saffron soaked in warm water
  • Pinch of Saffron food color
  • 2 tbsp Rose Water
  • 1 ½ cups of warm water

  • Wash the rice with soft hand twice or thrice until the water runs clear and then, soak for 15 minutes.
  • Melt ghee in a cooking pan and add cloves and cardamoms, fry for a minute until fragrant.
  • Add rice and continue frying until all the grains are well coated with ghee.
  • Pour warm water and milk over the rice and cook on low heat till it is almost done.
  • Now add sugar, saffron food color, soaked saffron, nuts, raisins, rose water and cook for another 5 minutes until the rice is completely cooked.
  • Fluff it up with a fork and serve.
Note: You can add crushed khoya to make it rich. Some of houses also use canned pineapple, which is diced and added to the pulao during the last minute of the cooking of rice.

Bathua Paratha

Bathua is a popular leafy vegetable in North India, during the winter months. It gives a distinctive taste to roti, puri or paratha. It is cooked like spinach.


  • In a pan take 2 tbsp oil and heat it on moderate fire. Add cumin seeds and asafetida. When cumin stops spluttering add washed bathua leaves. Fry for 4-5 minutes until water is evaporated and bathua leaves are cooked.
  • Take whole-wheat flour in a large bowl. Add all the ingredients except ghee or cooking oil and knead the flour. You may require little water to knead the flour. Knead until you get smooth, medium-soft dough.
  • Add 2 tbsp of oil now and continue to knead. Once the dough is done, put it in a closed container and keep it in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into equal sized portions and roll each portion into a ball between your palms. Use dry flour or oil to make smooth balls.
  • Lightly flour a rolling board and roll out each ball into a 6-7” circle.
  • Heat a griddle and put a paratha over it. Flip the paratha when you see tiny bubbles rising on the surface of the paratha. Drizzle a bit of ghee/oil on the top and spread well over the surface of the paratha. Flip again and drizzle some more ghee/oil on this surface too. The paratha is done when both sides are crispy and golden brown.
  • Serve hot crispy bathua paratha with coriander chutney, pickle and raita.
Do You Know:

Fat Hen, Lamb's-quarters, Pigweed, are the common names of Bathua. Its Botanical name is Chenopodium album

It can be mixed with chicken and meat to make a saag dish. With new potatoes it makes a lovely vegetable dish. With yogurt you can make a delicious raita .

Bathua has medicinal uses in some skin conditions. Its oil is used to treat hookworms. It is said to be high in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, trace minerals, iron and fiber.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dal Kebabs

It is a great protein rich snack dish for whole family.


  • ½ cup Chana Dal (Bengal Gram)
  • ½ cup split Moong Dal (Green Gram)
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ red chili powder
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ chat masala
  • ½ tsp fenugreek powder (optional)
  • ½ saunf powder (Fennel Seeds)
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves (Pudina) finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1” cinnamon stick
  • 1 large brown cardamom
  • 1 cup cooking oil


  • Soak both the dals in water for about 3-4 hrs.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a small pan on a medium flame. Add sliced onions and fry until they are golden brown.
  • Grind the soaked dals and fried onion to a thick paste using minimum water.
  • Now heat 3-4 tbsp of cooking oil in a medium-sized non-stick pan, on a medium flame. Add cinnamon and brown cardamom and stir-fry until they are light brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste to it and fry until pink in color. Now add dal paste and fry for about 5 minutes until dal is dehydrated and can be shaped into balls.
  • Remove dal mix from heat and cool it.
  • Add all the ingredients to it except oil and mash it with hands to get smooth dal dough. Remove cinnamon stick and cardamom piece.
  • Divide the dough into 8-10 equal parts. Flatten each portion into round patty shaped kebabs.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and shallow fry these kebabs on medium heat. Turn the kebabs and add more oil. Fry until they are light brown and crispy.
  • Garnish with onion, tomato and serve hot with Mint-coriander chutney.

Do You Know?
The word kebab is derived from the Persian (aab means water and kum means less - it is a dish cooked with less water).
Not all kebabs are made of meat. From the state of Kishengarh in Rajasthan comes the dahi ka kebab, made with yogurt and chickpea flour flavored with saffron.

Shami Kebab

Ground lamb is mixed with pre-cooked legume and curry spices. It is then formed as a hamburger patty and pan-fried.
I prefer to make these kebabs with bone less lamb/goat instead of ground lamb/goat. Serve these kebabs with Mint-Coriander Chutney.



  • Boil Goat/Lamb with washed Bengal Gram, ginger, bay leaf, and cardamoms until the lentils are completely mashed and the meat is cooked. Dry all the water and cool it.
  • Now grind the boiled and cooled meat mix with crispy brown onion, green chilies chopped cilantro and chopped mint leaves in food processor. Better result you get when you grind meat mix in ‘Meat Grinding Machine’.
  • Add beaten egg, 2 tbsp cooking oil, garam masala and salt to meat mix and knead well. Break off 1 tbsp of the minced dough; wet your palm and place it in the center of your palm shape it into a smooth ball and then press it to give it a Patti shape.
  • Heat the cooking oil/ghee on a heavy-bottomed skillet and shallow fry the kebabs until golden on both sides.
  • Cool on paper towels. Serve hot with mint cilantro chutney.

Do You Know?

Shami Kebab was created by a Nawab in Palanpur (Rajasthan).

The Kebab has been an evolving term. During the times of Changez Khan, the horse back riders would kill an animal, clean it, cut it into pieces, thread the pieces over the daggers or swords and cook over open fire. That was the first Kebab, a piece of meat threaded on a dagger and cooked over open fire. In United States, Kebab refers to Turkish definition of Shish Kebab. In Turkey, Shish kebab means 'skewer with grilled meat'. With time, the Kebab has evolved from whole muscle meats to minced meats, and even non-meats.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Amla Sabji (Indian Gooseberry Curry)

I still remember those childhood days when my mother used to soak gooseberries in salted turmeric water for 2 to 3 days after pricking them with a fork. I loved eating these tangy berries soaked in turmeric water during summers.
She used to make chutneys and curries when Amla (Indian Gooseberry) was available fresh in the market. In off season, we used to take in the form of pickles and Murabba.
Here is a simple recipe to prepare sabji by cooking whole Amla and green chilies with spices.


  • Heat oil in a skillet or pan over a medium flame.
  • Add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter. Add asafetida, then stir in Amla and chopped green chilies.
  • Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir well.
  • Cook covered for some time, stirring occasionally, until the Amla are just tender. Add little water if required.
  • sprinkle garam masala powder.
  • Serve with dal and roti.

Do You Know?

  • Gooseberry (Amla) is a gift of nature to mankind. It is an indispensable part of the Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicine.
  • In Sanskrit, it is called Amalaki or Dhartriphala. It belongs to the family Euphorbiacaea and its scientific name is Emblica officinalis.
  • It is basically sour but at times it is sweet and pungent also. It controls imbalance caused by wind, bile, and phlegm and is very effective in controlling digestive problems.
  • It strengthens cardiac muscles, invigorates physical and mental facilities, improves eyesight, and imparts natural glow and luster to the body and hair.
  • It is very useful in diarrhea and is diuretic in nature; its regular consumption leads to long life.
  • Gooseberry is unique that the fruit does not leave its chemical ingredients even when heated on fire. Every single part of fruit rind, pulp, seed etc, is used for medicinal purpose. Indian gooseberry used as a valuable ingredient of various medicines is India and Middle East from time in memorial. This is considered the best of all acid fruits and most useful for health and treating diseases.
  • Ancient sage Muni Chyavan rejuvenated himself in his 70's and regained virility by consuming gooseberry. Thus, Chyanprash is considered as a health rejuvenator.