Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chapali Kebabs

Made with ground lamb; marinated in spiced fresh papaya paste; mixed with egg and breadcrumbs; and pan-fried.
'Chapali' is a 'chappal or slipper' worn on feet. It refers to the oval shape of the Kebab which is about 5” long and ½" thick. This kebab was brought down to India from Afghanistan.

  • 1 pound minced lamb
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp green chili paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh papaya paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper coarsely ground
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs or besan
  • Oil or ghee for pan frying

  • Mix all the ingredients in the mince and marinate for 4 to 6 hours at room temperature.
  • Combine marinated mixture, eggs, and breadcrumbs or besan. Knead the mixture well like dough for Chapati.
  • Now take approximately 3-4 tbsp of meat mixture in your hand. Place it in the center of your palm. Roll it to form a smooth ball. Flatten the ball by pressing firmly between your palms. These kebabs are oval shaped and little bigger in size than the usual ones (about 5" long and ½" thick).
  • Store minced patties in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan. When it becomes hot, reduce the heat and pan fry the kebabs in it until brown.
  • Serve the Chapali kebabs hot with onion, tomato slices and chutney.

Do You Know?
introduced Chapali Kebabs to Peshawar region of India. Pashtuns are also called as Pathans or Ethnic Afghans. It is an Eastern Iranian ethno-linguistic group with populations primarily in Afghanistan and in the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan province of Western Pakistan.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rice Cutlets

Do you have left over rice at home….don’t worry …just mix chopped onion, green chilies, cilantro leaves and make cutlets. Serve as teatime snacks.

  • 2 cups boiled rice
  • 1 cup potato boiled and mashed
  • 1 tbsp green chilies finely chopped
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp green cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp chat masala
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste (optional)
  • Oil for pan frying

  • Mix all ingredients except oil and shape into two inch round patties.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and panfry them.
  • Garnish with salad and serve as a snack with chutney/ketchup of your choice.

Do You Know?
Basmati rice
has been reported in India since the early days of the 19th Century though it may have been named differently.
Basmati rice is grown only in Northern India and in parts of Pakistan touching India.
'Bas' in Hindi language means "aroma" and 'mati' means "full of" hence the word Basmati is ‘full of aroma’.
Basmati rice has two characteristic features, which no other rice has, which have made it a delicacy. These are aroma (of sweet taste) and post cooking elongation (more than twice its original length).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chivda (Flattened Rice Savory)

Make this crispy, crunchy snack ahead of time and store in an airtight container.

Poha is available in two varieties: one is 'thin variety', which can also be called as dry variety because it is not soaked in water to prepare but directly fried in oil; another is 'thick variety', which can also be called as wet variety because it is prepared after soaking in water.

Prepare this munching snack with thin variety. For people living overseas, please note that most of the ingredients are available only in Indian Grocery stores


  • 2 cups thin poha (thin/dry flattened rice)
  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts without skins
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cups raisins
  • 5-6 thin slices of dry coconut (optional)
  • ¼ cup skinned split roasted Black gram (available at most Indian supermarkets in the Snack section called as “bhuna chana”)
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp powdered citric acid or tartaric acid (lemon salt)
  • 1 tbsp sugar coarsely powdered
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 2 dried red chili whole
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder (optional)
  • 5-6 green chilies chopped
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • ¼ cup cooking oil


  • Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium flame. Fry the peanuts, coconut slices, cashews until golden; drain and keep aside.
  • Fry the curry leaves and green chilies until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
  • In remaining oil add asafetida, dried red chilies and turmeric powder; immediately add dry poha and stir continuously for 5-6 minutes on medium flame until poha flakes are crisp and light pink. Take out in a bowl.
  • Mix all the ingredients together to crispy poha when it is still hot. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
  • Serve as teatime snack.

Do You Know?

Poha or Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is dehusked rice, which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids.

The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucently thin to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.

This easily digestible form of raw rice is very popular across India and Bangladesh, and is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food in a variety of Indian cuisine styles,
Flattened rice can be eaten raw by immersing it in plain water or milk, with salt and sugar to taste, or lightly fried in oil with nuts, raisins, cardamoms, and other spices.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Aloo Tamatar Ki Sabzi (Curried Potatoes in Tomato Sauce)

Aloo Tamatar Ki Sabzi or Curried Potatoes in Tomato Sauce is very simple, everyday dish regularly cooked in many North Indian kitchens. It is a favorite sabji of my family, very often made with puris and parathas.
Boiled potatoes are cooked in spiced gravy of tomatoes and garnished with lots of cilantro.


  • Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan and add the cumin seeds to it. When the seeds stop spluttering, add the asafetida, chopped tomatoes, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and green chili chopped. Fry until tomatoes become pulpy.
  • Add mashed potato, fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 2-3 cups of water and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Take out in a dish. Mix garam masala powder.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with roti, puri, paratha or kachori.

Do You Know:

When fresh fruits and vegetables are peeled or cut open, the enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (also called tyrosinase) contained in the cells is exposed to and reacts with the oxygen in the air. The reaction that occurs, which is called oxidation, is what turns the fruits and vegetables brown.
Prevent the darkening of a just peeled potato by cooking it immediately or placing it in cold water until ready to use.

Sabit Masoor Dal (Lentils)

Made with Sabit Masoor Dal (lentils), commonly called in my home as ‘Kaali Dal’, is simple and very tasty. It makes a great accompaniment for plain boiled rice and a vegetable. The high protein content in lentils makes them an excellent meat substitute.

  • 1 cup Whole Masoor Dal (Lentils)
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 medium tomato cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp garlic grated
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp melted ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tbsp ghee for seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of asafetida powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp ginger juliennes to garnish
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • Thoroughly wash the Whole Masoor and put into a pressure cooker. Add 4 cups of water to it. Add chopped garlic, chopped green chilies, 1 tbsp of cooking oil and turmeric powder to it. Stir well.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and set on high flame. After the first pressure release, reduce the flame to simmer and cook for one more pressure release. Turn off the flame and open the pressure cooker when it is cool.
  • Stir the boiled lentils carefully.
  • In a small pan heat 3 tbsp ghee; add bay leaf and cumin seeds; fry till spluttering stops. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes, chopped ginger, red chili powder and salt. Fry until ghee starts to separate from masala.
  • Mix this masala to boiled masoor dal and stir well, if dal is too thick, add some warm water and stir until the consistency is right.
  • Mix lemon juice and some chopped cilantro leaves to it.
  • Garnish with remaining chopped cilantro, ginger juliennes and seasoning.
  • Prepare seasoning to garnish dal: Heat one tbsp ghee on a medium flame, in a small pan until hot. Now turn off the fire and add the asafetida powder and a pinch of red chili powder. Pour immediately over dal mix.
  • Serve with roti or plain boiled rice.


  • Cooking time of dal depends on the variety and age of dal. Older lentils will take longer to cook because they have lost more moisture.
  • When using a pressure cooker to cook lentils, add a teaspoon of oil to keep the scum from blocking the safety valve.
  • Acidic ingredients such as tamarind juice or dry mango powder or tomatoes can lengthen cooking time. You may wish to add these ingredients after the lentils have become tender.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sukhi Urad Dal (split skinned Black Lentil)

This is one of the most popular and favorite dal dishes in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is eaten with hot chapatis after adding lots of ghee in it.

  • 1 cup Dhuli Urad Dal (split skinned Black Lentil)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • 2 whole dry red chilies
  • 1 small onion sliced finely
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies chopped very fine
  • 1 tsp dry ginger powder ( Powdered Soond)
  • 1 tbsp lime/ lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1 tbsp crispy brown onion slices
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp ghee(clarified butter)

  • Wash dal thoroughly and put into a pot/ deep pan to boil it. Add about 5-6 cups of water, salt to taste (remember it is dry dal so it requires less salt), 1 tbsp oil and the turmeric powder. Mix well and set up to boil. Cook until the dal is soft but not mashed. Strain the dal and keep aside.
  • Heat the 4 tbsp ghee in another pan, on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, fry until spluttering stops. Now add ‘whole’ red chilies and fry till red chilies become brown. Add sliced onion, chopped green chili, and grated ginger. Fry until onion is light brown.
  • Now add the boiled dal and stir well. Do not mash the dal while stirring. All grains of dal should be separated.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in gently lemon juice and dry ginger powder.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander, crispy brown onion slices, fried whole red chilies and ‘Tadka’ (seasoning).
  • Prepare seasoning to garnish dal: heat 3-4 tbsp ghee on a medium flame, in a small pan until hot. Now turn off the fire and add the asafetida powder and a pinch of red chili powder. Pour immediately over dal mix just before serving.
  • Serve with hot Chapatis/Roti (Indian flatbread) or Parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) and your favorite pickle.

Do You Know?
The word Dal derives from the Sanskrit term to split. It is a preparation of pulses (dried beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split.

Dal is every man’s meal and one of the healthy dishes in an otherwise red hot-chilly pepper Indian diet. It is an excellent supplement to cereal grain diets because of the presence of good protein/carbohydrate content.

The desert cuisines of Indians use an immense variety of pulses and preserves to substitute for the relative lack of fresh vegetables.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meetha Paratha (Sugar Stuffed Paratha)

When I was small, I used to love eating hot sugar parathas with ghee, especially during winter. Make it more rich by adding more nuts of your choice.

To prepare dough:

To prepare stuffing:
  • 7-8 tbsp powdered or granulated sugar
  • 7-8 tbsp grated carrot
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp Cashew nut powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped raisins (optional)
  • To pan fry:
  • ½ cup ghee (clarified butter) or cooking oil to pan-fry parathas

Method: (Method VI: Making of Paratha)
  • Put the wheat flour, cooking oil in a bowl and gradually add water to bind the mixture into soft dough. Keep the dough for 15-30 minutes at room temperature covered with moist cloth.
  • Divide the dough into 8-10 equal sized small balls. Flour a clean surface and roll each ball out into a circle (like pancakes) about 2-3" in diameter.
  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for stuffing.
  • Spread about 1 1/2 tbsp of sugar mixture on one circle of dough and cover with the other circle. Press gently around the edges.
  • Carefully roll out the stuffed circle into paratha, sprinkling whole-wheat flour on the surface, so that the filling does not come out. If this is difficult, then roll out two thin rotis and spread the stuffing evenly and thinly over one roti and cover it with the other, pressing the edges together.
  • Heat a griddle (tawa) and place a paratha on the griddle. Flip the paratha when tiny bubbles rise on the surface. Drizzle a bit of ghee/oil on the top and spread well over the surface of the paratha. Flip the paratha again after few seconds and drizzle ghee on this surface too. The paratha is done when both sides are crispy and golden brown. Remove from the griddle and repeat with the other parathas until all are cooked.
  • Serve with Flavored yogurt / Cheese / Fruit Jam / Dates Chutney.
Do You Know?

The word "sugar" principally refers to crystalline sugar – a white solid disaccharide, also called as “table sugar” or “saccharose”.

In culinary terms, the foodstuff known as sugar delivers a primary taste sensation of sweetness.

Indians discovered how to crystallize sugar during the Gupta dynasty, around AD 350.

The English word "sugar" originates from the Arabic and Persian word shakar, itself derived from Sanskrit Sharkara.

Commercially produced table sugar comes either from sugar cane or from sugar beet. Manufacturing and preparing food may involve other sugars, including palm sugar and fructose, generally obtained from corn (maize) or from fruit.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rajma (Kidney Beans Curry)

Soaked and boiled Rajma beans are cooked with spices.

  • Wash and soak Rajma in water for 5-6 hours or overnight.
  • Place soaked Rajma, water, 1 tsp salt, one bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon in a pressure cooker. Close the lid and bring to boil, until you hear hissing sound. Turn heat down to low and cook for 10-15 minutes. Cool and check that they are soft when pressed. If not, cook for another four-five minutes.
  • Meanwhile grind onion, diced tomatoes, and green chilies to a fine paste.
  • Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan on a medium flame. Add onion tomato paste, ginger garlic paste and fry until it becomes little transparent. Add dry spices - cumin, coriander, red chili, turmeric and salt. Fry until the oil begins to separate from the paste.
  • Add this masala to the boiled Rajma in the pressure cooker. Mix well. Add water to make gravy of your choice.
  • Add garam masala and half the cilantro leaves. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until gravy becomes little thick. Take out in a serving bowl and mix in lemon juice.
  • Garnish with rest of chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Serve with hot plain boiled rice / roti / paratha / and pickle and / or raita.

Note: If you are using pre-boiled tinned kidney beans, you can directly cook it in fried onion tomato masala.

Do You Know?
These large, distinctive kidney-shaped, deep reddish-brown, chewy, nutty and soft textured Red Kidney Beans are believed to be very versatile. They pick up flavors well, and they are reported to be very easy to digest especially if cooked and eaten with different various herbs.

Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rajma Kebabs (Red Kidney Bean Kebabs)

These Rajma kebabs are delectable, for not only are they easy to prepare, they are a good source of protein also.

  • 2 cups boiled Rajma ( or Canned Red Kidney Beans)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger grated finely
  • ½ tsp garlic grated finely
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp amchur (dry mango powder) or 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2-4 tbsp bread crumbs
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking oil for Stir frying

  • Strain the boiled or canned Rajma, it should not have any water left in it. Mash it with potato masher in a bowl.
  • Mix mashed Rajma with onion, grated ginger, grated garlic, red chili powder, garam masala, amchur or lemon juice, chopped green chilies, cilantro leaves, salt , 2 tbsp bread crumbs and 2 tbsp oil. Knead well until soft dough is formed. If required add more breadcrumbs.
  • Divide the dough into equal parts. Flatten each portion into round or oval shaped kebabs.
  • Heat oil and stir-fry Rajma kebabs carefully on medium heat until crisp and brown.
  • Serve hot with chutney and salad of your choice.

Do You Know?
Kidney beans are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain or brown rice, these provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fat found in these foods.
Besides protein these kidney beans also provide the blood sugar stabilizing and heart health benefits of the soluble fiber.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lamb Ribs Kebabs

You can use Lamb ribs or chops (which have very less meat on them) to make kebabs.

  • 10-12 Lamb ribs
  • 1 pound Ground Lamb
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ cup onion finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2-4 tbsp roasted Besan
  • Cooking oil or ghee for pan frying

  • Mix ground Lamb, minced ginger, garlic, chili powder, garam masala, chopped onion, chopped green chilies, lemon juice and marinate the mixture for 4 to 6 hours at room temperature.
  • Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process in pulse mode.
  • Combine marinated Lamb mixture with eggs, cilantro leaves, salt and Besan. Knead like dough for Chapati.
  • Form oval or round patties about 2-3" long and ½" thick around one end of the Lamb chops or ribs.
  • Keep in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  • Pan-fry Kebabs with Oil or Ghee until brown.
  • Serve hot with Chutney / Sauce and Onion rings.

Do You Know?

Ribs of beef, lamb, venison, and pork are a cut of meat. The term ribs usually refer to the less meaty part of the chops, often cooked as a slab (not cut into separate ribs).
They can be roasted, grilled or smoked.

A set of ribs served together (3-4 or more), is known as a rack (such as a rack of ribs).
In American cuisine, ribs usually refer to barbecue pork ribs, or sometimes beef ribs, which are served with various barbecue sauce. They are served as a rack of meat which diners customarily tear apart by hand, then eat the meat from the bone. Slow roasting or barbecuing for as much as 10-12 hours creates a tender finished product.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Namkeen Dalia (Spicy Porridge)

Namkeen Dalia, a Khichra without meat, is made of cracked wheat, lentils and spices. This dish is cooked for a long time so that spices, lentils and cracked wheat are blended together perfectly.

Ingredients :

  • Heat 4 tbsp ghee in a pressure cooker and fry onions to a golden color, remove half of the onions with a slotted spoon and keep aside for garnishing.
  • Now add bay leaf, cloves and cumin in ghee and fry for few seconds.
    Add dalia (cracked wheat), stirring frequently, fry the cracked wheat for about 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
  • Now add washed dals (both dhuli and chhilke wali moong dals), chopped green chilies, ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt.
    Add 5 cups of water and pressure-cook it up to 3-4 whistles (pressure release).
  • Turn off heat. Open the pressure cooker when its pressure drops naturally.
  • Mix lentil and wheat grains together. Put pressure cooker again on a very low flame and keep mashing the mixture rigorously using round wooden spoon. Add water if needed. Simmer for 10 -15 minutes until dals, spices and wheat grains are blended smoothly together.
  • Remove from heat; serve in deep bowls garnished with fresh cilantro leaves, green chilies, pinch of garam masala, fried onion and lemon.
  • Before serving, pour some hot sizzling ghee over the serving bowl.

Do You Know?

Wheat allergy is primarily common in children, and is usually outgrown before reaching adulthood.

Wheat allergy is sometimes confused with celiac disease, which is a digestive disorder that creates an adverse reaction to gluten. Individuals with celiac disease must avoid gluten, found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats. People who are allergic to wheat have an IgE-mediated response to wheat protein and may tolerate other grains. Symptoms of a wheat allergy reaction can range from mild to severe.

Read food labels carefully, even if you would not expect the product to contain wheat. Wheat has been found in some brands of ice cream, marinara sauce, play dough, potato chips, rice cakes, and turkey patties, and at least one brand of hot dogs.

Besan Ka Cheela (Chickpea Pancake)

This recipe makes great breakfast for everyone and especially for those who want to avoid eggs.

  • 1 cup besan (chick pea flour)
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • ½ tsp red pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp fine garlic paste
  • A pinch of ENO Salt
  • Cooking Oil

  • Place besan (chickpea flour), salt, red pepper powder, garlic paste and asafetida in a large mixing bowl. Add enough water to make a smooth batter (stirring continuously). You may use your hand or a whisk. Keep aside for at least 1 hour.
  • Prepare Cheela: Add ENO and mix well. Now spread ¼ tsp of oil on a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, wipe off the oil from the pan with a cloth or tissue paper. Stir the batter and pour a ladle full of batter in the center of skillet. Spread the batter with the back of the ladle. Pour one spoonful of oil from the sides of Cheela.
  • Cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes. Turn over and cook for one more minute until it is golden crispy.
  • Repeat with remaining batter, stirring before using.
  • Serve with Cilantro chutney or Tomato chutney or Mango chutney and plain yogurt or Raita.

Do You Know:

A pancake is a thin, flat cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Pancakes exist in several variations in many different local cuisines. Pancakes can be eaten at different times of the day depending on local tradition.
A crepe is a popular variety of pancake of French origin.

In India, a dish called the Cheela (sometimes called Pooda) is a variety of Pancake. They can be made either sweet or salty and are of different thickness as per region. They are made in a frying pan and are of a similar batter as their European counterparts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Aloo, Gajar, Matar (Potato, Carrot and Peas)

It is a typical North Indian curry, made especially during winter, when fresh fenugreek, carrot and peas are available.

  • 1 cup potato cubed
  • 1 cup shelled peas
  • 1 cup carrot cubed
  • ½ cup fresh fenugreek leaves chopped finely
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp garlic grated
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 green chilies chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp of oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped fine to garnish

  • Heat 3-4 tbsp of oil in a skillet on medium flame. Add asafetida and cumin seeds. Stir-fry the potato cubes until light pink.
  • Stir in peas, cubed carrot, fenugreek leaves, grated ginger and garlic.
  • Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt.
  • Cook covered on low flame till potato, peas and carrot are tender.
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.
  • This vegetable tastes great with Dal and Roti/Chapati/Paratha.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kala Chana (Black Gram Curry)

Black Gram (Kala Chana) is boiled and cooked with spices.


  • Wash and soak gram in water for 5-6 hours or overnight.
  • Place gram, salt, water, one bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon in a pressure cooker. Close the lid and bring to boil, until you hear hissing sound. Turn heat down to low and cook for 10-15 minutes. Cool and check that they are soft when pressed. If not, cook for another 4-5 minutes more.
  • Meanwhile grind onion, diced tomatoes, and green chilies to a fine paste.
  • Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan on a medium flame. Add onion, ginger garlic paste, tomato paste, chopped green chilies and fry until it becomes little transparent. Add dry spices - cumin, coriander, red chili, turmeric and salt. Fry until the oil begins to separate from the paste.
  • Add this masala to the boiled gram mix in the pressure cooker. Mix well. Add water to make gravy of your choice.
  • Add garam masala and half the cilantro leaves. Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Take out in a serving bowl and mix in lemon juice.
  • Garnish with rest of chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Serve with hot plain boiled rice or roti/paratha and pickle.

Note: You can add chopped potatoes during the last 10 minutes of simmer cooking.
You can also add a tsp of tamarind pulp in place of lemon juice and 2 tsp Chana Masala for extra bite.

Do You Know?
Bengal gram
is also known as Black Chickpea, Black gram, Yellow gram or Brown gram.
It is ‘Desi’ (meaning country or local in Hindi) kind of Chickpea. It has small, darker seeds and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia and Iran.
Desi is likely the earliest form since it closely resembles seeds found on both archaeological sites and the wild plant ancestor of domesticated chickpeas (cicer reticulatum) which only grows in southeast Turkey, where it is believed to have originated.
Desi chickpeas have markedly higher fiber content than Kabuli Chickpeas and hence a very low glycemic index which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems.
The desi type is used to make Chana Dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Aloo Bonda

Aloo Bonda is prepared by deep frying spicy potato filling dipped in besan (gram flour) batter.


  • 2 cups besan (gram flour)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Salt to taste

  • Boil and skin potatoes. Mash and mix all ingredients except oil.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add potato mix in it and fry for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Shape into small balls or patty like flatter discs. Keep aside.
  • Now in a separate pan mix besan, baking powder, salt and enough water to prepare batter of thick dropping consistency.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai or deep frying pan, on medium flame. Dip potato balls or patties in batter and deep fry until golden brown.
  • Serve hot with tamarind chutney or tomato chutney or cilantro chutney.

Do You Know?
Bonda is a typical South Indian snack. Keralites prefer Sweet Bonda while the savory version of Bonda is common in the rest of India.
The Sweet Bonda is prepared with chana dal and jaggery while spicy or Savory Bonda is prepared by deep frying potato (or other vegetables) filling dipped in besan (gram flour) batter.
The spicy flatter version is called as Batata Vada in Maharashtra.
Some regional variants in Kerala replace the potato with tapioca (Tapioca Bonda) or sweet potato and some add onion, hardboiled egg, masala (Mutta Bonda), minced meat and other ingredients.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Murmure Ka Salad

This is a simple and delicious salad made from puffed rice (Murmure), cucumber, onion, tomato and cilantro leaves.
Murmure are easily available at most of the Indian grocery shops. These are also used to make Bhelpuri.

  • 2 cups Murmure (puffed rice)
  • 1 cucumber peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • 2 tomato chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 green chili finely chopped

  • Mix all ingredients well in a bowl.
  • Serve immediately so that the Murmure Salad does not get soggy.

Do You Know?

Puffed rice is referred to as mur mure in some parts of India.
It is a type of puffed grain made from rice; usually made by heating rice kernels under high pressure in the presence of steam, though the method of manufacture varies widely.
A traditional way of making Murmura is heating rice in a sand-filled oven just like popcorn.

Hare Dhaniye Ki Chutney (Green Coriander Chutney)

The Hindi translation of "to make chutney" is a common idiom meaning, "to crush".

This is because the process of making chutney often involves the crushing of ingredients together.

In India, chutney is often made to be eaten fresh, using whichever strongly flavored ingredients are locally available at the time.


  • 2 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 green chilies
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 roasted groundnuts
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp lime juice or 2 tbsp dry mango powder (amchur powder)


  • Grind all the ingredients into a smooth paste in a food processor.
  • Serve it with hot snacks like samosas, cutlets, fritters, besan pakodas, and chats. You can also serve with stuffed parathas.

Do You Know:

Chutney is a term for a variety of sweet and spicy condiments, usually involving a fresh, chopped primary vegetable or fruit with added seasonings.

In India, normally chutneys would not contain preserving agents, since it is intended to be consumed quickly after preparation.

In North America and Europe, chutney is more familiar in a form, which can be stored. To this end, vegetable oil, vinegar, or lemon juice are used to enhance keeping its properties.

Many authentic types of chutney contain significant amounts of fresh green chili peppers; the other main ingredient can be any of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Most vegetable chutneys are prepared cold in a blender, while many fruit chutneys require cooking.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Onion Raita

Onion Raita tastes very good with Biryani (rich rice-meat dishes).


  • 2 cups thick yogurt (must not be sour) whisked till smooth
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped finely
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Raita Masala (available in Indian Stores)


  • Put yogurt, mint, coriander, onions, green chili, salt and chat masala in a bowl and mix well to blend.
  • Garnish with raita masala.
  • Chill and serve with Pulao or Biryani or Paratha and Curry .

Do You Know?
Onions are widely-used in India, and are fundamental to Indian cooking. They are commonly used as a base for curries, or made into a paste and eaten as a main course or as a side dish.

Wide-ranging claims have been made for the effectiveness of onions against conditions ranging from the common cold to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other diseases.

They contain chemical compounds believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties such as quercetin (The American Cancer Society says that ‘quercetin’has been promoted as being effective against a wide variety of diseases, including cancer.

In India some sects don't eat onion due to its Aphrodisiac properties. An aphrodisiac is a substance which is used in the belief that it increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sensuality.

Roti / Chapati / Phulka (Whole Wheat Flat Breads)

Roti, Chapati or Phulka are same except for the size. Phulka is smaller and lighter than Roti or Chapati. Some people prefer to eat buttered Roti/Chapati/Phulka.

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Warm water

  • Mix the whole-wheat flour, salt and oil. Knead with enough water to make smooth dough. Cover and keep aside for 1 hour.
  • After about 30 minutes (or right before rolling out), punch the dough and knead again without any more water.
  • Divide the dough into lemon-sized balls. Dip each one into dry whole-wheat flour, and roll out into thin, 6" circles.
  • Place a flat, griddle on the stove at medium-high heat. When hot, place a rolled-out chapati "right side" down on the griddle. (The "right side" is the one facing you when you roll it.)

  • When bubbles are visible, turn over and cook until tiny brown spots appear on the side facing the griddle.

  • If you have a gas stove, hold the chapati with a pair of tongs, and place it directly over the burner flame for a few seconds, until the chapati puffs up.

  • Turn and repeat on the other side.

  • If you have an electric stove, keep the chapati on the griddle. With a muslin cloth, press gently all around the chapati. Flip the chapati and press gently around the other side. This procedure should make the chapati puff up.
  • Some of the foods that are usually served with rotis / chapatis are Dals, Chicken andMutton curries, Green and Non Green Vegetable dishes.

Kalmi Vade (Fried Lentil Fingers)

Very good appetizer, made by deep frying ground spiced Bengal Gram and Skinned Black Gram.

  • 1 cup Bengal Gram (Chana Dal)
  • 1 cup skinned Black Gram (Dhuli Urad Dal)
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • 5-6 Black peppercorns crushed
  • 1 tsp red crushed chili
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds crushed
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

  • Soak Bengal Gram and Black Gram separately for 3-4 hours and grind to a coarse paste separately.
  • Now mix the pastes and all ingredients, except the oil for frying.
  • With wet hands take some dal mix and make a 3” large round Patty (disc like shape).
  • Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add the vada (Patty), turn and fry until pale golden.
  • Remove vada and drain the excess oil on absorbent kitchen paper towel.
  • Repeat making and deep frying vadas (Patties) until all the mixture is used up. You can fry more than one vada at a time.
  • Keep aside to cool.
  • Now cut each vada (Patty) into ½-inch thick slices (fingers).
  • Reheat the oil and fry the fingers (slices) until golden and crisp.
  • Sprinkle some chat masala and serve with green chutney or ketchup.