Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Root Vegetable Soup

This is one of my favourite soups. I make some variation of it every winter when root vegetables are abundant and easily available!! The combination of parsnips, carrots, and turnips with celery turn out an astonishingly hearty and tasty soup. If you have home made vegetable stock, use that. If not, try an organic, low/no sodium variety for the most natural taste!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chana Dal Sookhi | Punjabi Style Bengal Gram Lentils

Dals or lentils are a staple of the Indian Kitchen. They are prepared in a variety of ways that can often be identified as regional. Dals from the Punjab are often hearty and made with a combination of big flavours!! Chana Dal Sookhi is a fragrant combination of lentils, spices, fenugreek leaves, onions, and garlic.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Warm Autumn Three Bean Salad

Salad is not the first thing that springs to mind come Autumn. However, the harvest bounty at this time of the year can and does yield some excellent vegetables, beans, and fruits for seasonal salads!! I love to serve this salad with warm Crostini slices drizzled with olive oil.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Phool Gobhi Aloo Matar Ki Tehri | Cauliflower Potato Peas Rice

Tehri is a classic rice dish that comes from Uttar Pradesh. It is usually vegetarian and prepared with rice and some vegetables. These typically include some combination of potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots, capsicum, and French/ Green Beans. It is cooked with Khara Masala or Whole Spices including Kali Elaichi (Black Cardamom), Sabut Kali Mirch (Whole Black Peppercorns), Lavang (Cloves), Dal Chini (Cinnamon), and Zeera (Cumin).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

I love making a good loaf or roll of bread every so often - more so in the winter though!! There is nothing quite like a warm oven and the wonderful smell of baked goodies wafting through the home. I am sure every baker would agree with that thought :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baigan Pakoras | Baigan Bhajis (Eggplant | Aubergine Fritters)

Its been grey, cold, and rainy here over the weekend. Some snow flurries would have been welcome and pretty, but somehow they never really made it and all we got was a chilly drizzle all day for two days!!Sunday turned out to be long and exhausting and by evening, I could not wait to dig into some comfort food, stick my achy feet up on the couch and relax!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tamatar -Shimla-Paneer Bhurji | Tomato-Green Pepper-Cottage Cheese Scramble

Paneer or Indian Style Cottage Cheese is a real favourite of mine. When I first moved to this city, there was only one Indian store and I never quite trusted the fresh/frozen paneer there. I took to making paneer at home and have stuck to it ever since. Last evening I was craving just some of these creamy home made cheese curds, and I made a quick batch. I let them stay a little soft as I wanted to make this delicious creamy Paneer Bhurji - scrambled with vegetables and spices.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shimla Mirch-Aloo Bhaji (Green Bell Pepper | Capsicum Potato Stir-Fry)

Sweet Green Bell Peppers are commonly referred to as Capsicum in India. In the Northern part of the country, they are also called Shimla Mirch. It usually comes into the market in the winters, and has an incredibly distinct crunchiness and sweet taste! Paired with potatoes, it makes for a wonderful stir-fry.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boondi Ka Raita (Yogurt Salad with Mini Chickpea Flour Dumplings)

Fresh plain yogurt is an integral part of everyday Indian meals. In fact, it is prepared and set at home every morning so that it is ready for the meals of the day! Sometimes fresh yogurt is combined with multiple ingredients and spices to make a delicious tasting salad. Boondi ka Raita is one such yummy addition to any meal. It tastes super with any paratha (Stuffed Indian Flatbread), can be the star of a meal on a festive occasion, and is probably the quickest dish you can rustle up in event of unexpected guests for dinner.

I like home made boondi ( mini chickpea flour dumplings), and always make a batch whenever I get deep frying. But as I fear running out, I also like to keep a stash of good quality store bought boondi in my pantry. You can find it quite easily any Indian grocery - in fact now pre-spiced versions are also available. The key thing to to remember when buying boondi is that the packet in which they are sold must not be lined with grease.

I like to make Boondi ka Raita in multiple ways! Though the basic principle of making the Raita always remains the same, I do like to spice it differently every time. This recipe is made with a Tarka or an oil seasoning that adds a delicious kick to this very simple salad!

2 1/2 cups plain yogurt
3/4 cup boondi
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
8-10 curry leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 green chilies, chopped
1 tsp canola oil

  1. Beat the yogurt until smooth. Blend in salt to taste.
  2. Beat in the red chili powder. 
  3. Add the boondi.
  4. Prepare the tarka by heating the oil in a small pan. 
  5. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the cumin, curry leaves, and green chilies.
  6. Fry for a minute or until the curry leaves become crisp. Add the turmeric, turn off the heat.
  7. Season with the tarka just before serving.
Good to know:
  • You can reduce the oil content in the boondi by soaking it in warm water for two minutes. Squeeze the water out of the boondi before adding it to the yogurt.
  • Place prepared Raita in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before serving. This allows the boondi to soak in the yogurt and spices adding tot he flavour of this dish.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nimki | Namakparas | Crisp Savoury Diamonds

Nimki is a popular savoury treat make during Diwali in North India. Deep-fried and crunchy, they are simply delicious. Though I am not very fond of deep frying, I do get down to serious some serious frying once a year, usually during the festive season. And I always try to make at least one batch of Nimki for us to munch on over the month!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sabudana-Chana Dal Kheer | Payasam | Sago-Lentil Milk Pudding

Diwali or the Festival of Lights is celebrated every winter across the Indian Subcontinent. Endless varieties of sweets and special savoury foods are prepared in homes, offered as Prasad or Neivedyam in prayers and then shared with family, friends, and neighbours!! One such sweet is Kheer or Payasam.