Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Dal Makhani/Slow Cooked black lentils and Kidney beans…the low to high calorie versions!!

Dal Makhani...if you have come looking for THE DAL served at Bukhara, this is not itin fact, if you are searching for that recipe on the net, am sorry to say but don’t even botherthat taste cannot be replicated no matter what anyone says...they may use all the tricks in the world but no, not possibledo what I dobook a table there every couple of months or whenever you can and get your fix if you are looking for a home cooked Dal Makhani, yes this is itwith options to make it low to high calorie versions J

Dal Makhani (Slow Cooked black lentils and Kidney beans)the low to high calorie versions


  • Sabut Urad dal/ Whole Black lentils, 1 cup
  • Rajma/Ramah//Kidney beans, ¼ cup
  • Fresh Ginger, paste, 2 tbsp
  • Fresh garlic, paste, 2 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Red chili powder,1 – 1 ½ tsp
  • Fresh tomato puree, ½ cup (blanch, peel and then blend or finely grate the tomatoes)
  • Milk, 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups (We get double toned milk at home and that is what I can use whatever you have at hand: skimmed, toned or whole…your choice)
  • Water, 7 cups and more if needed


Wash the dal and rajma till water runs clear. Let both soak together in water overnight/8 hours. Drain the water, rinse under cold running water and keep aside.

Cook the lentils till soft with 1 tbsp ginger, salt and about 7 cups of water – if in a pressure cooker, one whistle on high and two on low; if in a pan, your guess would be as good as mine!! J

Open the cooker once the pressure cools down. Mash the dal lightly against the sides of the cooker/pan with a ladle. 

Add the balance 1 tbsp ginger paste, garlic paste, red chili powder and tomato puree. Mix well and let the dal simmer on low heat for about half an hour to forty minutes. 

Add the milk, stir and let it cook for about another hour and half to two hours on low heat stirring intermittently to prevent sticking. If you think it is getting too thick, please go ahead and add some water.

Dal is ready when it gets thick and creamy. Should to be served warm and not piping hotwith any Indian bread of your choice.

The picture that you see has no cream, butter, ghee added in. And pleaseeee don’t even think of adding any oil to this. 

If you want and depending on how rich you want this and who is coming over for a meal, these are the things you can do:

  • Add a tablespoon or two of ghee or butter or cream or all three before serving.

  • Reduce the quantity of milk to half. Add about half a cup of cream about 15 minutes before taking it off the heat. Top with a tablespoon or two of butter at the time of serving.

  • Skip the milk and add about half a cup of butter along with the tomato puree. Add about a cup of cream about 15 minutes before taking it off the heat. Top with another tablespoon or two of butter at the time of serving.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Sindhi Kadhi/Vegetable curry with toasted Chickpea flour gravy...BK's special treat!!

Sindhi Kadhi (Vegetable curry with toasted Chickpea flour gravy) version…'version' as people who know this one will tell you that it is not 'authentic' unless one uses cluster beans and lady fingers/okrawell we don’t like those two in curries and substitute with other veggies...the potatoes, drumsticks and kokum stay as per the authentic versionthis used to be our regular Friday lunch at KJ’s house during college time with Sindhi Aloo Tuk ( double fried potato chips)completely forgotten over the years till BK got married and then started bringing this to office as a special treatI had never attempted to make this till very recentlyI could have asked BK to get the recipe from her mom in law but she was traveling when I first made this and so in came google aunty to the rescueI have adapted this from Niru Gupta’s recipe, the only recipe that I could find that had Kokum in itauthentic or not, hope you try and enjoy!!

Sindhi Kadhi (Vegetable curry with toasted Chickpea flour gravy)


  • Besan/Gram flour/Chickpea flour, 3 tbsp
  • Oil, 3 tbsp for the kadhi + some for sautéing vegetables
  • Cumin seeds, 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Methi Dana/Fenugreek seeds, ¼ tsp
  • Hing/Asafoetida, ¼ tsp (optional)
  • Curry leaves, 8-10
  • Ginger, roughly grated, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
  • Red Chili powder, ½ tsp
  • Green Chilies, slit, 2-3 (seeds removed if you want)
  • Tomatoes, grated and skin removed, 2 medium size
  • Water, 3 ½ to 4 cups 
  • Mixed vegetables, cut into finger sized pieces, 2 cups (I used Drumsticks, Potatoes, Carrots, French beans)
  • Kokum, 4-5 pieces


Lightly sauté all vegetables in a pan one by one using minimal oil and keep aside.

Wash the dried kokum and soak in half a cup of water.

Heat oil, in a heavy-based pan.  Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves to the pan.

Once the seeds start spluttering, add ginger and sauté on low flame for a minute or two.

Add besan and sauté till it becomes fragrant and changes colour to light brown.

Add grated tomatoes, salt, turmeric, green chilies and red chili powder and mix well. Fry for 5-6 minutes.

Slowly add water, half cup at a time and mix well with a whisk so that no lumps are formed. Increase the flame to high and bring to a boil.

Once it comes to a boil, lower the flame, add in the vegetables and kokum and simmer till the vegetables are cooked through – about 10 -15 minutes.

Serve hot with plain white rice.


  • If you don’t have Kokum use Tamarind instead. Soak some tamarind is water for half an hour. Mash it up, use the paste and discard the pulp. You would need about 1-2 tbsp.

  • And if you are wondering what Kokum is:  Kokum is a native to the Southern Coastal regions of India and as far as I am aware there is no English name for it. Kokum is often confused with Mangosteen…but they are not the same…closely related though. The dried Kokum that used to flavor foods is dark purple to black in colour and looks like a thick plum skin. It is used in both hot and cold dishes - it imparts a pink to purple colour and sour taste. I get my stock from Goa J

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Coconut Rice…the milky way!!

Coconut Milk ready for lunch...are you?

Coconut Milk Rice


  • Long Grain Basmati rice, 1 cup
  • Coconut Milk, 2 cups (I use coconut milk powder and adjust consistency – neither too thick nor too thin, if using canned use 1 1/2 cup canned coconut milk and add 1/2 cup water)
  • Onions, finely sliced, 2 large
  • Green chilies, slit, 2-3
  • Star anise, the smallest one you can find or use 2-3 petals
  • Cinnamon, 1”
  • Black peppercorn, 1 tsp, lightly crushed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ghee/Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Fresh Coriander, for garnishing


Wash rice till water runs clear and soak for about fifteen minutes. Drain well and keep aside.

Heat ghee/oil in a pan, add star anise and cinnamon.

After about 30 seconds, add crushed peppercorns, green chilies and onions. Cook till onions go soft.

Add rice and mix well (but gently) so that the every grain gets coated with the oil.

Add salt and coconut milk. Let it come to a boil, reduce heat to lowest possible, cover with a tight fitting lid and let it cook till all the water evaporates and rice is cooked.

Lightly fluff up the rice with a fork. Cover the pan with a thick kitchen towel and put the lid back on. Remove lid and towel after 10 minutes and serve garnished with chopped coriander.

Works equally well with both hot as well as mellow curries!!!


  • Just reiterating – for 1 cup rice, use the smallest star anise or only 2-3 petals of a regular sized one, so that the taste/smell of this spice doesn’t overpower the rice
  • Don’t like star anise or don’t have it? You can use ginger instead – add about an inch long piece and then fish it out before serving
  • You can garnish with fried cashews etc while serving.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Chivda...healthy crunch munch!!

Chivdamunch munch munchbelow is the traditional Indian version but you can add any cereal flakes, dry fruits, nuts, seeds of your choicemake it nut freeseed freeup to yousome options: puffed rice, roasted chana dal, roasted chick peas, coconut flakes, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, rice krispies, dried cranberrieswant a different name? How about “the healthiest deconstructed granola barever”!!! 

Chivda (Indian trail mix)


  • Chivda/Poha/Beaten rice, the regular one or the thin one, 1 cup
  • Peanuts, raw or roasted, 2 tbsp
  • Raisins, 1-2 tbsp (optional, I don’t add)
  • Oil, 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds, ¼ tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Green Chilies, finely chopped, to taste
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/8 tsp
  • Asafoetida, a pinch (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, ¾ tsp or to taste or skip it completely


Grind the sugar to a fine powder. Keep aside.

Dry roast the chivda in a non stick pan on low heat till it crisps up. Keep aside.

If using raw peanuts, dry roast in the same pan. Keep aside. Skins off or on , up to you.
(Can use your microwave oven for both these steps, checking and stirring after every minute or so)

Heat oil in the pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the seeds start spluttering, add in the asafoetida, green chilies, turmeric and salt. Mix well.

Lower the heat; add the roasted chivda, peanuts and raisins. Mix till all the chivda takes on the yellow colour.

Take it off heat and add in the sugar. Mix well.

Cool and store in an airtight container or grab whatever bowl you can get your hand on first and munch munch munch J

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Prawn Masala...doesn't need a tag line!!!

Prawn Masalaeveryone has their own version and this is minethis was lunch todayall for me J

Prawn Masala


  • Medium size prawns, shells removed and cleaned, about 500gm
  • Finely sliced shallots or regular onions, about 2 cups
  • Tomato puree, 1-2 tbsp (optional)
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds, ½ tsp
  • Sugar, ½ tsp (optional)
  • Coriander leaves, a few

For the marinade:

  • Cumin powder, 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Fresh Garlic, grated/pounded, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Turmeric, ½ tsp
  • Vinegar, 2-3 tbsp


Mix all the ingredients mentioned under marinade. Add in the cleaned prawns, mix well and keep aside for half an hour.

Heat oil in a pan/wok/kadhai. Add in the cumin seeds. 

Add the onions/shallots and sugar (if using) once the cumin seeds start spluttering  and fry till the onions turn soft.  

Add in the tomato puree. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. 

Add the prawns with the marinade. Sauté for 4-5 minutes till prawns are cooked through.

Check for seasoning and serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

You can skip using tomato puree, if you want  just sauté the onions till they nicely caramelised and golden brown. Add in the prawns and cook till done.