Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dal Khichdi

Here's a quick post and an even quicker recipe. Khichdi is a rice dish cooked in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes and seasoned in many different ways, depending on which part of the country your eating it in. I've eaten a Dal Khichdi which is a rice and lentil dish and a Paalak khichdi, a spinach and rice dish. I've not yet tried making the Paalak Khichdi at home. If you have I'd love if you could share the recipe with me so that I can try it out too. The Dal Khichdi, however, I've tried multiple times. This khichdi should be served with some aachar or pickle. You could also serve it with a side of salad or yogurt, if you'd like. I've tried a few takes on this and the one that I made a couple of days ago, I think, was my best attempt so far.

Dal Khichdi

1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilly, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 garlic peels, finely chopped
1 tbsp veg. oil
1 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 cup rice
1/4 cup split lentils (I use whatever I have on hand usually moong or masoor dal. This time I used a combination of both)
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and tender stems, chopped
Salt, to taste

Wash the rice and the lentils together and let them soak for 10-15 minutes. You can start prepping the rest of the ingredients in the meanwhile.

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds and let them sputter, taking care not to burn them.

Add the chilly and the onion and saute till the onions are soft and pinkish brown.

Tip in the turmeric powder and stir till well mixed.

Drain the rice and lentils that have been soaking and add them to the cooker. Stir gently to mix everything.

Add salt to taste and 4 cups of water.

Stir gently. Cover the pressure cooker and add the stopper.

Cook on high flame. After the first whistle, cook on low flame for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pressure drop on its own.

Once the cooker can be opened, add the chopped coriander and stir to mix.

Prepare the tempering. In another small frying pan, place the ghee and the chopped garlic. Let it saute gently on low fire till it turns fragrant. Don't burn the garlic as you'll lose all the flavor. Add this ghee and the garlic to the cooked rice and stir to incorporate.

Serve pipping hot.

Peas Pulao ... yes please!

I love peas pulao! There, I said it. This mildly flavored rice dish adorned with little green peas is something that I can eat by itself with a fresh garden salad on the side. Having said that, this rice is usually whipped up in Catholic homes all over Mumbai and Goa for a special meal, be it a festive occasion or a birthday or any other gathering. It pairs amazingly well with a variety of meat curries, like pork sorpotel, chicken cafreal and many, many more, and I can tell you it is a real treat. I look forward to sharing my family recipes for these meat curries with you soon.

For now, we'll get back to the peas pulao. The preparation is really simple and the few spices used add a fragrant warmth to the rice rather than a spicy heat. Don't let the simplicity of this dish undermine its flavors. Try it out and see for yourself.

A lot of folks seem to have trouble with the rice ending up very soft and mushy. This happens for a number of reasons like wrong amount of cooking water, too much stirring while the rice is cooking etc. I've made this rice hundreds of  times and have never encountered such a problem. So I think if you stick to the measures, you should be good to go.

Peas Pulao

2 bay leaves
1-2" cinnamon sticks
2 pods green cardamom
4-5 cloves
6 black peppercorns
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup long grained rice
2 cups water
1/4- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
A handful of green peas
Salt, to taste

If you're using frozen peas, keep them out to thaw for a while.

Wash the rice and leave it to soak in some water for about 10 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Heat the oil mildly in a vessel and add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and let them warm up and infuse the oil with their aromas and flavors, taking care not to burn the spices.

Add the chopped onion and saute till the onions and soft and translucent.

Add the turmeric powder and stir well.

Drain the water that the rice was soaking in and tip the rice into the vessel.

Stir gently making sure you don't break the grains down while stirring.

Once the rice is well coated with the spices in the pan, add the water, salt to taste and the green peas.

Cover and let it cook on a low flame, till all the water has been absorbed.

Fluff up the rice using a fork and not a spoon so that you don't mash the grains.

Serve hot with your favorite curry.

Please remember that if you'd like to change the quantity of rice used, the rice to water ratio should always be 1:2. That is 1 measure of rice to 2 measures of water to cook it in.

This recipe is linked with -
My Meatless Mondays
Mouthwatering Mondays
Mangia Mondays
A Little Birdie Told Me

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baked Naan

My parents came over for dinner last night. I was excited to have them over, but ran into a bit of a dilemma. Those of you who've been following this blog for a while will know that I intend going vegetarian this Lenten season. I was determined to not let this visit come in the way. So using my previous post as inspiration I got to work and I'm glad to report that we had the loveliest dinner. I whipped up some of this Paalak Paneer and a platter of Eggplant Patties. The original eggplant patties recipe uses egg in the batter, but yesterday I just left the egg out and they turned out really well even without it. To round it off, I made some baked naans and that's what I want to highlight in today's post. This is just the second time I've made these naans but I can swear by them, they're that good. Those of you who've ordered from local eateries will be used to the rubbery and extremely chewy pieces of cooked dough they call naans. Friends, you have no idea what you've been missing. Try making these naans at home and I know you'll be as amazed as I am. But don't take my word for it. Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

These are really easy to make. I made the basic butter naans yesterday, but you can use an array of toppings of your choice ranging from herbs to garlic to cheese, pretty much anything you fancy. Serve these up with your favorite Indian food. While savoring these yesterday, I realized that they'd be ideal for making wraps as well. So when we resume meat in our diets, I'm gonna try that out for sure. I couldn't get a picture of the whole batch of them as they we disappearing faster than they came out of the oven. This is one I managed to get a shot of. Maybe, I'll have better luck next time. Till then I guess this one will have to do.

Baked Naan
Recipe by: Anjum Anand
Yields 11-12 depending on size

500g all purpose flour
4 tsp. sugar, powdered
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
220-260 ml milk
4 tbsp. oil, plus a little extra for greasing
A little butter, for the topping

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside.

In another bowl mix the milk and oil and use this mixture to knead the flour to a pliable dough. This should take about 8-10 minutes. You can use a little more milk, if needed, to knead the dough, if its too dry.

Cover with a damp tea towel and keep in a warm place for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to about 170ºC on the grill mode and place a baking tray high in the oven under the grill.

Divide the dough into 10-12 portions depending on the size of the naans you'd like to make.

Roll the portion out to form the naans. (At this stage you need to add any toppings over the naan and press them into the dough.)

Drizzle a couple of drops of oil on the baking tray. I did this just this one at the onset to prevent sticking.

Place the rolled out dough on the baking tray under the grill for 2-3 minutes till they puff up and lightly brown. Flip them over and let them get a few brown spots on the other side as well. Take them out of the oven and brush them lightly with some butter. Keep an eye on them as they can start to burn in the blink of an eye.

Serve them hot.

This recipe is linked to -
My Meatless Mondays
Mouthwatering Mondays
Mangia Mondays
A Little Birdie Told Me
Full Plate Thursday

Secret Recipe Club

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The season of Lent & Going vegetarian

With the start of the Lenten season, I decided that we would go vegetarian for the duration. With these noble intentions in mind, while planning a few meals ahead, I realized that my vegetarian food repertoire was highly lacking. This is something that needs to be rectified if I am to go vegetarian for the month and a half or so. So join me as I try out new recipes and ideas from blogland and other sites. I will post regularly through this time frame. If you've decided to go meatless as well and need a place to start off, here are a few of the vegetarian recipes I've posted before. Click on the recipe name to be taken directly to the recipe.

Batata Vadas 

Vegetable Fritters 

Rava Idli 

Skillet Grilled Cheese Sandwich - 

Tomato Cheese Sandwich 

Easy Corn Salsa

Chickpea Salad 

Mixed Raita 

Sprouted Moong Salad  

Sukha Bhel - Puffed Rice Salad  

Homemade Nachos with all the fixings

Ribbon Pakoda

Corn Flakes Chivda

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Garlicky Baked Potato Wedges

Paneer Bhurji

Bean and Spinach Bake


Homemade Fries

Cabbage Fuggad

Aubergines in a savory yogurt sauce

Paalak Paneer

Eggplant Slices

Hasselback Potatoes

Aloo Tikkis

Mac and Cheese

Jeera Rice

Tricolored Vegetable Pulao

Pickled Jalapenos

Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers in a Garlic Marinade

Coconut Coriander Chutney

Coconut Chutney (for idlis)



Aloo Parathas

Garlic Rolls

Methi Parathas

No-fuss Focaccia

Homemade Burger Buns


Gobhi Parathas


Hope this gives you a head start with vegetarian food. Keep checking back for more.

Wish you a holy and blessed Lenten Season!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chocohotopots ... to the rescue!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you're expecting company and have put in so much time and effort to prepare a wonderful meal, but somehow have either forgotten to make dessert or just don't have enough time to make something elaborate? I have. And that too, not just once. Each time though, these little bowls of chocolaty goodness come to the rescue. The batter is simple and comes together in a couple of minutes and since they're individual portions, baking time is very short. The chocohotopots are so delicious, its sure to please everyone, chocolate lover or not. Its like a brownie in a bowl. The top layer is slightly crusty and, if cooked for the correct amount of time the center is still molten and oh so gooey. To your guests, you'll be a rockstar. They'll never know how simple and easy this was to put together, unless you tell them. I like to put these in the oven before we sit down to lunch or dinner, so that they're still nice and warm by the time we get down to dessert. I like to have these while they're still a little warm. However, they keep well and are pretty good cold as well. So go ahead and treat yourself this weekend.

Have a lovely weekend everybody!

Recipe by: Nigella Lawson

125g semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
125g butter
2 eggs
150g sugar, powdered
3 tbsp flour

Melt the chocolate and the butter over a double boiler. If you chop your chocolate to smaller pieces, this will hardly take a few minutes. Keep aside.

Break 2 eggs in a bowl and whisk them along with the sugar.

Add the flour to the egg mixture and mix well.

Fold in the melted chocolate and butter mix.

Pour into greased bowls or ramekins.

Bake at 200ºC for about 20 minutes. (You can tell they're done when the top appears cracked. Take them out of the oven when that happens. If you overcook them, they wont be nice and molten inside. They'll still taste good though ;)  )

Serve warm. You can serve some good vanilla ice cream with this if you like.

This recipe is linked to -
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
My Meatless Mondays
Forever Nigella