Gharwali Khichdi

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Basic homestyle khichdi is my synonym for comfort food. There is nothing better that can remind you of clean and sumptuous home food than this Khichdi. A bowl of piping hot Mixed Dal Khichdi, a generous dollop of ghee and a fragrant tadka – a complete one pot meal and definitely your answer to a lazy day food.

 

Growing up in a Marwari family, khichdi was a pretty regular affair in the kitchen with so many different variations. Not only was it served with homemade ghee but also with kadhi, pickle, papad, fried munchies and curd. A simple dish was ornated and with that extra touch of love (read Ghee!) from grandmom made it even more delicious. Light on the tummy, nutritious and yummy, this lentil and rice concoction has been one of my all time favorite Indian meal. You definitely can’t go wrong with this one!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup uncooked lentils, soaked in water for 30 minutes (I took half moong dal and half Toor dal)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 2 – 3 dried red chilli
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod, seeds removed
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • hing, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • chopped cilantro leaves, for garnsihing
  • fried onion, for garnsihing

METHOD:

  • Take a saucepan and put it on medium heat. Meanwhile wash the lentils under water a couple of times.
  • Once the saucepan is heated, put ghee. Now add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hing, green chili, red chilli, grated ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pod and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the washed lentils and stir for 40 – 50 seconds.
  • Add some salt and turmeric powder and mix it well. Add 1 cup of water and mix it. Cover the saucepan and let the lentil for 10 minutes or so.
  • Once half done, add the washed rice into the saucepan and give it a good stir. Add more salt and around 2 1/2 cups of water and stir. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the mix cook for 20 minutes or until the rice and lentil is perfectly cooked.
  • Once done, transfer it to a bowl, garnish with coriander leaves, fried onions and a generous dollop of ghee and dig in!

 

Easy Rajma Masala (Kidney Beans Curry)

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When I think about Indian comfort food, Rajma Chawal tops my list every time. I am not the kind of person who loves to eat Indian food everyday, but eating different cuisines and combinations each day, Rajma Chawal provides that brief hiatus where I go back to my roots, simple home style food where the magic of spices is unparalleled.

As a child mum used to make different versions of Rajma – sometimes without onion garlic, sometimes with a bit of cream and sometimes with potatoes in it. I enjoyed all these different varieties, but my favorite was the one which my friend used to get in her lunch. I remember gobbling down her entire lunch in school on days she got Rajma. I often tried to replicate her recipe, but failed each time. I think that it is the world’s best Rajma chawal and my friend refuses to share the recipe.

Each bite of this curry unveils the perfect blend of Indian spices. The melt in your mouth rajma (kidney beans) along with a flavorful onion-tomato gravy instantly can win anyone’s heart. Pair it with basic steamed rice, pickled onions and papad – quick and easy meals are sorted!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rajma (kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 – 5 -cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 1 – 2 bay leaf
  • 4 – 5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp rajma masala powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp  garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of baking soda (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped for garnishing
  • lemon wedges, to serve

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METHOD:

  • Drain the water from the overnight soaked kidney beans and transfer the beans to a pressure cooker. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, bit of salt and baking soda in the pressure cooker and close the lid. Allow the kidney beans to cook on medium flame for atleast 4 – 5 whistles. (You can let it cook for more whistles until the beans is tender and cooked).
  • Once the whistles are done, allow the steam to escape on its own. Take the rajma out and drain the liquid. Do not throw it away since we will use it later.
  • Meanwhile take the chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic cloves and ginger and make a fine paste using a mixer grinder.
  • Put a sauce pan on medium flame. Add ghee. Once hot add the cumin seeds and allow it to crackle. Add the green chili, curry leaves and bay leaf and saute for 10 – 15 seconds.
  • Now add the tomato- onion paste and cook it on low flame. After a minute or so add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, half of rajma masala and let the mixture cook until all the moisture is evaporated. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Once cooked add the cooked kidney beans along with the remaining rajma masala and give it a quick stir.
  • Add the rajma stock (and more water if you like it watery), cover it with a lid and bring the curry to boil.
  • Add kasuri methi and adjust for salt and spice levels and let it cook for another minute or so.
  • Now garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Enjoy!

My Family’s Favorite Egg Curry

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When I look back and retrospect my initial days cooking in the kitchen, a multitude of emotions run through my mind. There is definitely a sense of achievement to see how far I have come along in cooking, each day is better than yesterday. A lot of different techniques, different cuisines and different flavors seems unraveled in front of me, I definitely want to explore and understand the world of food better! This recipe is special to me since its humble and screams of the flavors that me and family enjoy. It was just a few years back when I was attempting to make egg curry and I failed miserably since my eggs weren’t boiled perfectly. And here I am confident about this lip smacking Egg Curry!

This dish falls in my comfort zone food category , quintessential to days when I want to have something delicious and have no time to make something elaborate. A sublime curry with perfectly boiled eggs snuggled in it with layers of Indian flavors – Oh so yum! It’s rustic and a simple dish for all those egg lovers. So just when you were thinking what to cook with parathas or rice, we answered your dilemma with this flavorful Egg Curry!

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RECIPE

METHOD: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 3 hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced half
  • 4 big tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1 medium onion, roughly diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chillis, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 – 7 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (you can increase it slightly if you want more spice)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried mango powder (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 – 3 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Take tomato, onions, 1 green chili, ginger and garlic in a mixer grinder and grind it to form a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
  • Now take a kadhai/saucepan on medium heat and add oil. Once its hot, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick and the remaining chilli and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Now add the tomato – onion paste and saute it until it starts to thicken. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala and let the mixture cook until it starts to leave oil. Make sure you keep stirring it to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once paste starts to leave the oil, add water and allow the water to boil.
  • Add the boiled eggs and cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the curry to boil for another 2 minutes.
  • Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or parathas.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matar Paneer Ki Sabzi

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An Indian meal without a paneer curry seems almost incomplete. Be it paneer makhni, kadhai paneer, paneer bhurji or paneer tikka, each variation of paneer is mouthwatering. There is a plethora of recipes of paneer and each one loves the recipe most commonly cooked at their homes. Among the gazillion versions that I have tried, this easy paneer makhni recipe is my favorite.

Any special occasion at home, my mum used to cook paneer since we all loved it. With birthdays and anniversaries being special occasions in one’s life, mum never forgot to make each one’s favorite paneer recipe. It was a quintessential birthday dish! The mildly spiced curry, the creaminess from the cashew nuts, the earthiness from the peas and the softness from the cottage cheese makes this dish so comforting and sumptuous. It is aromatic, luscious and so vibrant in its color that you just can’t stop with one serving. Have it with parathas or rice, you will go back for more.

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RECIPES

INGREDIENTS: (For 2-3 people)

  • 3 tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1/4 cup broken cashew nuts, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup peas, boiled
  • 1 green chili, split length wise
  • 1 small mace
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Drain the water from the cashew nuts. In a mixer grinder add the cashew nuts, green chili, tomatoes, mace and ginger and grind it until they form a smooth paste.
  • Heat the saucepan and add ghee. Once its heated add the the cumin seeds. Let it crackle. Add the bay leaf and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato – cashew paste made earlier and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add the turmeric powder and half the red chili powder and allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, remaining red chili powder and garam masala and cook the mixture for another 2 – 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Once the masalas and mixture is cooked properly add the paneer cubes and boiled peas and let it cook for 3 -4 minutes.
  • Add whole milk and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add half the kasuri methi and allow the curry to cook for 5 minutes so that all the flavors are well infused into the paneer.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and the remaining kasuri methi and serve the curry hot with parathas or rice.

Enjoy!

Deconstructed Palak Paneer

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As a child my mum always tried new recipes, made new dishes so that family meals weren’t mundane. These new dishes often enticed us because of its beautiful aroma and vibrant colors. Being a fussy eater, she then mixed some veggies which I loathed among the ones I loved. I guess a lot of people can relate to this at some point in their life. In due course of time, I started loving those leafy vegetables to the bitter ones and I can’t that my mom enough for opening my taste buds to such a wide array of produce that is available in the market.

Among the dishes that mum cooked, she often made variations of spinach and cottage cheese (paneer) and this deconstructed palak paneer is my favorite. The subtle flavors of the spices, the earthy flavors from the spinach and the softness from the paneer all combines to create a great lingering effect on your palate. Though Indian curries requires a lot of patience to achieve the correct balance, this recipe is an exceptional. When I have guests coming in no time or too tired after day’s work, I often resort to this recipe since its nutritious, quick and super easy.

So even if you have a long day at work or home, do remember that you can still have a sumptuous meal with your family!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 250 grams spinach
  • 200 grams paneer/cottage cheese, diced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cardamom pod, broken open
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small mace
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of sugar

METHOD:

  • Roughly chop the spinach and blanch it on medium heat with a pinch of sugar to retain the green color.
  • Once blanched, drain the water and run it under cold water.
  • In a saucepan take ghee. Once hot add bay leaf, mace, cardamom pod and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Then add garlic and sauté until its light golden brown.
  • Next add the blanched spinach leaves, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt let the mixture cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the paneer cubes and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  • When the paneer cubes and spinach is well cooked with the spices add whole milk and let it simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Once the gravy comes to a boil, add the tomato ketchup and mix it.
  • Let the curry cook for a minute and then serve it hot with freshly made parathas or rotis.

Enjoy!