Mango Shrikhand

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Whats you favorite childhood memories associated with mangoes? For me ts definitely Aam Shrikhand (and also Aamras). A bowl of this beauty makes everything about summer good. Fresh mango puree mixed with the creamiest homemade yogurt – and I am already salivating! I made this Mango Shrikhand a few days back and it screams summer. My summer happiness would be incomplete without this delicious dessert or accompaniment.

While I miss my mum’s and nani’s Mango Shrikhand, but this sunny beauty is my new friend this summer. What are you waiting for when such simple pleasures can be made in no time.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 3 cups)

  • 3 medium sized alphonso mangoes, skin removed and chopped
  • 2 cups homemade hung yogurt
  • 4 tbsp jaggery powder (you can adjust it depending on the sweetness of the mangoes)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • slivers of 7 – 8 almonds
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 5 – 6 strands of saffron

METHOD:

  • In a blender take the chopped mangoes, cardamom powder and jaggery powder and blend it into a smooth puree.
  • Fold this into the hung yogurt and chill until you are ready to serve.
  • Garnish with almond slivers, pistachios and saffron strands and serve immediately.

P.S: You can serve this with Aloo Parathas, Puris or have it as is.

 

Masala Chaas

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Summer is incomplete without a chilled glass of delicious Buttermilk aka Masala Chaas. There are so many variations of this simple cooler and you can’t get enough of this throughout the summers. Every family has their own special (and favorite) Masala Chaas recipe and so is mine. Making a glass of buttermilk rekindles childhood memories every time. And now time had completed a full circle. After school routine at home was gulping down my mum’s special Chaas and she never failed to add her touch of love by making so many varieties. I thoroughly enjoyed it! And now when my son comes back from his school is when I serve him buttermilk during summers.

A classic Indian beverage with so many good properties that you need to include in your diet plan – aids good digestion, good for gut, body cooler and packed with flavor. Make your glass now!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cup chilled water
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder/ jeera powder
  • 8 – 9 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 green chillis, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cooking oil
  • 8 – 9 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • salt for taste

METHOD:

  • In a blender put yogurt, chilled water, roasted cumin powder, salt and half of the ice cubes and blend it until it becomes slightly frothy.
  • Heat a tadka pan. Put oil, mustard seeds and let it crackle.
  • Add curry leaves, grated ginger and green chilli and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Put this tadka in the yogurt and water mix and stir it.
  • Now take serving glasses and divide the rwmaining ice cubes evenly between them. Equally divide the chaas amongst the serving glasses.
  • Generously garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy!

Methi Malai Paneer

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Its raining here incessantly in Bangalore and all I was craving was a bowl of comforting paneer curry with some fluffy rotis. And such delicious cravings need to get fulfilled and hence Methi Malai Paneer happened in my kitchen. Being an ardent fan of paneer, this recipe is one of my family favorites. A few handful basic ingredients in the kitchen come together beautifully to make a stunning curry. The lush methi leaves, the delectable gravy and my ever favorite grilled paneer cubes.

So just when you thought paneer dishes are all the same and quite boring, this recipe is a winner. Try it and you’ll fall in love with it.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 200 grams paneer, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups fresh fenugreek/ methi leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 15 – 16 cashew nuts, soaked in a small bowl of water
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 green chilli, split lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp dhaniya powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup fresh cream
  • 2 tbsp dried kasuri methi leaves

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METHOD:

  • In a kadhai take 1 tbsp oil and put it on medium flame. Add cumin seeds and saute it until it crackles.
  • Now add onion and saute until its translucent to light brown. This would take about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Now add tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chilli, cashews and a little bit of salt and saute it until the tomatoes are cooked and mushy.
  • Take it off the stove and allow it cool down completely.
  • Once cooled, mixer grind it into a smooth paste. You can add 1 – 2 tbsp of water if required.
  • Now take another kadhai on medium flame and take 1 tbsp of ghee in it. Add the tomato – onion puree in it. Add turmeric powder, dhaniya powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and a bit of salt and let the paste cook until its releases some oil.
  • Now add 1/3 cup water to this an let it cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Now add the fresh cream and keep stirring it until its well incporporated into the paste to avoid the cream from splitting.
  • Add methi/ fenugreek leaves to it and let it simmer for 4 – 5- minutes.
  • Now add paneer cubes and honey and let it simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Alternatively you can grill the paneer cubes on a griddle pan and put it inside the gravy righe before serving.
  • Garnish with kasuri methi leaves and serve.

 

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!

 

Fresh Sorghum/ Jowar Hummus

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Happy 2018 folks! A new year, new aspirations, new vigor and new learnings. The year gone by was a great year with continuous learning and unlearning. And as we have ushered into the new year, I want to make this year more memorable, more fun filled and more enlightening be it learning how to become a better person, a better cook and a better human. This is not a resolution for 2018, but a small effort to embark on a journey of perfection and happiness.

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When it comes to food, I want to explore different cuisines, understand the food culture, eat clean and enjoy. What better way to start learning and cooking with local Indian produce. Winters in Indian brings a plethora of fresh produce – lush green spinach, fresh turmeric, fresh garlic and fresh grains. Loaded with so much goodness, these fresh produce is a constant reminder how beautiful India is. And what happens when you take local produce and turn it into something as simple and lovely like a Hummus. This Homemade Fresh Jowar/ Sorghum Hummus lends an exotic flavor to the usual Hummus. Easy to make with some basic ingredients and a healthy snacking option. Get your creative juices flowing because you can do just so much more than the recipe shared below. Add your favorite herbs or slather it on your toast with some veggies, this recipe will surely win your hearts this winters!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Make 1.5 cups)

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh Jowar/ Sorghum
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 – 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

  • Put a saucepan on medium-low heat and dry roast the white sesame seeds until fragrant. Once done, remove it from the heat and let it cool down.
  • In a food processor, add the toasted sesame seeds and 1 tbsp olive oil and grind it to a smooth paste. Once done keep it aside
  • Now take the fresh jowar, parsley leaves, garlic cloves, the toasted sesame paste and extra virgin olive oil in a food processor and grind the mixture into smooth paste.
  • Scrape down the sides, add lemon juice and splash of water (if needed) and blitz it to form an almost smooth paste. (it is okay if you feel the chewy texture of the jowar in the paste)
  • Transfer it to a serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil and dried mint leaves and serve with toast, crackers or crudites.

Enjoy!

Sooji Rava Dhoklas

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Everyone has their special time with their daily cup of coffee or tea. Its the most precious time. It rejuvenates you, gives you the necessary kick and you are back to your daily chores. And when you can pair something delicious and healthy with your cup of coffee or tea, its pure bliss. This fluffy suji dhokla is my all time favourite breakfast and snack. I remember mum making it so often – sometimes the basic ones and sometimes loaded with colorful veggies. I had an undying love for this dish and still love it. Lapping up with homemade tangy chutney – oh so yum! Never do I remember that a batch of these dhiklas lasted for more than 30 minutes. We literally gobbled up these pillow-y bites.

The fluffy dhoklas, tempered with basic Indian spices is delicious and my entire family loves it. Its a no brainer recipe and a perfect addition to your meal table.

RECIPE

METHOD: (For 3 – 4 people)

For the dhokla batter:

  • 2 cup semolina/ sooji
  • 1 cup curd (I used relatively thin curd)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 /2 tbsp oil + extra for brushing the plate
  • 1/4 tsp green chili paste
  • 1 packet eno
  • salt, to taste

For tempering:

  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 10 – 12 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl mix all the ingredients mentioned under the dhokla batter except Eno and whisk it until combined.
  • Now add some water so that it the batter is slightly thicker than the idli batter.
  • Meanwhile add water in the steamer base and ring it to oil. Grease the pan with oil and keep aside.
  • Now add eno to the batter and whisk it vigourously until evenly incorporated. Immediately transfer the batter to the pan and put it to steam until a tooth pick  inserted comes out clean. This would take about 15 – 18 minutes on a medium-high flame.
  • Once cooked allow it to cool for 10 minutes and then slice it up.
  • Meanwhile for tempering, take a saucepan on a medium flame. Add oil, curry leaves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, sesame seeds and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add chili flakes and green chili and saute for 20 seconds.
  • Now add a couple of tablespoons of water and turn off the flame. Saute for 10 seconds and pour the tempering over the sliced pieces of dhokla.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with green coriander chutney.

Enjoy!

NOTE: Please note that in case you have to make this dhikla in 2 batches, add eno to the first batch and put it to steam immedaitely. Only when the next batch is ready to go inside the steamer is when you put eno to that batch.

Dal Makhani

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Dal is staple to almost every Indian household. With a myraid of options to choose from, every one in the house has their all time favorite Dal. My favourite being my mum’s Dal Makhani. Yes mum’s extra dose of love in anything she cooks is incomparable but when you eat her Dal Makhani you are bound to fall in love with it. Lentils cooked to perfection, the aroma of the Indian spices and that creaminess – you can’t resist it.

This recipe is a variation of her recipe but super simple to make and definitely delicious. With the nip in the air, a bowl of this famous Punjabi style Dal Makhani along with chopped onions and rice is along you need. So snuggle yourself in a cozy warm blanket with this bowl of deliciousness and savor the amazing desi flavors.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4  people)

  • 1 cup whole black lentils/ whole urad dal
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream + extra for garnishing (I usel Amul cream)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 3 pieces of clove
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green (small) cardamom
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp shahi jeera or regular cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (you can adjust in case you like it more spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried kasuri methi leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

METHOD:

  • Soak whole black lentils and rajma overnight in water and in separate containers.
  • Next day, wash the lentils and rajma with fresh water a couple of times and put it in the separate pressure cookers.
  • Put 4 cups of water in the pressure cooker with black lentils with a bit of turmeric powder and salt and put the lid on. Allow it to cook on low-medium flame for around 12 whistles or until tender and cooked.
  • Put 2 cups of water in the pressure cooker with rajma along with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder and allow it to cook for 3 whistles on low-medium flame. Make sure the rajma is cooked but not completely masked inside the pressure cooker.
  • Let the steam escape on its own from both the pressure cookers.
  • Meanwhile take a saucepan and put it on low flame. Take cinnamon stick, black cardamom, small cardamom, cloves and bay leaf and dry roast it from 1 minute. Remove it and keep these condiments aside in a plate.
  • Take butter in the same saucepan and put it on medium flame. Once its melted add cumin seeds and green chili and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the dry roasted condiments and saute for another 30 seconds. To this add tomato puree and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Now add red chili powder and ginger garlic paste and let the mixture cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to leave oil from the side.
  • Now add garam masala and saute for 1 minute.
  • To this mixture add the cooked rajma and black lentils and saute for 1 minute. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of water and let the whole mixture simmer on medium flame for 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has cooked add dried kasuri methi and low fat cream and mix it.
  • Take it off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and some cream and serve!

Enjoy!