|“Lal Saag Bhaja”|
Lal Saag (saag) – 2 Bunch
Badi (Sun dried Lentil dumplings) – 1/2 cup
Garlic,minced – 1 tablespoon
Green chillies, slit – 4 pcs
Salt to taste
Mustard oil – 2 tablespoon
Extra oil for frying the Badi’s.
Pick, clean and wash the lal saag leaves thoroughly under running water to get rid of any soil.
Once clean chop the lal saag finely.
Heat mustard oil in a kadhai or wok till it reaches the smoking point, once hot add the badi and fry until it changes colour to golden brown. Drain using a slotted spoon and keep aside to cool.
Once the badi has cooled crush it lightly, so that it breaks up into smaller pieces.
Heat around 2 tablespoons of oil in the kadhai and add the minced garlic and slit green chillies, fry for 2-3 minutes and add the chopped Lal Saag, mix well.
Add salt and mix well, the saag will immediately start to release its water, continue frying for 2-3 minutes and add the crushed badi, mix well.
Cover and cook until the badi is softened and the shaag is well done. (Leafy vegetables have high content of water, hence they can cook on there own. Since we are adding badi which will tend to absorb water from the shaak, if required add a tablespoon or two of water.)
Serve hot along with steamed rice and dal and a dollop of desi ghee 🙂
Please clean the saag very well to ensure that there is no soil left.
I love to make green and leafy vegetables in Mustard oil as that’s how my mom makes them, however you could use any cooking oil which you use and I’m sure it will taste great.
While adding salt please go slow, as the quantity reduces considerably.
I have used badi along with the saag but you could make it plain by eliminating the badi.
Easy Chicken Pilaf or Pulav….as the name suggests is an easy one pot meal. A very aromatic and flavorful dish which is mildly spicy and tangy too. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow, made with very few ingredients which are easily available in our daily kitchen.
The best thing is that its a complete meal in itself and does not require any accompaniments, best paired with a light salad. A perfect dish for busy weekdays or a lazy weekend lunch.
Rice,short grain rice – 2 cups
Chicken – 400 grams ( on bones)
Onion – 3 medium
Tomato, chopped – 1 medium
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Green chillies – 2-3
Green coriander, chopped – 3 tablespoon
Fresh mint, chopped – 3 tablespoon
Yogurt – 2 tablespoon
Fennel seed powder – 1 tablespoon
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Green cardamom – 4
Cloves – 5-6
Black pepper corns – 10-12
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch
Bay leaf – 1 piece
Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon ( optional)
Oil – 2 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Green chillis, slit lengthwise – 1-2
Green coriander, chopped – 2 tablespoon
Ginger, julienne – 1 teaspoon
Ghee ( Clarified butter) – 1 tablespoon
Clean, wash and keep the chicken aside
Clean, wash and soak rice for 30 minutes.
Finely slice the onions and keep aside.
Make a paste of green chillies along with ginger and yogurt. Add fennel seed powder and garam masala powder and keep aside.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and add the whole spices (green cardamom, cloves, black pepper corns, cinnamon stick and bay leaf), once the spices start popping and release the aroma add the sliced onions and fry.
Fry the onions till they turn pink (we do not want the onions to turn brown), once they are done add the chicken mix well and fry until they turn opaque.
Once the chicken turns opaque add the chopped tomatoes mix well and fry for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes are mushy , add the wet masala paste, salt , mix well and fry until oil separates. (Note – Wet masala paste made with ginger, green chillies,yogurt along with fennel seed powder and garam masala)
Fry well and once the oil has starts to appear on the sides of pot add the chopped coriander and mint leaves,mix well and fry for a minute or two.
|“Vegetable Toast Cups”|
Vegetable Toast Cups are wholesome and healthy appetizers made with whole wheat bread and vegetables. Its a great alternative to sandwiches and bread pizza and can be made at a short notice with just a few ingredients.
The best thing about this is that these are easy to make and you could get your little ones involved in making these too. Usually I keep the chopped veggies along with the cheese ready, while I prepare the muffin tin my lil one is busy mixing the filling….and trust me its fun to work along with kids. Just let them enjoy and fill up the bread cups, sprinkle the shredded cheese. Its a delight looking at them eagerly watching the bread cups bake in the oven….
Indeed a Kid friendly recipe…..they not only enjoy helping and making these but love too eat them too…
Whole wheat Bread, – 8 slices
Onion, chopped – 1 small
Tomato, de-seeded and chopped – 1 small
Capsicum, chopped – 1/2 cup (I used red and green capsicum)
Black olives, sliced – 1 tablespoon
Green olives, sliced – 1 tablespoon
Mozzarella cheese, shredded – 3 tablespoon + 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Chilli flakes – 1/4th teaspoon
Oregano – 1/8th teaspoon
Pre-heat oven on 200°C or 400°F
Trim the sides of the bread, flatten the bread slices using a rolling pin. Butter a muffin tray and press the flattened bread slices into the molds of the muffin tray.
Its been 11 months since I started writing “Spicy Notes” and this is my 100th Post on the blog. A wonderful journey indeed…..thanks to all my lovely readers and followers who have constantly been there and motivated me to do better.
As this is my 100th Post!! it calls for a celebration, and no celebration is complete without something sweet, in Hindi we say “Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye” (Let’s have something sweet) The first thing that came to my mind was “Kheer” yes our very own Indian rice pudding, and why not its one sweet dish which is a part of most celebrations across our nation.
“Kheer” is also known as “Payasam or Payasa” in South India, “Payesh” in Bengal, In many temples Kheer is cooked as and offering to God and later served as “Prasad” or “Bhog” to devoties. According to legends the origin of kheer dates back to the days of “Lord Krishna”.
Being born and grown up in Kolkatta I have a special connection with the Bengali culture and cuesine and “Kheer” or “Payesh” plays an important role here. It is the first solid food which is given to a child when he or she is almost 6 months old, the ritual is called “Annaprashon”. Its an occasion for celebration which is attended by the extended family and friends.
In North India when the bride comes to the bridegrooms house for the first time after marriage there is a function known as “Chauka Cchulai”, the newely wed bride would be cooking for the first time in the bridegrooms house and symbolises the official handover of the “Bhandara Keys” (Keys to the pantry or grossery store room)….and “Kheer” is one of the five dishes which she cooks.
“Kheer” is a traditional Indian desert, which is cooked throughout India, an essential dish in many feasts and celebration across regions and relegions. Indian food is as diverse as India itself, hence regional variations in recipes are common and the one that I am about to share is from Northern India. A traditional recipe which has a thick n creamy texture and loaded with dry fruits….
Rice – 1/4th cup
Full cream Milk – 6 cups
Sugar – 1/2 cups
Green Cardamom, powdered – 4
Almonds – 10 – 12
Pistachios – 12 – 14
Cashew – 6-8
Raisins – 1 tablespoon
Clean and wash rice until the water is clear. Soak rice in water for 45 minutes to an hour. Once the rice is soaked well and has softened crush the rice into small pieces.
Heat milk in a heavy bottom pan, once the milk comes to a boil add powdered cardamom, reduce heat and let it simmer on low flame for 8-10 minutes.
Add rice, stir and let the rice cook in milk, keep checking and stir the rice ocassionally to avoid the formation of any lumps. This will also avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Keep scraping the dried milk from the side of the pan and add to the milk in the pan.
While the kheer is cooking, blanch the almonds and pistachios, and chop them.( please see notes below for blanching ). Slit the Cashew into halves.
Once the rice is almost done, and the milk starts to thicken add the chopped nuts mix well and add the sugar. When you add sugar, the sugar melts and the kheer becomes a bit runny but don’t worry, continue cooking and stir ocassionaly. This is the most critical time as once you add sugar there are chances that the kheer will stick to the bottom of the pan, so be alert. Very important don’t forget to scrape the dried milk on the sides of the pan and keep adding it to the pan.
By now the kheer would also thicken, add the raisins, mix well and turn off the flame.
Pour the kheer into individual servings, garnish with some chopped almonds and pistachios and enjoy it hot, warm or even cold.
I have used Basmati rice for making the Kheer, hence had to break it, by doing so the rice will cook faster and the kheer will have a thick creamy consistency. However if you use small grain rice, the result would be the same.
For this Kheer recipe I have used full cream milk as we want the kheer to be thick and creamy, but if you want you could use lowfat milk too.
Please note that the kheer will thicken up even after you turn off the flame so I suggest that you turn off the flame before it reaches the desired consistency.
Blanching – Is a process of cooking in which the fruit or vegetable and in this case Almonds and pistachios are put into hot boiling water, for a very short time, removed and put into ice cold water or under running water to stop the cooking process.
When we blanch Almonds and Pistachios, the skin becomes soft and can be easilly removed.
I have blanched the nuts in the microwave as it is very easy and comes handy.
Put the almonds in a microwave safe bowl, add enough water so its well immersed and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.
|“Nachni or Ragi Dosa”|
Dosa is a traditional breakfast dish from Southern India,these are typically made with a batter consisting of rice and lentil . Rice and lentil are soaked and then ground to a fine paste allowed to ferment and then used to make dosa.
This traditional breakfast has a number of variations, like the Rava dosa, Mix lentil dosa , Wheat Dosa, Oats cheela etc. and one such variation is the Nachni or Ragi dosa. Nachni or Ragi as it is commonly known in India is basically Finger Millet. It is rich in protein, calcium, high in fiber, rich in iron making it one of the most healthy whole grains. Though a healthy grain, but it should be consumed in moderation and is not suitable for people suffering from kidney stones.
This recipe of Nachini Dosa is what I had learnt from a friend of mine who comes from Karnataka a Southern state of India. Its a fermented batter recipe, though you need to plan in advance and does take some time to prepare the but the dosas are worth the effort This crispy dosa is an healthy breakfast option which can be served along with chutney and sambhar.
Ragi flour – 1 cup
Rice – 1 cup
Split Urad Dal – 1/2 cup
Poha – 1/4th cup
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Water – 1/2 cups
Oil to roast the dosa
Clean and soak rice for 4-5 hours. Add the fenugreek seeds to the urad dal and soak for 4-5 hours.
Drain the urad dal and fenugreek seeds and grind itno a smooth paste using little water. Once done, add it to the rice paste. Add a tablespoon or two of water and remove any batter that is stuck on to the sides of the grinding jar. Keep this liquid aside.
Add the ragi flour along with salt to the rice and urad dal batter and mix really well, ensuring that there are no lumps.
Add the water that we had kept aside. If you feel that the batter is very thick then adjust the consistency by adding a little water at a time. Cover the mixing bowl with a lid or cling film and let the batter ferment over night or at least for 8-9 hours.
Heat a tawa or griddle, pour a ladle of batter and quickly spread the dosa with the back of the ladle moving it in a circular motion, working outwards from the center.
Drizzle some oil on the edges and and let it cook from one side, once the dosa is done and the edges start to curl, fold the dosa over and remove from the tawa.
Serve hot and crispy ragi dosa along with chutney coconut chutney or tomato chutney and sambhar.
Make sure that the batter is well ferment, usually if you leave it over night in a warm place it ferments well but if you live in a cold place then it might get difficult.
In that case you could either place the batter in a casserole, or what I prefer to do is warm a cup of water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, remove the water, turn off the power supply and place the covered batter in the microwave and leave it overnight. The batter gets fermented well.
I have made these dosas on a regular tawa, and have started by putting a teaspoon of oil on the tawa and have spread it using a wet cloth, then have poured the batter and spread it. By doing so the dosa comes out crispy and nice and it does not stick to the tawa also.
Rice, cooked – 1 cup
Carrot, grated – 1/2 cup
Green bell pepper, finely chopped – 1/4th cup
Green olive, chopped – 1 tablespoon
Black olive, chopped – 1 tablespoon
Pickled jalapenos, de-seeded and chopped – 1 tablespoon
Mixed Italian Herbs – 1/2 teaspoon
Crushed black pepper – 1/4th teaspoon
White sesame seeds – 1 teaspoon (optional)
Mozzarella Cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – 12 -14 pcs
Fine bread crumb – 2 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
For outer coating
Corn flour – 3 tablespoon
Water – 1/4 cup
Bread crumb – 1 cup
In a large mixing bowl place the cooked rice, grated carrot, chopped green bell pepper. Add the chopped green and black olives along with the mixed herbs, crushed black pepper, sesame seeds and salt. Mix well.
Add the bread crumb and form a dough. (I had used around 2 tablespoon of breadcrumb to make a firm dough, but you may alter the quantity as required). Divide the dough into 12-14 equal portions.
Take one portion of the rice and vegetable mixture, place it on your palm and flatten it making a small depression in the center. Place one small cheese cube at the center, cover and roll it into a ball. Ensure that the cheese cube is well covered. Repeat the same process to make the remaning rice balls.
Rajma Masala is one of the most commonly prepared and popular vegetarian dish from Northern India. It’s a a thick curry preparation of rajma in a tomato and onion based gravy cooked along with basic Indian Spices available in most homes.
As popularly known in India “Rajma” is the Hindi name for “Red Kidney Beans”, There are a number of variety of Rajma available in the market but the best ones are supposed to come from the hilly regions of Northern India (Jammu & Kashmir, Shimla in Himachal Pradesh).
These dark red kidney shaped legumes are rich in potassium, magnesium , iron and protein , hence making it a great alternative to meat for vegetarians. Rajma is low on calories, high in protein and fiber, loaded with disease fighting antioxidants which promotes healthy and strong immunity.
Being high in fiber and protein it helps in maintain healthy blood sugar level, is rich in vitamin K and B making it good for the brain.. High fiber content (both soluble and insoluble) helps in cleansing the digestive track and improves bowel movement.Its high magnesium and fiber contents helps in reducing bad cholesterol and having a healthy cardiovascular system.
This legume is not only healthy but is rich in taste and flavor, a versatile ingredient indeed which can be used to make salads, soups, stews, cutlets and not to forget our very own “Rajma Chawal”.
Rajma Masala is comfort food, you can have it with steamed rice, roti and never worry about leftovers as it even tastes better the next day. I usually make extra and keep the leftover in the fridge, warm it up well the next day in fact let the gravy thicken so it gets a more creamy texture and just enjoy it with toasted bread…..Oh! I’m drooling…Perfect for a lazy weekend meal and loved by all.
Rajma, dry – 1 1/2 cups
Onion – 2 medium
Garlic – 2-3 cloves (Fat ones)
Ginger, grated – 1 teaspoon
Tomato, chopped – 2 medium
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Bay leaf – 1
Green cardamom – 4-5
Cloves – 5-6
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch
Oil – 3 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped green coriander for garnish
Clean and wash the Rajma and soak overnight or at least for 8-9 hours.
Rinse soaked rajma 2-3 times under running water. Pressure cook rajma along 4 cups of water, salt, bay leaf, 2 green cardamoms, 3 cloves and cinnamon stick. (I had cooked until 4 whistles, this may vary, depends on the variety of Rajma)
While the rajma is cooking, make a paste of one and half onions and garlic, to this paste add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, mix well and keep aside.
Finely chop half of the remaining onion and keep aside.