Kale Chane – the Iron Man’s Curry

Kala Chana or black chickpea is a cousin of white chickpea. Also known as desi chana, it has smaller, darker seeds than Kabuli chana(white chickpea). Being extremely rich in iron and protein, it is a power food for children. I remember, as a kid, Mum would give us the soup left after boiling the chana to drink.  It didn’t taste very good, so I used to just gulp it down!

Kale Chane can be prepared in many ways. A lightly seasoned dry recipe cooked during Navratri is very popular. Kala Chana Sundal and Kerala’s Kadala Curry are some other lip smacking recipes from South India where the chane are tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves and coconut.

This recipe is the north Indian Punjabi version in which chickpeas are cooked in an onion tomato gravy. The masala prepared in this recipe is same as the one used for Rajma. Enjoy this delicious curry with rice/rotis. Can’t get enough iron? Eat kale chane

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Masala Idli – A Breakfast Makeover

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning – start of another relaxing weekend. You are thinking hard about what to make for breakfast. You have had enough cereals, muesli and sandwiches during the week. You want to have something more interesting but you are still a little tired from the week to make an elaborate breakfast sweating in the kitchen. You want to avoid rich and deep fried foods – the breakfast should be healthy. But it is also a weekend – so breakfast should also be tasty and appealing too!

So, what do you cook?

Masala idli is the perfect answer to your ‘what to cook for breakfast’ problem. It is quick, healthy and most importantly yummm. Idlis are tossed with crunchy onions, tangy tomatoes, peppy peppers and tempered with aromatic mustard seeds, curry leaves and sambhar powder – this colourful makeover of idlis will certainly make your mornings brighter! Run out of breakfast ideas? Read more

Thai Red Curry – Cook, Smell, Eat

Traditional Thai cooking is a celebration of fresh and fragrant ingredients. The  most captivating dish in the Thai cuisine are the curries – Red, Green and Yellow for their complex distinctive flavours.  I love Thai food as the spices used are so similar to Indian curries.

All curries start with a  curry paste. Most curry pastes available in the supermarkets have shrimp paste, but in this recipe we will be using a ‘make your own’ vegan Thai red curry paste. After trying this ‘made from scratch’ curry paste, you’ll never buy packaged paste again. You also do not need to drive to your local Asian grocery store to buy a plethora of ingredients before you can enjoy this awesome curry. I will be showing how you can substitute most ingredients with spices easily available in your kitchen.

Fiery red chillies are blended with pungent onion and garlic, lime and coriander add plenty of zing that is balanced by the coconut milk. Hot, sour, sweet and salty – perfect harmony of contrasting flavours  – that makes an authentic Thai Red Curry. Love fresh and fragrant curries? Read more

Mirch Ka Salan – A Royal Delicacy

After my previous post Eggplant Sambhar, we continue to explore the food from Southern India and our next stop is Hyderabad. Hyderabadi cuisine, a princely legacy of Nizams (rulers) of Hyderabad, is an amalgamation of Mughal, Turkish, Arabic and even Persian cuisines while having a strong influence of the native Telgu and Marathwada culinary traditions.

In the olden days, the royals and elites would have extravagant banquets and weddings where multiple courses of food were prepared and served as a feast. Most Hyderbadi recipes include meat, Biryani being the most popular. What accompanies the Biryani is ‘Burani raita’ and  ‘Mirch Ka Salan’.

Mirch Ka Salan is a vegetarian delicacy from Hyderabad and is prepared from peanuts, coconut, sesame and coriander seeds. The complex flavours blended together result in a mouth watering gravy that will make you come back for more.

You don’t need a biryani to enjoy this delicious Salan. Last weekend I made Pulao for lunch and to spice things up, I served it with this Salan. It also tastes great with Lachha paranthas. Want to eat like a King? Read more

Eggplant Sambhar – the Perfect Lentil Soup

Sambhar is quintessential to South-Indian cuisine. There are so many different ways to cook it and the taste also varies from state to state. Sambar can eaten with rice, idlis, dosas or utthapams. Or you can have a bowl on its own as a warm comforting soup.

Lentils boiled with vegetables are mixed with little tamarind for the sourness, few red chillies for the heat, made pungent with a pinch of hing,  infused with aroma of fresh  curry leaves, finished with a dash of sweet jaggery to even out the slight bitterness of mustard seeds and fenugreek – an explosion of flavours in your mouth!  Do you relish Sambhar? Read more

Bircher Muesli – the Swiss Breakfast

Even though I hate eating cereals for breakfast, one thing I can have without complaining is Bircher Muesli. Imagine the goodness of whole grains loaded with fibre, combined with fruits rich in vitamins and minerals, coated in yoghurt high in calcium and topped with nuts and seeds packed with Omega 3 fats – all in one bowl of breakfast, so tasty that you can have it for a dessert – that is the Blissful Bircher Muesli.

And now that you have fulfilled all your dietary requirements for the day with breakfast, you can indulge for the rest of the day!!!

Would like a dessert for breakfast? Read More

Dal Makhani Revealed

Dal Makhani- the most celebrated dal in Indian cuisine. Regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, everyone loves Dal Makhani.  Slow cooked lentils mixed with a tangy tomato sauce, seasoned with aromatic spices, made rich with fresh cream and butter – hmmm tastes heavenly!

Even wondered why the dal in the restaurant tastes so different from your dal at home? I did. The secret lies in the recipe and if you follow this recipe right, you can have Dal Bukhara served out of your own kitchen! Want to know the secret? Read more

Kapurthale ki Gobhi Adraki

If you come from India, you would have surely eaten Alu Gobhi countless number of times. It is a common dry or semi dry vegetable dish cooked with cauliflower, potatoes and Indian spices in a onion and tomato gravy.

However, the recipe I am going to share uses only 4 ingredients: cauliflower, potatoes, ginger and green chilli, and of course, some spice powders for seasoning. This recipe has come down to me from my Grandma, who we adorably called Nani Maa. She, like all grannies in the world, was an expert cook. She was the reason my Mum developed an interest in cooking which she then passed on to me. That’s how traditions get passed on in the family, from mother to daughter, and cooking is nothing less than a tradition!

The two key flavoring ingredients in this recipe are adrak (ginger) and kasoori methi (dried fenugreek). My Nani came from Kapurthala, a city in Punjab (India). So, I have named it ‘Kapurthale ki Gobhi Adraki’! Would like a trip to Kapurthala? Read More

Veggie Wrap – the Perfect Picnic Snack

With the holiday season on, everyone is busy planning picnics, get togethers and, of course, parties. I always struggle to plan a picnic menu as I do not like to eat cold food and most picnic spots do not have arrangements to heat food. So this time, I tried to think of a recipe that is quick, delicious enough for a picnic and tastes great even when cold.

One recipe that ticks all these boxes is the vegetable wrap – fresh and crunchy vegetables flavoured in a creamy dressing and wrapped in a tortilla. It can’t get simpler and healthier than this. No advance preparation is required and it is ready within minutes. The kids will also love the colours. I took these to my daughter’s ‘Toddler Christmas party’ and they were all gone within minutes. Got a picnic to pack? Read more

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