Chana masala

BM# 101: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : 
Creamy gravies

Last month, my old neighbors had come over home. With the kids at school, there was enough time to relax and catch up with each other. We had a mini pot luck and had a great lunch. I had made three gravies that day, two of which I am posting for this theme. I hadn’t picked this theme when I was preparing the meal, it was just good luck that I took pictures of the thali. My friends had brought in vegetable biriyani and bisibela bath. It was served along with the Chana masala, Chettinad mushroom curry and a mixed vegetable curry. Do check out the carrot halwa recipe too, it is a simple and easy way to make this great dessert.

Coming to the Chana masala recipe, this is again from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. After trying the mushroom curry recipe from the book, I made this first when we had some friends coming over. I didn’t have enough time to soak Chana, so I cooked it for one hour in Instant Pot before making this gravy. If you have time, you can soak the Chana overnight and cook it before making this curry. I already have a recipe for Chana masala in the blog, but this recipe has enough differences to make a separate post.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Vegan Richa’s Indian kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 6 medium tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 2″ long piece of ginger
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • A good pinch of hing
  • 2 teaspoons Chana masala or Garam masala
  • Salt as needed
  • About 2 cups of water*
  • Coriander leaves and lemon juice for garnishing and serving

*You can use the water Chana was cooked in.

Method:

  1. Drain and Pressure cook the soaked Chana with enough water until it’s done. Let the pressure release naturally. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies and 1/2 cup cooked (and cooled) chickpeas. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Add the chopped onions and cook till it turns pink. Add all the masala powders – cumin, turmeric, chili, garam (or Chana) masala, hing and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the puréed tomato paste. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring in between to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a little water in case that happens. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes until the mixture is dry and starts to leave the side of the pan.
  5. Add cooked chickpeas and about 2 to 2.5 cups of water. You can use the water in which Chana was cooked. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, taste testing in between to adjust the seasoning. Take off the heat and serve garnished with coriander leaves, minced onion and lemon juice. This pairs very well with rotis and plain basmati rice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

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Saag Paneer

BM# 101: Week 3, Day 2
Theme : 
Creamy gravies

There was a time when paneer was a once in a while treat, we would order it when we go to restaurants or buy for a stores on special occasions. Now, it’s so common that the fridge is always stocked with a block or two of paneer. My go to recipe for preparing this is Paneer butter masala, but palak paneer is a close second. I also add it in Pulaos or mixed vegetable curries. Another way to use it is as a sandwich or dosa filling. And that makes me realize how many more recipes I need to add to the blog!!

Coming to the recipe here, this is Saag paneer, another dish that I make often. Traditionally saag is served plain, not with paneer in it. Saag means greens and can be made with any greens available. If I see fresh mustard leaves at the Indian store, I buy it along with some spinach and methi leaves to make this. I use Instant Pot for making this instead of the stovetop pressure cooker.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : Veg Recipes of India

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup methi leaves
  • 1 bunch sarson ka saag
  • 1 big onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2″ piece ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 green chilies
  • A pinch of hing
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour (yellow maize flour)
  • Salt as needed
  • 200 gms paneer, cut into cubes
  • Ghee

Method:

  1. Wash the leaves well to remove any dirt. Roughly chop it. Add the spinach, methi, saag, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies, hing and water to the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker. Cook for about 8 minutes or 8 whistles. Let the pressure naturally release.
  2. Add maize flour/ corn flour to it. Take an immersion blender and purée everything. Else wait for the saag to cool a bit and blend in a mixie and add it back to the instant pot or cooker.
  3. Add salt and Let the saag cook for another 10-15 minutes, the more it cooks, the tastier it gets. Taste test and adjust the seasonings. Add the cubed paneer pieces towards the last five minutes. Take off the heat and serve with a dollop of ghee with rotis or parathas.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Dhokli Nu Shaak

BM# 101: Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Cooking with Chickpea flour

Long post alert!! Scroll down for the recipe.

Growing up in India, birthdays weren’t celebrated the way we do it now. It would be just another ordinary day but with friends and family wishing you a great day. And in my case, the husband and kid would wish if they remember it. It never bothered me that my birthday was forgotten half the time, because it was never celebrated in a great manner ever.

After coming to US, all of this changed. Birthdays are like mini weddings, I mean, there is a constant reminder that it is a very very special day and that you have to celebrate it. Every year now, my husband buys me expensive gifts and I always wonder whether it’s the same person who regularly forgot my birthdays until 5 years back :-)). More important than the gifts is eating out because that means I don’t have to cook :-D.

I turned an year older in March. My birthday was on a Monday, but we had our friends over on Sunday itself. So I was surprised when my husband said that we are going out on Monday for dinner. Against my character, I told him that I can make something simple for dinner. But he insisted on going out. It was only when we reached the destination that I realized that we had come to our friends place for dinner.

My husband and my son were coordinating with them to keep this as a surprise. It was one of the sweetest and yummiest gifts I have ever been given :-)!! She is from Gujarat and she had prepared a thali for us. Rice, roti, Kadhi, Undhiyo, homemade gulab jamun and then this dhokli nu shaak. It was a working day for her and yet she came early to prepare dinner for us. She made this dhokli nu shaak quickly while waiting for her husband to come from work. Ever since then this has been on my list to prepare at home.

So long story short, I ate a great meal with great company for my birthday and it is one of the wonderful memories that will stay with me forever. As I was making this dish today, I remind myself that the best things in life are not the ones bought from a store.

Coming to the recipe here, I would suggest looking at the video before trying to make it. Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : Trusha’s kitchen

Ingredients:

For the dhokli

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A good pinch hing
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour/ besan
  • Salt as needed
  • For the curry
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • A good pinch hing
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
    • 2 cups thin buttermilk
    • 1 cup water
    • Salt as needed

    Method

    1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing. Once it splutters, add 2 cups water, salt, chopped garlic, turmeric, chili and coriander powders. Let it boil for 5-6 minutes. Sift besan first and Add it to the water. Mix well with a ladle so that there are no lumps. Cover and cook for a few minutes.
    2. Transfer the batter mix into a greased plate and level it with the back of a greased bowl. Set aside to cool. Cut into cubes using a knife once cool.
    3. Heat oil in another clean pan. Add mustard seeds, jeera and hing. Once the seeds splutter, add one cup of water, salt, turmeric, chili and coriander powders. Add two cups of thin buttermilk and let it cook for a few minutes. Add dhokli pieces to it and cook for another few minutes. Take off the heat and serve hot with rotis.

    Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

    Methi Kadhi

    BM# 101: Week 2, Day 1
    Theme : Cooking with Chickpea flour

    Back home, it’s a common practice to boil milk every morning before consuming and at the end of the day, the leftover milk is converted to yogurt. So with freshly prepared yogurt almost every single day, there is frequent appearance of yogurt based recipes at our dining table. In our house, Mor kuzhambu was our comfort food. That’s yogurt with ground coconut paste. Amma used to make it in an earthen pot and that used to make it even more delicious.

    In Northern parts of India, instead of coconut, besan or chickpea flour is used to make Kadhi. This yogurt based curry can be thin or thick, depending on the area it’s from. Gujarati Kadhi is more watery than the Punjabi Kadhi. Just like its Southern counterpart, this gravy can be prepared with or without vegetables. Seasonal greens are sometimes added and what we have here is Methi (fenugreek leaves) Kadhi. Here I have served it with mixed vegetable khichdi.

    Read on for the recipe.

    Serves : 6-8

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup chickpea flour/besan
    • 2 cups yogurt
    • 1″ ginger piece
    • 3 green chilies
    • 2 cups Methi leaves, washed and cleaned
    • 5-6 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • Salt as needed

    For tadka:

    • 1 tablespoon ghee
    • a pinch of Asafetida
    • 1 teaspoon jeera
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 2 dried red chilies

    Method:

    1. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger and green chilies together. Else chop it finely.
    2. In a medium bowl, add the besan and yogurt. Using a whisk, mix well until it’s lump free.
    3. Heat ghee in a big heavy bottom pan. Add all the items under tadka.
    4. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the crushed ginger and green chilies. Sauté until its fragrant. Add the methi leaves. Sauté for a couple of minutes until it’s wilted a bit.
    5. Add the besan yogurt slurry. Mix well and add 5 cups of water. Add chili powder and keep mixing often to avoid any flour lump from forming. Add salt as needed ( Kadhi needs a fair amount of salt).
    6. Reduce heat to low and let it cook for about half an hour. The more it cooks, the tastier it gets. You might have to add more water (and salt too) if it gets too thick. Keep stirring in between.
    7. At the end of half an hour, taste test and take of the heat. Serve with plain rice or chapati.

    Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.