Imli Aloo

BM #110 : Week 4, Day 3
Theme : A to Z theme – Curries

I had planned to make Ivy gourd curry for the alphabet‘I’ in this A-Z theme. But I forgot to buy the vegetable and my google search for an alternate dish took me to this Imli aloo recipe from Priya’s space. She had served the tangy potatoes with Horse gram curry. So that’s how I got the recipe for yesterday’s post :-).

Coming to the recipe here, it has cooked potatoes sautéed with the usual masalas, you can change according to your preference. Basically it’s a combination of salt, spice and tangy flavors because of the tamarind. Earlier when I used to squeeze tamarind pulp the traditional way, I used to always end up with multiple small cuts in my hand. It took me awhile to understand that tamarind was the culprit and once I realized that, I switched to the paste version and haven’t had any problems since then. Lemon also does the same thing to me sometimes, if I squeeze too much lemon, the next day it would be like someone nicked my knuckles with a teeny tiny blade.

Anyway, here is the recipe for tangy potatoes. These pair very well with rice and a gravy. Rice and yogurt with potatoes in the side is an excellent combination, my younger brother survived on that diet for the first 20 years of his life (don’t ask me how though, he was a picky eater and we just let him be!)

Ingredients:

  • 3 big potatoes, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon jeera seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind Paste
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Wash and Cook potatoes. I pressure cook them in Instant Pot for 1 minute in Manual Mode. Let the pressure release naturally and let the potatoes cool down. Once cool, peel the skin and dice it. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds to it. Once it finishes popping, add jeera seeds and let it crackle. Add the masalas now to the oil, and the tamarind paste too. Mix everything well and tip in the potatoes. Mix carefully so that the masalas coat the potatoes evenly.
  3. Turn the heat down and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes over without breaking it and let it cook for another couple of minutes. Take off the heat and serve with rice and yogurt or a curry of your choice.

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Horse-gram Curry

BM #110 : Week 4, Day 2
Theme : A to Z theme – Curries

For today’s post, for the alphabet H, I had initially planned on Hare Matar ka Nimona. Then I came across this recipe for Horse gram masala at Priya’s place and I decided to prepare it. I have some horse gram that needs to be used up and this was perfect for it. There are made some modifications I made to Priya’s recipe, it’s more of Kerala style now.

The base recipe is very simple, it has three steps to it. First is soaking and cooking the horse gram. Priya suggests cooking with a good pinch of baking soda and that’s what I did. Second step is to make a coconut paste. That’s where the differences start. I decided to stick with the regular masala I prepare, which has coconut, dried red chilies and jeera. Now the third and final step is to prepare a tadka with mustard seeds and onions and to cook everything together. An optional way to make the curry thick is to purée half of the cooked (and cooled) horse gram and add it to to the curry or run an immersion blender couple of times.

This curry pairs well with rice and roti. It would be great with puttu or aapam also. Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup horsegram , soaked overnight
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon jeera seeds
  • 4-5 almonds/cashews, optional
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 small red onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped, optional
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Check the horse gram for stones and once you have removed it all, wash and soak the beans overnight. The next day morning, pressure cook along with water it’s soaked and a good pinch of baking soda until the beans is cooked. I used the Beans setting in Instant Pot for 30 minutes. I also used the delay timer for 8 hours at night so that the beans was cooked by next morning. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the beans and set it aside to cool down.
  2. Grind shredded coconut along with 4 dried red chilies , jeera and almonds/cashews(if using) in a blender. Add about 1/4 cup water to make a smooth paste.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, dried red chilies and curry leaves. Once mustard seeds pop, add the chopped onions and sauté till it turns brown. Add the coconut paste, cooked horse gram along with the water it’s cooked, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt as needed. Mix well.
  4. Make a smooth paste of the reserved 3/4 cups horse gram and add it to the curry. Add water to bring it to a pouring consistency. You can add more water (or less) to suit the consistency you prefer.
  5. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Once the curry comes to a boil, let it cook for about 4-5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Serve with rice or roti.

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Vadacurry with Idli

BM #106: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Packed Lunchboxes

The first time I had vada curry is when our friend’s mom prepared it for us. It’s not a dish I grew up eating, but the first time I had it, I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a complicated process to prepare these, but it’s a fairly easy one. First you have to soak Chana dal and then grind it fennel seeds and dried red chilies. It’s ground to a coarse paste and steamed as small vadas. The gravy for this is the common onion tomato base with the usual spices. The vada is then broken into smaller pieces and added to the onion tomato gravy.

The only difference I see in my friend’s mom’s recipe from the other ones in internet is that she keeps a little bit of vada batter aside and uses it to thicken the gravy later. In the other recipes I see coconut being used for this purpose. The smell and taste of fennel seeds here is absolutely divine. Mine doesn’t have that much fennel, so feel free to add a bit more ground fennel seeds to the gravy if preferred.

This is a typical breakfast/dinner dish and is usually served with soft thick dosas or idli. This was dinner getting packed as lunch next day for my husband:-).

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend’s mother

Ingredients:

For vada

  • 1 cup Chana dal
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
  • Salt as needed

For curry

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Soak the dal overnight or for at least 3 hours. Drain the water completely and pulse it in a blender with fennel seeds, chilies, chili powder and salt. It should be a coarse paste and not a smooth paste. Remove the ground paste to a bowl reserving about 2 tablespoons ( roughly a handful) of it back in the blender. The reserved batter will be blended with water to use for thickening the gravy later.
  2. Take a marble sized ball from the vada batter. Flatten it and place it on a steamer rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Steam for 12 minutes. Set aside.
  3. For the curry, heat a tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onions till it’s pink. Add the ginger garlic paste and mix it in. Add the tomatoes and all the spice powders and salt. Mix everything well and let it cook until the tomatoes are really mushy and almost like a paste. You can add a little water whenever it looks dry or if the curry starts sticking to the pan.
  4. At this point, add 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
  5. Break each vada into smaller pieces, roughly 3-4 pieces per vada. Add the broken vada to the gravy. If the curry is dry, add more water. You are looking for a chili like consistency.
  6. To the reserved vada batter, add 1/4 cup water and grind to a very smooth paste. Add this to the gravy and bring it to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds if preferred. Taste test again and adjust seasonings if necessary. Take off the heat and serve with idli or dosa or even roti.

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Carrot – Chow chow kootu

BM #105: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Easy side dishes for rice/roti

This is yet another of my mother in law’s recipe. Again I took stepwise pictures when she was cooking to make my life easier :-). Kootu is one of the regular dishes our households. My grandma used to make it and my in laws also make it regularly. It’s one of those dishes I used to hate as a kid, but have developed a taste as an adult.

Kootu for most part, uses up leftover bits and pieces of veggies, but for this particular kootu, we bought veggies specifically for it. Amma had prepared it recently when we were visiting our brother in law at Texas. She had prepared it for a crowd of 12 plus people. It was really delicious and I asked her to prepare it again when she was visiting us in Jersey.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 chow chow/ chayote, diced
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed
  • Water as needed
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 dry red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal

Method:

In a thick bottom saucepan, add the diced carrots, chow chow, moong dal, turmeric powder and salt.

Add enough water so that it is just a little short of covering the veggies. Mix everything well. Turn on the heat.

Let the veggies and dal cook.

Meanwhile, grind a teaspoon of jeera/cumin seeds, 3 red chilies (or adjust per taste) and half cup shredded coconut.

Grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.

When the vegetables are cooked and the dal is also done, add the ground coconut paste.

Let the kootu boil for 5 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a small pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds and once it stops popping, add a spoon of broken urad dal. Wait for the dal to turn golden brown.

Add the tadka to the kootu. Serve with rice and papad.

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