Showing posts with label dhaba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dhaba. Show all posts

Sep 7, 2016

Punjabi Dhaba Style Egg Curry

Punjabi Dhaba Style Egg Curry eggs, anda, tomato, curry, boiled, non veg, easy, recipe, indian, curry, spicy, simple,

Punjab is a region in northern India and a dhaba is a typical inexpensive roadside restaurant you'll see all over South Asia. This egg curry is a great example of the simple and delicious food you'll find served at any traditional dhaba. A boldly spiced tomato and onion sauce tops crispy fried eggs in this traditional dish. So easy to make and pairs perfectly with rice, rotis, or parathas for a fantastic Fall lunch or dinner!

Punjabi Dhaba Style Egg Curry anda, tomato, curry, boiled, non veg, easy, recipe, indian, curry, spicy, simple

As I've said before, Nepali eggs are just incredible. Look at those beauties in the photo above! Those would be like grade AAA super jumbo premium eggs in the US. I don't normally even care for eggs that much but these buttery, saffron yolked Nepali eggs are something else. We get them so fresh they're still warm here in Nepal but older eggs work better for this dish. Yes, fresh eggs stick to their shell and don't make for smooth hard boiled eggs when peeled. Frying the hard boiled eggs gives them more texture and extra flavor. If you don't have time to fry the hard boiled eggs or don't wish to, just score them shallowly with a knife so they'll soak up some of that spicy sauce.

5-6 hard boiled eggs, shelled
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
3/4 C onions, sliced thinly into half moons
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
1&1/2 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 tsp ginger/adrak/paste
1 tsp salt
2 tsp kasoori methi/dried fenugreek leaves
Grind until smooth for masala:
4 tomatoes/tamatar, chopped roughly
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin/jeera
2 tsp coriander/dhania, ground
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
3 green cardamoms, elaichi
3 cloves/laung
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste in mixie, blender or food processor and set aside. Heat oil in deep, heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai for 7 minutes. Sprinkle one teaspoonful of salt in hot oil. Fry shelled hard boiled eggs for about three minutes on each side in hot oil until golden brown. Remove eggs from  hot oil and set aside on plate.

2) In the same oil and pan fry onions until golden brown, this should take about 7 to 9 minutes.

3) Add cassia leaf/tej patta, cassia bark/dalchini, garlic paste, and ginger paste. Fry for 2 minutes or until raw smell has left garlic paste. Add ground masala paste from step 1 to fried onion mixture, stir well. Crumble dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi into mixture, stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. If mixture begins to stick or scorch reduce heat, add 1/4 cup of water, stir well, and continue simmering.

4) When oil separates and floats to the top of the simmering masala mixture your sauce is ready. Add fried hard boiled eggs to sauce, stir well, and allow to heat through for 3-4 more minutes. Salt to taste and serve with rice or rotis.

May 12, 2016

Chole Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

Chole means chickpeas and masala means spicy. In this easy recipe, chickpeas are simmered until tender in a rich sauce infused with the warmth of earthy cumin, bright coriander, and aromatic garam masala. A dash of green and red chilis with a final splash of lime juice give this dish it's zesty zing. A delicious protein-rich vegetarian dish that's popular all across Northern India. Typically served with flatbreads such as batura, chappattis, or roti for a hearty meal.

I never really liked chickpeas until I had them in India. Not sure if it was just the way they were prepared or just the canned flavor I didn't care for. Anyway, when prepared fresh with a spicy sauce like this I just love them! I find them easier to digest than most other beans and legumes too. I made this recipe up using ingredients you can easily find in most western countries. Other regional versions of this dish use ingredients that may be hard to find in the West - anardana, amchur, or other souring agents and sometimes even black tea to give rich color and depth of flavor to this dish. I prefer to use limes/nimbu for the sweet and sour tang and caramelize the onions before adding them for complexity in taste. The resulting dish is just as vibrant and authentic in flavor as you'll find in any Desi kitchen!

1&1/2 C dried chickpeas/chole (or two 15 ounce cans of chickpeas)
3 TBS cooking oil
1 C onion, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely (optional, omit for less heat)
1/2 C tomato, diced finely
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
1 TBS coriander/dhania, ground
1 TBS cumin/jeeera, ground
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1/2 tsp paprika)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi (optional)
1 TBS lime/nimbu juice
extra limes/nimbu to serve with

Here's what to do:
1) Soak chickpeas for at least 2 hours up to overnight in water with 1 tsp salt. If using canned chickpeas skip to step 3.

2) If using pressure cooker add enough water to cover the chickpeas by 2 inches plus 1 tsp salt. Seal pressure cooker and allow to steam for 30 minutes or until chickpeas are tender. If using stockpot on stove add enough water to cover chickpeas by 3 inches and 1 tsp salt, boil until tender adding water as needed.

3) In a deep, heavy bottom skillet or kadhai heat oil and fry onions with 1 tsp salt until just beginning to brown. This should take about 8-9 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and green chilis, fry for 2 minutes more.

4) Stir all spice powders, cassia leaf/tej patta, cloves, green cardamoms, and diced tomatoes into fried onion mixture. Fry for about 5 minutes stirring often. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 cup water, stir well and reduce heat.

5) Drain excess liquid off of cooked chickpeas so that they are covered in only about a half inch of liquid. Add fried spice mixture to the cooked chickpeas and stir well. Crumble dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi into mixture and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes or until dish is of desired consistency. For thicker sauce mash a few of the chickpeas against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. If mixture begins to scorch or stick decrease heat and add 1/4 C water. Salt to taste and stir in limes/nimbu juice.

May 1, 2016

Bhindi Fry (Spicy Fried Okra)

Delicately crisp and boldly seasoned this traditional Punjabi style dish makes okra a delicious delight. No stewed slime or goo here, rather the okra is shallow fried until lightly crunchy then simmered to savory perfection with the warm earthy spices so favored in North India. So simple to make and tasty this popular dry sabzi (vegetable) is usually served as an accompaniment to dal and chapattis. 

Whatever the season in South Asia there is always okra. Even during the Monsoon when everything else in the garden has moldered away there's still okra. Therefore okra's pretty much a staple vegetable on the Indian Subcontinent and this is probably the most popular way to serve it. Vegetarian diets can tend to be a bit lacking in textural appeal. Cutting the okra lengthwise and shallow frying it renders it delightfully crisp and chewy.  Certainly quite the contrast to the slimy stews we make out of okra in the West. 

This recipe will only work with fresh okra, frozen will not do for this dish. Be sure to choose small and tender pods as the larger pods can be a bit woody.

1 lb okra, tops and tails removed and sliced lengthwise
1 onion, chopped into about a 1/2 inch dice
1/4 C cooking oil
3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 tsp ginger/ adrak paste
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp Kashmiri mirch
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/2 tsp dry ginger/adrak
Juice of 1 lime/nimbu

Here's what to do:
1) Heat oil in kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet for 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the oil and fry okra until beginning to brown. Remove okra from oil and set aside.

2) In the same oil fry onion until translucent. Add green chilis, garlic and ginger to fried onions, fry for 2 minutes.

3) Add sliced okra, all spices, lime juice, 1 tsp salt,  and 1 TBS water to onion mixture. Stir well and fry until water is almost gone and okra is cooked through.

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:

Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

Mar 23, 2016

Punjabi Dhaba Dum Aloo

Dum means steam and aloo means potato. Dum Aloo is a famous Kashmiri dish - but this is definitely the Punjabi version. Baby potatoes are first pan fried to give them a delicately caramelized coat. Then the potatoes are slowly simmered over low heat until sumptuously tender in a rich and spicy fenugreek laced gravy. This slow simmering technique is the Mughal's beloved dumpukht style. The mild earthy flavor of the potatoes is the perfect foil for the richly spiced yogurt and tomato gravy. 

Indian sloww cooked baby potatoes

I first tasted this dish at a Punjabi style dhaba on a miserably hot road trip. A dhaba is a small family owned type of restaurant you'll see along India's major roadways. I ordered the Kashmiri Dum Aloo on the menu and was served this gem. This Punjabi version of Dum Aloo is similar to the original Kashmiri dish in cooking style. However, Kashmiris certainly would not use the fenugreek/methi nor tomatoes in their version. There's quite a bit of dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi in this recipe, unabashedly so. Perhaps I should have named this dish "Methi Aloo." Somehow the dum technique of slow simmering really brings out the rich mellow maple syrup-like flavor in the dried fenugreek/ methi leaves. The "melt in your mouth" baby potatoes paired with the boldly spiced sauce works beautifully! The dumpukht style slow of simmering is what gives this dish it's unique flavor. Since I don't have the proper pot for dum style cooking (called a handi) I just allow this dish to do it's slow simmering in a covered, deep, heavy bottomed skillet over a low heat for 3 hours. If you have an slow cooker or crock pot this would be an excellent way to replicate dumpukht cooking. Just place the potatoes, masala gravy, and enough water to cover the potatoes by a half inch into the slow cooker and let it cook at the lowest setting for four to five hours or until the potatoes are tender.

12-15 baby potatoes, peeled 
2 TBS cooking oil
2 TBS ghee
1 tsp salt
1C onions, diced finely
2 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
2-3 tsp dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
2 teaspoons lime juice or 1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder
Grind to smooth paste for masala (if you don't have a mixie or food processor just chop the tomatoes finely and mix the ingredints well):
1 C yogurt
1 C tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 TBS ground cumin/jeera
1 TBS garam masala
5 cloves/laung
5 green cardamoms/elaichi
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp flour/maida (this will keep the yogurt from splitting)
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:

1) Peel potatoes and place in water to prevent discoloration. Grind all ingredients listed under masala paste until smooth in a mixie, food processor, or blender. and set aside.

2) Heat oil and ghee with 1 tsp salt in deep, heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai. Fry potatoes until deep golden brown and set aside on plate.

3) In same oil and pan as the potatoes were fried, fry diced onions until just beginning to brown. 

4) Add ground masala paste and cassia bark/dalchini to fried onions. Bring to simmer and saute for 5 minutes. Crumble dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi into fried masala mixture, stir well.  Stir lime juice or mango powder into masala mixture, stir well.

5) Transfer fried potatoes to pan with masala mixture. Make sure potatoes are all covered in masala mixture and are only a single layer deep. If using a crockpot or slow cooker place potatoes in a single layer on the bottom of cooker and pour masala mixture over them.

6) If using pan- add just enough water to pan or cooker so that potatoes and masala mixture are covered by 1 inch. Allow mixture to simmer covered over low heat for 3 to 4 hours or until potatoes are tender. If mixture begins to scorch add 1/4 cup water and reduce heat.
If using crockpot or slow cooker- add just enough water so that potatoes are cover by 1/2 inch of water, cover and allow to cook on the lowest setting for 4-5 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Helpful hints:
I've used baby potatoes as is traditional here but you could certainly use larger baking type potatoes cut into smaller pieces too. Baby potatoes do seem to hold their shape better in dum slow cooking though.

Traditionally the potatoes would be pricked all over with a toothpick or fork before frying to help them absorb the masala flavors. I don't think pricking the potatoes does very much (especially before you fry them) but you certainly may do so if you wish.

If you really want to replicate the dumpukht technique make a paste of 1/4 C flour/maida and 1&1/2 TBS water and use it to seal the lid of your pan or slow cooker airtight.

Pranjal Dhaba on Highway 76 near Allahabad
By Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0,

Feb 25, 2016

Punjabi Dhaba Style Mutton

Indian lamb goat spicy easy curry

Punjabi dhabas are small restaurants you'll see at truck stops, near gas stations, bus stops, and taxi stands across India. After the Partition many Punjabi refugees found work as truck, taxi, and bus drivers. These Punjabi run family restaurants served home style meals to the Punjabi drivers. The decor is usually quite simple and Bollywood tunes or films are often blaring on the radio or television to complete the "homely" ambiance. Dhaba restaurants are now popular with all members of the traveling public along India's burgeoning highway system, not just Punjabi drivers. This is my version of the traditional North Indian mutton curry served at India's famed Punjabi dhabas. This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, or water buffalo stew meat. 

1kg/2lbs mutton/goat, cut into 3 inch pieces, bone in preferred
2 C onions, pureed
2 tsp salt
3 TBS ghee or cooking oil
2 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped coarsely
2 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
2 cassia leaves/tej patta
5 cloves/laung
3 black cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised with mortar and pestle
15 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
Grind until smooth puree for masala-
2 TBS cumin/jeera, ground
1 TBS coriander/dhania, ground
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 C fresh tomatoes, chopped roughly
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind onions to a smooth puree.  Set aside. 

2) Grind all ingredients listed under "masala" to a smooth paste. Set aside.

3) Heat ghee or cooking oil in a pressure cooker, heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai. Fry onion paste with 2 tsp salt until brown over medium heat. This usually takes me about 9-10 minutes.

4) Add garlic, ginger, green chilis, whole spices and cassia leaves/tej patta to fried onion paste. Fry for about 2 minutes.

5) Add mutton pieces to onion and spice mixture. Stir well and fry for 5 minutes.

6) Add ground masala mixture to mutton, onions, and spices. Stir well and bring to a simmer. If using a pressure cooker, seal and let cook for 5 to 6 whistles or until mutton is tender. If using a skillet or kadhai allow to simmer over medium heat until meat is tender adding water if necessary.

7) When the meat is tender and oil has separated from the gravy your dish is ready. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful hints:

This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, or water buffalo stew meat. Adjust cooking times and methods accordingly.


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