Showing posts with label fresh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fresh. Show all posts

Apr 10, 2016

Bihari Green Beans Masala

Bihari Green Beans Masala

The classic combination of green beans and almonds gets the masala treatment in this easy to make side dish. Green beans are simmered until tender in a velvety coconut milk sauce laced with the warmth of traditional North Indian spices. Lavish and rich enough for a posh dinner yet simple enough to make every day, this vegetarian dish fits the bill for any occasion.


I thought I got this recipe from my long lost copy of Julie Sahni's 1980 cookbook Classic Indian Cooking.  A brief perusal of the internet and this recipe turns up in a 2010 article about Julie Sahni in the New York Times. I really must replace my copy of Classic Indian Cooking. The recipes are somewhat westernized in techniques and flavor but easily tweaked to make them more Desi. Over the years I've heavily embellished and adapted Ms. Sahni's original recipe to suit my family's tastes.


Bihar is a region of North India just south of the Nepal border. It is a land of fertile subtropical plains where the river Ganges pours down from the Himalayas into India. I'm not really familiar with Bihari cuisine except to say it is largely vegetarian, uses a lot of besan (chickpea flour), and features smoked chilis for seasoning. The only Bihari food I've had the opportunity to sample was an interesting drink made from besan and a besan stuffed paratha.



Ingredients:
1/2kg/1lb  green beans, tops and tails removed and cut into one inch pieces
3 TBS cooking oil
3/4 C onion, finely diced or ground
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp coriander/dhania ground
2 tsp cumin/jeera. ground
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2 tsp lime/nimbu juice
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves (optional)
9-10 almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
salt as required
Here's what to do:

1) In a kadhai or large heavy bottomed skillet heat oil for 5 minutes. Fry almonds until golden and set aside if using. Add onions to same oil in pan with 1 tsp salt fry until just translucent.  


2) Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, Kashmiri mirch, and turmeric to the fried onions. Allow to fry for 2 minutes.


3) Add coconut milk and green beans to fried onion and spice mixture. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered until to desired tenderness. This usually takes about 10 to 12 minutes.


4) Add lime juice and cilantro leaves to dish if using and stir well. Salt to taste and garnish with almonds if desired.

Our little teepee trellis of green beans.
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 18, 2016

Mughlai Haraa Murgh (Mughal Style Green Chicken)

Mughlai cuisine began in the splendor and opulence of the Delhi Sultanate during India's age of Islamic rule. Persian and Indian flavors were fused to perfection in the Imperial Moghul kitchens. Meats were marinated, nuts and dried fruits were used lavishly. Mughlai cuisine remains immensely popular to this day in Delhi NCR, Punjab, Kashmir, and Pakistan.


This dish is mildly spiced but bright with the flavors of fresh mint and cilantro. Ground browned onions, almonds, and yogurt make for a rich gravy. Whenever you see a "Mughlai" recipe you know it's going to include lots of steps- chopping, marinating, frying, cooling, grinding, more frying, and probably then some. Here I've minimized the steps using a few modern techniques. But this recipe will still take at least a good three to four hours to complete. Pairs well with rice, pulao, naan, or rotis.

Ingredients:
1kg/2lbs chicken, skinless and cut into 8 pieces, bone in preferred
2 onions, about 1 C sliced into thin half moons
3 TBS ghee/clarified butter
1 TBS cooking oil
1/2 C pureed fresh tomatoes
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
5 cloves/laung
3 C water or stock/shorba
2 tsp lime juice
15 blanched almonds/badaami for garnish (optional)
1 tsp kewra water (optional)
Grind to paste for marinade:
30 almonds/badaami, ground to fine powder
1 C yogurt/dahi
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
3 green chilis/hari mirch
5 green cardamoms/elaichi
15 black peppercorns/hari mirch
1 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin/jeera
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/3 C fresh mint/pudina leaves
1/3 C fresh cilantro/dhania leaves and stems
1/4 C onion, chopped roughly
1&1/2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind almonds to fine powder in mixie or food processor. Then blend powdered almonds, yogurt, garlic, ginger, powdered spices, green cardamoms, black peppercorns, green chilis, and salt together in mixie or food processor until smooth for marinade.
The marinade is mixed
2) Coat all chicken pieces with marinade. Allow chicken to marinate for 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator sealed in an airtight container.

All chicken pieces coated in marinade.
Sealed up tight in my Lock'N'Lock box!
3) When ready to cook, heat oil and ghee over medium high heat in a heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai for 5 minutes. Add thinly sliced onions and fry for 8-10 minutes until medium brown. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

This is the medium brown we're looking for.
Be sure to let the onions cool before grinding to paste.
4) Grind cooled browned onions to fine paste in mixie, food processor, or blender. Over medium high heat return ground onion paste to skillet or kadhai with fresh pureed tomatoes. Stir well. Add cloves and cassia bark to onion/tomato mixture and allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes or until most of liquid from tomatoes has evaporated.


5) Add marinated chicken pieces to mixture in skillet/kadhai. Reserve marinade. Cook chicken pieces for 2 minutes on each side. The chicken should just be turning white.


6) Add reserved marinade, 3 C water or stock, and 2 teaspoons of lime juice. Stir well. Bring to a simmer over medium to low heat. Stir every 5 minutes to ensure chicken is cooked evenly and gravy does not stick or scorch.


7) Allow to simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken is cooked through and oil separates from the gravy. Salt to taste, garnish with blanched almonds and sprinkle with kewra water if desired.



Helpful Hints:
Be sure to let the fried onions cool for a full ten minutes before grinding in a mixie, food processor, or blender. Grinding anything hot will cause steam to build up and a geyser of hot greasy onions will either shoot through the small air vent in the lid (or blow the lid off entirely) of your mixie, food processor, or blender. Cleaning up greasy onion spew is no fun. Plus you have to chop and fry the onions over again.

Mar 10, 2016

Tamatar Pappu (Andhra Style Pigeon Peas with Tomatoes)

From the lush coastal region of Andhra comes this simple yet delicious dal recipe. Bordered by the Bay of Bengal, Andhra's cuisine is known for it's bold and spicy flavors. Tomatoes add an extra tang as well as gorgeous color to this dish. Quick to make, this recipe is a one pot meal as the tempering of the spices is done first, then the dal is added. No separate tadka or pan is required.


Easy tomato recipe toor dal pigeon peas

Ingredients:
1 C pigeon peas/toor dal, cleaned & rinsed well
2 TBS cooking oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 C onions, diced finely
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 tsp ginger/adrak paste
1/2 tsp mustard/rai seeds
1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
2 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped
10 -12 curry leaves 
Grind for masala:
1 & 1/2 C tomatoes, choppped roughly
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2c tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne)
1/4 tsp turmeric'haldi
1 tsp salt


Here's what to do:
1) Grind ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste. Set aside.


2) In pressure cooker or medium stock pot heat oil and fry onions with one teaspoon salt until translucent. Add ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves (if using) and fry for 1 minute.


3) Add ground masala paste and chopped green chilis to fried onion mixture. Fry until most of liquid has left mixture and oil separates out, stirring often (this is a technique called "bhuna" in DesiDom, also known as "stir frying" in other cultures.) We want to get the onions and tomatoes to caramelize a bit, so the mixture should darken a little too.


4) Add cleaned and rinsed pigeon peas to fried masala mixture in pot. Add 4 C water. If using pressure cooker, seal and allow to steam for 5-6 whistles or until pigeons peas are to desired tenderness. If using stock pot allow to simmer for 1 to 2 hours or until pigeons peas are to desired tenderness. If your dal is too thin keep simmering uncovered until it is to preferred thickness. If  your dal is too thick just add water until it is to your desired consistency. Remove from heat, salt to taste and serve. 

Helpful Hints:
If your don't have curry leaves try stirring in a handful of chopped cilantro leaves after pigeon peas have cooked, it won't be the same but it will give some of the same brightness to the flavor.

Classical dancers from Andhra performing in the style of Kuchipudi.

Mar 3, 2016

Kashmiri Ghanduh Maaz (Mutton with Onions)

mutton curry lamb onions kashmiri indian Kashmiri Indian easy recipe

In Kashmiri "ghanduh" means onion and "maaz" means mutton. This hearty homestyle dish is commonly served in Kashmir and has a rich, spicy broth much like a stew. So easy to make for a delicious Fall or Winter meal, serve with steamed rice, pulao, rotis, or a simple loaf of crusty bread. This recipe also works well with lamb or beef stew meat.

Mutton is a daily staple in a Kashmiri household, chicken and fish are almost considered vegetables. You have not properly eaten in Kashmir unless your meal contains some form of mutton. It is considered the utmost in Kashmiri hospitality to serve a guest as much mutton as possible. (Even if they are vegetarian.) This recipe also works well with lamb or beef stew meat.

Ingredients:
1 kg/2lbs mutton/goat or lamb, cut into 3 inch pieces, bone in preferred
3 TBS cooking oil, (mustard oil if you wish to be authentic)
2 tsp salt
2 C onions, sliced into wedges
1/2 C tomatoes/tamatar, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 TBS coriander/dhania, ground
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne)
1/2 tsp dry ginger/adrak
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
5 cloves/laung
7 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised with mortar & pestle
2 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini
1&1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
15 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
1 cassia leaf/tej patta or 2 small ones

Here's what to do:
1) In a pressure cooker or deep, heavy bottomed skillet or stock pot heat oil with 2 tsp salt for 5 minutes. Add mutton pieces and fry until beginning to brown. Depending on how fresh your mutton is, or whether you're using lamb or beef, this may take 10 to 15 minutes.

This is the brown we're looking for.
The Kashmiris call this "red."
2) Add onions and tomatoes. Stir well and continue cooking until onions are translucent and tomatoes have softened, about 5-7 minutes. (This is not a browned onion dish.)


3) Add 1/2 C water, garlic paste, ginger paste, whole spices, powdered spices, and cassia leaves/tej patta. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.


4) Add 3 cups water or at least enough so there is water covering the meat mixture if using pressure cooker. Seal up pressure cooker & continue cooking for 5-6 whistles or until meat is to desired tenderness. If using deep skillet or stock pot add enough water so that meat mixture is covered by at least 3 inches. Simmer without lid until meat is of desired tenderness, adding water if necessary. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:
If you are married to a Kashmiri do not ever be a dumb "nabrim" (outsider) and serve your Kashmiri in laws chicken or fish without at least one mutton dish at a meal. I'm still not hearing the end of it. Who knew?

Mutton? NAH!!!

Mar 1, 2016

Tamatar Dhania Chatni (Tomato and Cilantro Chutney)

Tamatar Dhania Chatni Tomato and Cilantro Chutney

Ever the iconoclast, Bibi whizzed the ingredients of her favorite Mexican salsa through the mixie. "Et voila!" she had a delicious chutney! Yes, it tastes every bit as good with tortilla chips and atop tostadas as it does with rice and chapattis. A brilliant "fusion" dish you say? Nah, just a classic, piquant, combination of fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables that always reminds me of summertime in my native California. You simply can't improve on that. It's also fat free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, halal, gluten free, and probably some other hip things I don't even know about. But most importantly, it is "que delicioso!"

Tamatar Dhania Chatni Tomato and Cilantro Chutney

Ingredients:
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 C cilantro/dhania, roughly chopped
4 green chilis/hari mirch
4 garlic cloves/lahsun
1/4 C onion, roughly chopped
1 TBS lime juice
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Place all ingredients in mixie, food processor, or blender and grind until smooth. Salt to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Tamatar Dhania Chatni Tomato and Cilantro Chutney
The mighty mixie mixes chutney!
Helpful Hints:
Feel free to adjust the proportions of the ingredients to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. This recipe is practically "un-screw-uppable," within reason of course.
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