Showing posts with label lime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lime. Show all posts

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 9, 2016

Mint & Pomegranate Chutney

Fresh, bright, hot, and tangy this simple to make chutney combines all the brilliant flavors of summer.  Savory mint, sweet pomegranate, hot chilis, zesty lime, and fragrant cilantro are paired with just the right amount of spice making this a bold and refreshing companion to warm weather dishes. This summery sauce is excellent when paired for dipping with samosas, kebabs, tandoori, or any grilled meat such as chicken, beef, lamb, or fish. 

This is my adaption of the award winning Michelin starred Indian chef Vikas Khanna's recipe. I used what I had on hand from my garden and added some oil, chaat masala, and fresh instead of dried pomegranate seeds or anardana. The oil tamed the astringency in the pomegranate, fresh mint, and lime juice a bit giving a smoother "mouth feel." The chaat masala contains kala namak/black salt which gives an umami boost to the chutney that's a bit like garlic but not as rough. The little bit of sugar in this recipe augments the fruity flavor of the pomegranate and enhances the floral notes in the fresh mint. Overall the effect is very Indian in taste but also quite Middle Eastern too. Choose different oils in this recipe to get different effects, olive oil for a more Middle Eastern flavor or peanut oil for a more authentically Indian flair.

1/2 C fresh pomegranate seeds
1/4C onion, chopped roughly
1 tsp sugar 
2 C mint/pudina leaves, fresh, washed & destemmed
1 C cilantro/dhania, chopped roughly
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped roughly
2 tsp lime/nimbu juice
1&1/2 TBS oil of your choice
1 tsp kala namak/black salt (or 1 clove garlc plus 1/2 tsp dry roasted garlic)
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1) Blend or grind all ingredients to a smooth emulsion in mixie, blender, or food processor. You might have to grind this longer than you think to make sure the pomegranate seeds are completely pulverized. Salt to taste and keep in refrigerator in airtight container until ready to serve.

Helpful hints:

If you don't have kala namak/black salt or chaat masala you could use a clove of garlic with a half teaspoonful of dry roasted cumin seeds instead for a similar flavor.

You could also make this with dried pomegranate seeds also known as the spice anardana. Just use one tablespoonful of anardana in place of the half cup of fresh pomegranate seeds called for in the recipe.

This recipe tastes great with different proportions of mint and cilantro, change the ratios to suit your tastes and what you have on hand.

Use whatever oil you wish in this recipe to accentuate the flavors, for example olive oil will give this chutney a more Middle Eastern taste but peanut oil will this recipe an authentically Indian flair.

Mar 21, 2016

Sweet and Sour Mint Chutney

recipe, Indian chutney pudina mint easy Sweet and Sour Mint Chutney mint lime nimbu vegan vegetarian dip sauceI first tasted a chutney similar to this served with samosas at a roadside restaurant on our way to Kathmandu. Quite simple but a brilliant blend of flavors. The little bit of sugar in this chutney really brings out the floral notes in the mint and lime juice. This chutney is not hot at all but it's tangy, floral, and zesty flavor profile perfectly complements spicy fried Indian snacks such as pakoras, samosas, and aloo bhonda. 

I think this chutney would also suit American French fries, jalapeno poppers, and onion rings. Probably anything deep fried would work with this zingy relish. The mint I have in my garden is a peppermint, if you have spearmint or pineapple mint I'm certain the floral aspect would be even more predominant in this recipe. That would be absolutely lovely served with lamb chops or a lamb roast.

1/2 to 3/4 C fresh mint/pudina leaves, washed & destemmed
1 onion, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic/lahsun
1/2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/4 tsp cayenne + 1/4 tsp paprika powder)
1 TBS lime/nimbu juice
1 TBS olive oil or oil of your choice (optional)
2 tsp sugar/chini
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients to smooth paste in mixie, blender or food processor. Salt to taste and serve. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Helpful Hints:
I put a tablespoonful of olive oil in this chutney because I find it really improves what I call the "mouth feel."  This is not something Desis would do. I find it softens the acid tang just a bit while carrying the flavors of the mint, garlic, and onion. You can certainly use any oil you like or omit it entirely.

The head chef at our friendly neighborhood diner here in Nepal is cooking up somethin' good!

Dec 4, 2015

Hari Chatni (Green Chutney)

  • This is a typical savory South Asian fresh chutney. Bright with the fresh flavors of cilantro, chilis, lime and mint this chutney is a delicious accompaniment to a rice or roti based meal. It's a lot like Mexican "salsa verde" and makes a great tortilla dip or burrito topping too.


2 cups fresh cilantro/dhania, roughly chopped
3 -4  green chili peppers (for less heat use 1-2 green chili peppers or omit)
1 small green bell pepper/capsicum, seeded, deveined & roughly chopped
1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
2 TBS lime juice 
1 tsp salt
1/4 C mint/pudina leaves (optional)

  • Heres what to do-

  • 1) Whiz all ingredients in mixie, blender, or food processor to a fine paste. Salt to taste.
  • Looks like it's ready!

    2) Keep in a sealed container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

    Helpful Hints:

    You can vary the ingredients as you wish. If you don't like mint, leave it out. If you don't want much heat, use less green chilis.

    If you find you've made the chutney too hot for your liking add a tablespoon or two of yogurt to bring down the heat.

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