Showing posts with label protein. Show all posts
Showing posts with label protein. Show all posts

Dec 12, 2016

Sindhi Style Chole (Curried Chickpeas)

Sindh is a province in Pakistan and chole means chickpeas or garbanzo beans. In this hearty vegan recipe chickpeas are cooked until tender in a richly spiced and savory gravy. Spicy but not hot- this dish gets it’s flavors from aromatic spices such as cumin, cloves, black pepper, and brown cardamoms. Serve over toasted bread in the traditional Sindhi manner or with rice and rotis for a delicious vegetarian meal.

This is my absolute favorite recipe for chickpeas. I’ve seen this recipe all over the internet unattributed for many years now. It’s a bit different than other chickpea curry recipes in that the whole spices (brown cardamoms, cloves, cassia leaves, black peppercorns, and cumin seeds) are boiled with the chickpeas rather than fried with the gravy. This allows the mellowed warmth of the spices permeate the dish. If you love spices but not the fiery heat of chilis then this is the dish for you. On a recent trip through Delhi I picked up Camellia Panjabi’s much lauded cookbook, 50 Greatest Curries of India. Lo and behold, this recipe was right in the middle of the book!

This cookbook definitely deserves all the praise it’s gotten since it’s original printing in 2006. Please note the glowing endorsement of one of my favorite television chefs, Nigel Slater, in the lower right corner of the cover. As Mr Slater states, this book will delight, educate and inspire anyone who longs to make authentic curries at home. It is certainly a great book for beginners with brief and concise overviews on common Indian cooking techniques and ingredients utilized. The recipes could have been a bit better written (sometimes things on the ingredient list get left out in the instructions), but overall it’s a wonderful collection of authentic recipes from families all over India. (And one from Pakistan?) So with a bit of Bibi-fication here’s my adaptation of Camellia Panjabi’s recipe for "Chickpea Curry from Sindh." According to Ms Panjabi the Sindhi eat this dish over slices of bread for a delightful twist on classic ‘beans on toast.’ Sounds great to me! Like the Punjabis the Sindhi love a bit of a sour tang in their chickpeas from mango powder/amchur. The Kashmiri contingency in my household does not care for the sweetness of mango powder/amchur so I’ve substituted a zingy pinch of dry ginger powder/saunth for it with excellent results. So, whether you enjoy these chickpeas over toast, alone as a soup, or with steamed rice and rotis - you’re in for a delicious vegetarian treat!

1&1/2 C dried chickpeas/chole, rinsed and soaked for at least 3 hours, (or two 14oz cans of chickpeas, drained)
1 onion, diced finely
3 black cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
7 cloves/laung
2 cassia leaves/tej patta (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon/dalchini)
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
12 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing (optiional)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 tsp salt
4 C water
For masala gravy:
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
2 onions, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun
1 TBS ginger/adrak
1 C tomatoes, diced finely or pureed
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander/dhania
1/2 tsp dry ginger/saunth or mango powder 

Here's what to do:
1) In a pressure cooker or a large heavy bottomed stock pot combine soaked or canned chickpeas with 4 cups water, one diced onion, black cardamoms, cloves, cassia leaves or ground cinnamon, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, hing (if using), turmeric, and one teaspoonful salt. If using soaked chickpeas steam in a pressure cooker for 5-6 whistles or bring mixture to a boil in stock pot for 50 minutes. If using canned chickpeas bring mixture to a simmer in stock pot for 20 minutes or if using pressure cooker steam for 3 whistles. 

2) While chickpeas are cooking we'll make the masala gravy.  Heat 3 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee in a kadhai or medium skillet. Fry 2 diced onions until just beginning to brown in pan.


3) Add ginger and garlic pastes to fried onions and cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add diced or pureed tomatoes, garam masala, and ground coriander to fried onion mixture. Fry for 5 minutes or until the oil separates from the mixture. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 C water, stir well and reduce heat. Set masala gravy aside until chickpeas are done.

4) When chickpeas have been cooked until just tender add the fried masala gravy and dry ginger/saunth or mango powder/amchur to them, stir well, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While the mixture simmers use a wooden spoon to mash a few of the chickpeas against the side of the pot for a gravy thicker if desired.

5) When liquid has reduced to a thick gravy and chickpeas are completely tender your dish is done. Salt to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro and/or chopped fresh chilis if desired. Serve over toast or with rice, rotis, and a few chutneys for a hearty meal.

Helpful hints:
Canned chickpeas tend to be underdone. The extra simmering as in this recipe renders them soft and deliciously.

Jun 16, 2016

Puhtzah Ghanduh Tool (Kashmiri Green Onions and Eggs)

In Kashmir, "putzah ghanduh" means green onions and "tool" means eggs. In this recipe mild spring onions are braised until succulent with tender bits of egg omelet and a wallop of fiery Kashmiri mirch. The result is a deliciously Kashmiri rendition of the humble egg omelet in a richly savory and spicy manner. Traditionally this dish is served for lunch or dinner with heaps of steamed white rice. 

This is one of my husband's signature dishes so he will be doing the cooking today. (Most Indian men are very good cooks.) This is also the last of the spring onions until Fall so I'm posting this now. It's an easy dish to make with the simplest of ingredients but it's really hard describe the process of making it. Therefore I'm letting pictures do most of the talking!

The only similar dish I can think of that Westerners would be familiar with is "egg foo yung." Although this is definitely a uniquely Kashmiri dish the bits of omelet in a savory sauce are very Chinese in flavor to me. Once again pairing eggs with rice seems a bit odd to me but it works perfectly with all that eggy richness contrasting with fiery red Kashmiri mirch sauce and the pungent yet mild spring onions. Despite the heat from all the Kashmiri mirch this dish has been a hit with every guest we've who has eaten at our home! 

1/2kg or 1lb green onions
3 TBS cooking oil
3 eggs
3 TBS Kashmiri mirch (no substituting here)
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1) Clean green onions thoroughly. With the low sanitation and sandy soil we have here in Nepal this requires a 20 minute soak in salted water.

2) Quarter and slice green onions into two inch strips. Rinse the strips in fresh water twice and set aside.

3) Heat oil in heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai for 7 minutes. While oil is heating beat one egg with two teaspoons of Kashmiri mirch, try to make sure there are no lumps.

4) Fry egg and Kashmiri mirch mixture in heated oil. Try to make a thin omelet by spreading the mixture with a spatula.

5) Flip the omelet over and fry until thoroughly cooked. 

6) Repeat this process with the other two eggs and set the mini omelets aside.

7) Place washed and sliced green onions into hot oil in same pan with two teaspoons salt. Stir and allow to simmer for five minutes. The onions will soften and release fluid. 

8) Add one heaping tablespoonful of Kashmiri mirch plus one teaspoon turmeric to simmering onions. Stir well and allow to cook for three minutes.

9) Tear the mini omelets into one inch pieces and add to onion mixture in pan.

10) Add two cups of water to omelet and onion mixture. Stir gently and bring to a simmer. 

11) Allow mixture to simmer until liquid has reduced to about a half inch in pan. Onions should be tender and sauce will thicken a bit. Salt to taste and serve with heaps of steamed rice.

Helpful Hints:
Use the best quality Kashmiri mirch you can find as that's the big flavor component in this dish.

Ramadan blessings to you and your family,

May 18, 2016

Rasedar Rajma (Curried Pinto or Kidney Beans)

"Rasedar" means juicy or saucy and "rajma" means kidney or pinto beans. In this dish simple beans get the masala treatment! Simmered in a savory sauce redolent with traditional Indian spices these beans are spicy but mild in heat. A piquant dash of ajwain and cilantro are the final touches in this protein rich vegetarian recipe that pairs well with rice and rotis or can even be served with saltines like a bowl of American chili.

This delicious recipe is embellished upon and adapted from Neelam Batra's 1998 cookbook The Indian Vegetarian: Simple Recipes for Today's Kitchen. Ms. Batra's book has some great recipes but it is rather meandering in it's instructions and has no photos. I think the lack of photos and poorly written directions kept this book from being as successful as it should have been. So I rewrote this entire recipe, changed a few ingredients, and simplified the steps a bit. As I have written this recipe it should take about thirty minutes to prepare if using canned beans, an hour if cooking dried beans. (If my recipes are unclear in any way please leave me a note in the comments! I want to publish a cookbook of the recipes on my blog for friends and family at the end of the year that will be easily understandable by both novice chefs and experienced cooks alike.)

My family really likes this way of serving rajma, it's a nice change from the usually cumin heavy recipes for curried beans. The dish is spicy but not hot and the ajwain adds a interesting and very uniquely Desi accent to the flavors. If you don't have ajwain a bit of thyme is a good substitute, if you don't have or don't like thyme a pinch of whole cumin seeds will do. You can also make this dish as thick or thin as you like by varying the cooking times. Remember that traditionally thicker curries are served with rotis and flatbreads while soupier curries are preferred when serving with rice.

2 C dried kidney or pinto beans, or two 15 oz cans of kidney or pinto beans
3 TBS cooking oil
3/4 C onion, diced finely
1 tsp salt
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds, bruised with mortar and pestle or dried thyme
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves (optional)
Grind to smooth paste or chop finely and mix for masala:
2 C tomatoes, chopped finely
1/4 C yogurt/dahi
2 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds/methi
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Rinse and cook beans with 6C water and 1 tsp salt in stock pot or with 3C in pressure cooker until tender. Leave beans in their cooking liquid while you cook the masala sauce. If using canned beans skip to step 2.

2) Grind or chop finely and mix all ingredients listed under masala until smooth. Set aside.

3) In a heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai heat oil with 1 tsp salt and fry diced onions until just beginning to brown. Add garlic and ginger pastes and fry for 2 minutes.

4) Add mixed masala paste from step 2 and bruised ajwain seeds to fried onion, garlic, and ginger mixture. Stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until oil separates from mixture.

5) Drain 2 cups of liquid from the cooked beans. Stir 1 cup of the cooked bean liquid into the fried masala mixture. Add masala sauce and the reserved cup of cooking liquid from to cooked beans. Bring to simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened to desired consistency. Salt to taste, stir through chopped cilantro if using and serve.

Helpful hints:
If you don't have ajwain a bit of thyme is a good substitute.  If you don't have or don't like thyme a pinch of whole cumin seeds will do.

You can certainly make this dish as thick or thin as you like by varying the cooking times. Remember that traditionally thicker curries are served with rotis and flatbreads while soupier curries are preferred when serving with rice.

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.

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.


Feb 23, 2016

Curried Peas & Mushrooms

peas mattar mushrooms curry Indian easy tomatoes veg vegetarian  vegan recipe, protein, entree

Here's an old favorite often seen on Indian restaurant menus. Tender green peas and savory succulent mushrooms are combined in a rich spicy sauce in this well known dish. We'll take a shortcut by using premade Kitchen King masala to give this vegetarian curry it's spicy punch. It's as easy to make as it is to eat! (If you don't have Kitchen King masala just look under "Helpul Hints" at the end of this recipe for a good substitute.)

3 C mushrooms, caps cut into quarters
1 C green peas/mattar fresh or frozen
3 TBS ghee or cooking oil
1 C onion, finely sliced into half moons
1 TBS garlic/lahsun past
1 TBS ginger/adrak
1&1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1/2 C water or stock/shorba
Grind to smooth paste for masala gravy:
1 C yogurt/dahi
1/2 C onion, chopped roughly
2 tomatoes, chopped roughly
2 tsp Kitchen King masala (If you don't Kitchen King masala look below under "Helpful Hints" for a good substitute)
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania seeds
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients listed under masala sauce to smooth paste in mixie, food processor, or blender. Set aside.

2) In pressure cooker, heavy bottomed deep skillet, or kadhai heat oil for 5 minutes. Fry onions in heated oil until just beginning to brown. Add cumin seeds, ginger and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes or until raw smell of garlic is gone.

3) Add ground masala paste from step 1, mushrooms, 1/2 C water or stock, and peas to fried onions and cumin seeds in pan. Stir well.

4) Seal pressure cooker and allow to steam for 3 whistles, then remove from heat. If using skillet or kadhai simmer over medium heat uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and gravy is to desired consistency. Stir frequently, if mixture begins to stick or scorch before mushrooms are done add 1/2 C water, reduce heat, and continue cooking.

See how the oil has separated from the gravy? That's how you know the masala is properly cooked.  Now we just need to simmer some of the excess liquid away.
5) Open pressure cooker after it has cooled, mixture may be a bit soupy. (Mushrooms release a lot of water when cooked.) Simmer over medium heat until gravy is to desired consistency. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:
If you don't have Kitchen King masala a good substitute is -  1/2tsp cayenne + 1/2tsp paprika + 1tsp cumin + 1tsp coriander + + 1/2 tsp fennel + 1/4tsp ground fenugreek +1/4tsp mace + 1/8tsp nutmeg 

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