Jul 19, 2007

Channa Masala

This recipe was passed on to me by my cousin Mangala in a chat we were having yesterday. Its a very simple and easy way to make channa masala. People all over the world will know this as chole or channa masala as it is an extremely popular punjabi dish and mostly in places outside India you only get North Indian food in Indian restaurants! (Phew that was a long sentence)

What you need to make Channa masala
  • Channa - 100 gms
  • Onion - 2 small / 1 medium sized
  • Tomato - 2 / Equivalent Tomato Puree
  • Coriander - 4 strands
  • Jeera - 1 tsp
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
  • Garlic - 6 pods
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Salt
  • Oil - 3 tsp
  • Red Chilly powder - 2-3 tsp depending on how hot you like it
  • Channa Masala Powder / Garam Masala Powder (You get this in stores under brands like MTR, MDH, Everest etc. Alternatively I will post about making Garam masala powder at home soon) - 2 tsp

Preparation for making Channa Masala
  • Soak the channa for 12-16 hours before making this dish
  • Pressure cook channa with the turmeric and some salt added
  • Cut onions into small pieces
  • Cut tomatoes also into soft pieces (not required if you use puree ofcourse)
  • Cut coriander into tiny pieces
Method to make Channa Masala
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel pour some oil and allow it to heat. Keep the flame low, I would advice. Add the cumin seeds to this and wait for it to splutter.
  • Add the onions to this and allow this to fry to golden brown. Add ginger and garlic also along with the onions.
  • Once onion is well fried, add the channa masala powder to this as well as red chilly powder. Mix well.
  • Put in the tomato and allow it to cook till tomato softens to the touch. If using puree then cook for sometime till it all blends well.
  • Allow this whole mixture to cool.
  • Once fully cooled put the contents into a mixer/grinder and make it into a fine paste.
  • Take the cooked channa in a heavy bottomed vessel and all the paste to this.
  • Allow it to simmer for a while till channa blends well with the masala paste.
  • Do not forget to add salt if required at this point!
  • Sprinkle the coriander on this and mix in.
My fundas
  • This is best eaten with Puri (fried indian bread).
  • You could also eat this with chapati.
  • Onion rings served with this enhances the whole experience.

Jul 10, 2007

Mixed Vegetable Raita

Raita is an accompaniment to many main course rice dishes. It brings in the soothing effect when eaten with anything spicy. Curd being the main ingredient is the main reason for the soothing effect.

What you need to make Mixed Vegetable Raita
  • Tomatoes - 2
  • Onion - 1
  • Cucumber - 1 big or 2 small
  • Coriander - 2 strands
  • Curd - 2 cups
  • Salt
For seasoning (Optional)
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilly/Green chilly - 1
Preparation for making Mixed Vegetable Raita
  • Wash and cut the vegetables into small pieces.
  • Dont forget to remove the seedy, soft core of the cucumber
Method to make Mixed Vegetable Raita
  • Mix all the vegetables in a vessel.
  • Add Curd and salt to this and mix well
  • Seasoning is optional - Heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and chilly. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter. Once done put this into the raita vessel and mix well.
My fundas
  • If you do not want to season with oil, just put 1/2 tsp of red chilly powder if you want.
  • Chill it in a fridge before serving.

Jul 9, 2007

Vegetable Pulav

Pulav also spelt as Pulao or Pilaf is a fragrant rice dish. This dish is not particular to one region in the world. Seems like it has its origin in the Middle east and may have been popularised in India by people visiting from there. Today it is a common fare dish in Northern India and exceedingly becoming the "something different" special fare dish in Southern India as well. My house has a tradition of Pulav most Sundays because sundays are special requiring a special lunch! My mom is one of the best makers of pulav and she never has to contend with left-overs when she makes it. I have followed her footsteps and recipe and at the risk of sounding immodest, am becoming very good and confident at making Pulav too. Yesterday I made it again for T and family and it was delicious (with only one last minute refer-back to the recipe). One has to remember that dishes which use spices can taste different from one cook to another simply because the spices are all so unique. You add a little more of cinnamon then it tastes different from when you add a little more of the masala flower!

What you need to make Vegetable Pulav

Spices to be used
Please see the spices catalog to get an idea of what each of these look like if you dont already know
  • Cloves - 10
  • Cinnamon - 1 big piece
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 10 pods
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Star Anise (Masala Flower) - 4
  • Maratti Moggu - 4
  • Bay Leaf - 2 or 3
  • Red Chillies - 4 long
  • Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch

Rest of the ingredients

  • Rice - 1 "paav" rice (Paav is a measure we use in South India which is equivalent to approximately 250 gms)
  • Beans - 250 gms
  • Carrot - 250 gms
  • Peas - 250 gms
  • Onion - 2 big
  • Coriander - 5 strands
  • Coconut - 1/2
  • Oil - 12 tsp
  • Salt
  • Water - double the quantity of rice (use same measure)

Preparation for making Vegetable Pulav

  • Wash the beans, carrots and coriander thoroughly
  • Slit the beans lengthwise and then cut them breadhtwise into 1 inch length pieces.
  • Cut the carrots into thin long pieces of 1 inch length
  • Cut the onions into half. Slit each half lengthwise and then make thin slices breadthwise.
  • Grate the coconut. Alternately if you dont want to use coconut then soak 3 tsp of rice for around 15 mins till it becomes soft and breakable.
  • Grind all the spices into a paste along with the coconut/soaked rice.
  • Wash the rice and keep it ready.

Method to make Vegetable Pulav

  • Take a pressure cooker and place it on a lighted stove.
  • Add the oil into this and allow it to heat up.
  • Put the onions in and sautee till it becomes golden brown.
  • Put in the coriander and sautee a bit
  • Now put in the beans, carrots and peas and sautee all this for 5 minutes.
  • It would help to not keep the flame too high.
  • Put in the rice and allow it fry for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the spices paste to this and mix thoroughly.
  • Add in the water at this point.
  • Nows the time to add salt as well.
  • Allow the whole thing to boil for sometime.
  • When it comes to a boil, you can check if the salt is ok and then close the lid of the pressure cooker.
  • Allow it to cook on steam.
  • Aint it easy?

My fundas

  • The bay leaf need not be ground into a paste. You can just put it in as a whole after the spices are added in the cooker. This will give an aromatic smell. But take care not to eat it!
  • This quantity will easily serve 4 people.
  • Reduce the quantity of each spice if you think you cannot handle the spice.
  • Eat pulav hot with cool Raita (which I will give recipe for in the next post)
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