Thursday, September 30, 2010

Punjabi Kadhi - Light & Yummy

Being a south Indian I have always relished the south indian version (about which I will write later). However, when I was in Delhi for my graduation my landlady used to treat me with this special kadhi sometimes. I learnt it from her & make it at home whenever my husband demands. It is the lighter version made without the usual pakodas which are fried & put in it making the kadhi heavy to digest. It is very easy & takes no time to prepare.
  • Sour Curd - 1/2 kg
  • Gramflour (Besan) - 1 cup
  • Onions - 2 medium sized
  • Red Ripe Tomatoes - 2 medium sized
  • Frozen Green Peas - Half Cup
  • Green Chillies - 3
  • Whole Red Chillies - 2 
  • Water - 750 ml
  • Salt - As per taste
  • Oil - 3 tablespoons
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Curry Leaves - 8 to 10
  • Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder (Dhaniya) - 1 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Fennel Powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1 teaspoon
Chop the onions, tomatoes & slit the green chillies lengthwise. Now, take a pan & put 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot put the mustard seeds & cumin seeds & let it splutter. Now, add the whole red chillies after breaking them into pieces. Once they stop sizzling put the onions & green chillies & saute for a while till the onions turn pinkish. Add garam masala, turmeric powder, dhaniya powder, Fennel Powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder (for colour) & the salt. Continue to saute till the masala is cooked & oil leaves towards the sides.Now, add the tomatoes & cover the pan.This entire process needs to be done over medium flame. When you cover the pan the contents will cook faster so there is a possibility of it getting burnt so keep checking. Cook till tomatoes melt & turns into a puree. Blanch the frozen peas & add them now & let it cook. Meanwhile take a bowl & put the curd in it & whip it till the curd is smooth without lumps. Now add the gramflour to this curd & continue to whip. Keep adding water to attain the required pouring consistency. Check the tomatoes now & add the gramflour curd mixture to it & keep stirring till it is completely mixed with the vegetables. Add the curry leaves now. Cover & let it boil. It will start thickening so add more water if required. You do not have to boil it for long. After about 3 minutes you can put off the flame & your punjabi kadhi is ready to be served with hot steamed rice. Enjoy!
1. Curd should be sour otherwise you will not get the desired taste
2. You can add coriander leaves if you do not have curry leaves
3. It is best enjoyed with plain rice

Teekhi Tamatar Ki Chutney

"Incredible!" is what I call it. My entire family gets bowled over whenever I prepare this. It is best to serve it with plain food like Rice, Dal & Vegetables or any paranthas (flat breads).

  • Ripe Red Tomatoes - 6 Nos.
  • Green Chillies - 6 Nos.
  • Garlic - 10 to 15 cloves
  • Coriander Leaves - Handful
  • Whole Red Chillies - 2
  • Mustard oil - few drops
  • Salt - As per taste
Cook the tomatoes one by one directly on the flame. You could use a tawa also however it is best cooked directly over the flame. The tomato skin will blacken & get burnt but you keep turning the tomato with the help of a tong so that all sides are cooked well. When it starts shrinking & getting softer take it off the flame. Likewise cook all the tomatoes. Now in the similar fashion cook the green chillies over the flame. Be careful because if it gets completely burnt then it will lose its taste. Just let it cook till it gets a little soggy.
The same way whole red chillies are to be cooked but it will release strong smell & smoke so please cover your nose & put on your exhaust fan. You only have to heat it to make chilli flakes. Now, use a mortar & pestle to pound the Whole red chillies, garlic & coriander leaves instead of grinding it in a mixer grinder. Remove the skin from the tomatoes & now add the green chillies & tomatoes into the mortar. Continue to pound till you achieve the required consistency. If you see a few lumps of tomatoes & chillies as well as few coriander leaves it is ok. It should not be completely ground else we could have used the mixer grinder isn't it?
Add a 4-5 drops of mustard oil if you like its taste & sprinkle salt as per taste.

1. You need not put any oil if you wish not to
2. The no. of chillies will completely depend on your liking
3. You can use a mixer grinder however the consistency & taste will vary
4. It is best served with plain food to add punch in the taste

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sweet & Tangy Carrot Salad

Winter is nearing. It's time to get fresh & colourful vegetables which is tasty & appealing to our palates. Now, this is a very very simple to make salad which is sweet & tangy & does not consume much time to preapre. The ones who do not like eating raw carrots are going to love this.

  • Carrots (Orange ones) - 4
  • Lemon - 1
  • Green Chilli - 1
  • Whole Red Chilli - 1
  • Curry Leaves - 6 to 8 leaves
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - As per taste
Scrape the carrots & wash them thourougly. Now we need a shredder (kaddu kass) to shred the carrots. Be careful while shredding I often hurt myself so mostly I prefer letting my expert mother do this part.
Now, slit the green chilles mid way & chop them finely. Put the shredded carrots & the chilli together & put a dash of lemon over it. Now sprinkle salt as per taste. Separately heat oil in a ladle & heat it & when it is ready put the mustard seeds & let it splutter. Add the whole red chilli after breaking it in two. Put off the flame & put the curry leaves in the hot oil. Now, pour this on the carrot salad. Your Sweet & Tangy Carrot Salad is ready!

1. Freshly shredded carrots are to be used to retain their sweetness
2. For a variation you could use finely chopped tomatoes in the same recipe
3. No. of green chillies will vary depending on their freshness & taste required by individuals
4. This can be eaten with meals or can be separately eaten in the form of a healthy breakfast

Mom's Magic Kashayam (Magical Herbal Drink)

This one is my favorite. After a hectic schedule at work I come back home with fatigue & hunger pangs. This is the time when most of us treat ourselves to tea/coffee & so do I. However, at least twice a week I stick to my mom's kashayam. Kashayam is a Tamil word. In Hindi we call it Kaadha but I like to call it a magic drink as it relieves me of all the fatigue or any stomach & digestion related problems. It should be consumed by us every week at least 2 -3 times at any time of the day. Preferably in the morning hours.

Let me tell you how to prepare it.

  • Cumin Seeds (Jeera) - 2 teaspoons
  • Peppercorns (Kali Mirch) - 5 pieces
  • Bishop's Weed/Carom Seeds (Ajwain) - 1 teaspoon
  • Black Salt (Kala Namak) - As per taste (optional)
  • Water - 1 litre
  • Basil Leaves (Tulsi) - 10 to 12

Take a deep vessel/pan & roast the cumin seeds, peppercorns & Bishop's Weed on low flame else they will get burnt. Once they have browned & the aroma spreads put the water in it & increase the flame to medium. Put black salt (recommended) or regular salt. Now do not cover the pan & let it boil. When it starts boiling put the cleaned basil leaves in it. Let it continue to boil uncovered for another 3 - 4 mts. Now reduce the flame to low & do all your other chores. You need not do anything more except waiting till it reduces to half its original quantity. After it reduces to approximately 2-3 cups put it off & let it cool. You will see that the colour of the water is brownish green. Strain & separate the spices & leaves & drink it warm.

1. The usage of Salt is optional. I drink it saltless as I enjoy the taste of the spices & fresh basil leaves.
2. In case all these spices are not readily available then you can try variations but do not make this drink with peppercorns alone.
3. If the salt version is disliked by your children then try putting some jaggery in it. Just separately dissolve jaggery on low heat & mix it with the strained drink. You can even boil it for some time.
4. It is best consumed to avoid or decrease - indisgestion, eating disorders, cold & cough, fatigue, weakness.
5. Make it a regular drink at home & try variations to develop the taste of the family members.
6. It improves immunity.

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