Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rajma - Red Kidney Bean - Indian Curry

This is one dish i can make n' make it well even in my sleep. I have made this a countless number of times as my husband loves it. Infact i made this for him even before we got married n' i'm sure one of the major reason for us being married today is my rajma curry....;)

So here we go.....

Rajma: 1 1/2cups (soaked overnight or at least for 6-7hrs)
Water: 6-7 cups (at least)
Onion: 2 nos (medium)- (finely Chopped)
Ginger Garlic Paste: 1 1/2tsp (preferably fresh) (if u are using ready made i guess 1 tsp will do)
Tomato- 1-2nos (Chopped)- puree it if you like... might taste better...
Cream/ Curd: 1 tbsp (optional)
Salt- as per taste
Oil: 3-4tbsp (the recipe book i had consulted 4yrs ago said some 6tbsp)
Coriander/Cilantro Leaves & Green Chili: for garnishing
Chili Powder: 3/4tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4tsp
Coriander Powder: 2 tsp
Garam Masala: 1tsp
Amchoor: 1/4tsp (optional) but adding it brings a great flavour
Black Pepper Corns: 4-5nos
Cardamom: 2nos
Bay Leaf: a small piece
Cinnamon: 1 small piece
Cumin Seeds: 1/2 tsp


Step 1: Pressure cook the soaked rajma for 30mins on low fire. I cook it with salt as i think it tastes better this way.

Step 2: Grind fresh garam masala (preferably by hand in a mortar and pestle). Add oil into a hot wok and add this ground garam masala once the oil is hot.

Step 3: Add chopped onion and the ginger garlic paste. Fry it well so that the raw taste won't remain.

Step 4: Add all the masala powder to this. Add a little water from the water in the cooked rajma. If you are cooking the rajma and making this gravy at the same time then this won't be possible, if so then add just a little plain water. Cook it till oil separates.

Step 5: Add chopped/ puree tomatoes. Fry it till its really soft and squash the pieces if any with a spoon.

Step 6: If you are adding cream or curd...add it now. The color of the gravy will turn a light brown at this point. Stir it for a min or so n' it will turn back into the dark brown color.

Step 7: I add some cooked rajma to this gravy at this point n' mash it up together to get a thick paste. Ok...this step can be avoided too...but somehow i like doing this. ;)

Step 8: Add only the beans to the gravy and cook for a while, stirring to get the flavour on the rajma. Add the extra water from the cooker and leave it covered for 10mins of so. Add enough water to form a thick gravy (keeping in mind that it will thicken once it cools).
This is ready to serve with some garnish. It tastes really good with Indian Chapatti and plain rice and i almost always serve it with an easy cucumber salad. My husband is does not eat most of the veggies everyone likes (if cooked), but if given as a salad (those that can be used for a salad) he will finish the whole thing without any problems. ;) I also use the same ingredients and follow the same steps to make Lobia (Black Eyed Peas- Indian Curry).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Guacamole- The Chunky Avocado Dip

I'm ashamed to say that i would have never tried this amazing Spanish dip, had it not been for my Brazilian friend in office. She had made some at home and got some for us to office. She had got some tortilla chips too....n' i loved it.
Avocados are also called butter fruit back home....something i refused to eat (like most things!) till i reached Bangalore. There i had a pregnant colleague and she used to have Avocado Milkshakes everyday. All the health talks of the good cholesterol in it n' all convinced me to try it too...n' i fell in love. Oh i can have it any day anytime...i convinced Robin to try it and he disliked the creamy feel n' taste...;)

Well now you know my reservations about trying the guacamole recipe at home....anyways...i went ahead with my plan last night. I served this with some spicy grilled chicken. So here we go...


Avocado : 1no (ripe)

Onion: 1/2 (finely chopped)

Green Chili: 1no (chopped)- avoid this if you don't want it even lightly spicy

Cilantro Leaves: 1tbsp (finely chopped)

Mint Leaves: 3-4nos (finely chopped) - (the authentic recipe does not ask you to add this...adding this brings a freshness i love... so this is completely optional.)

Lime/Lemon Juice: 1 1/2 tsp

Salt: as per taste


Step 1: Cut the avocado in half n' then cut both the pieces into 2 again. This will help you remove the seed and to peel the skin.

Step 2: Cut the peeled avocado into smaller pieces (cubes). Mash it using a fork. Add chopped onion, cilantro, green chili, mint, lemon juice and salt and mash some more.

This is ready, cover (to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it) and refrigerate before serving.

The measurements given here is enough for 2 people but if you are cooking for more people, please increase the measurements accordingly. My friend had added chopped tomato as well. I didn't use it this time, but i read that if you are using it then you should add this to the mixture only while serving it or just before. Robin ate it as well and he didn't guess the main ingredient n' i refused to tell him now that he liked it a lot. ;) The grilled chicken recipe is borrowed and you can find it here in my friend's blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coconut Pudding with Mangoes and Lychees

I made this pudding a while back, one of the main reasons for even searching for something like this was i had some ripe mangoes and fresh lychees with me. I also realised that i have some coconut milk left over from the chicken stew i made recently..and knowing Robin doesn't like coconut flavour so much i still had to try this one...;)


Coconut Milk: 400ml
Milk: 410ml
Caster Sugar: 5 tbsp
Hot Water: 2 tbsp
Gelatine: 3 tsp
Lime: 1 no.
Orange: 1 no.
Ripe Mangoes: 2 nos
Lychees: 10 nos
Apricots: 5-6 nos- sliced (optional)
Caster Sugar: 2 tsp


Step 1: Heat Coconut Milk , Milk and Sugar (5 tbsp) in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occassionaly for 5mins, until the sugar dissolves.

Step 2: Add the hot water to the Gelatine, stirring continuously until it dissolves.

Step 3: Add the above to a Coconut Milk mixture and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a container. Cover and place it in the fridge for 6hrs to set.

Step 4: You need to do the following steps roughly 10-15mins before serving. Use a zester to remove the rind from the lime (thin strips). Juice the Lime and Orange into a medium bowl.

Step 5: Add sliced mangoes, apricots, lychees, lime rind and sugar (2 tsp) to the citrus juice and combine. Set it aside for 5mins for the flavours to develop.

Step 6: Scoop the coconut pudding into bowls and serve immediately with the fruits.

Pasta with No Sauce

Trust me i could not come up with a better name. I have been having a really busy week and plus i'm on some diet plan i'm not following.

I swear the more i think about being on a diet, the more i want to eat. I'm constantly thinking about's driving me nuts. Plus i can never sit through a movie without eating something...Robin hates it....he on the other hand doesn't eat or drink anything while watching a movie or boring is that?

Anyway, before going home for lunch, i was already hungry like crazy. We had Cheru Payarthoran (Moong Dal) at home. I personally love having it with pickle n' Kanji. But my man isn't too keen on this...n' he likes eating it with Chapatti. I also like it now, considering it has less fat packed in this option.

I wasn't sure what i wanted to eat, but i was in no mood for what was ready at home. I have never used tomato sauce in my pasta n' have always made white sauce at home. But truth be told it doesn't come out the way i dream my pasta to be. The exotic sauces n' cheese that all the recipes online require wasn't there with me either. I quickly stopped at a shop on the way n' got an Italian Tomato Sauce meant for Pasta....which i didn't add! ;) I wasn't even sure of what i'm making till i finished making it...;)...anyways here we go...

Pasta: 250gms
Butter: 2tbsp ;)
Onion: Chopped into small pieces
Garlic: 3-4nos (crushed)
Mushroom: 200gms (sliced)
Maggi Chicken Stock cube- 1
Hot water: 1/2 ltr
Corn flour: 1-2 tsp (diluted)
Eggs- 2 nos (scrambled)
Oregano: a pinch for garnishing
Chili Flakes: for garnishing
Fresh Peppercorn crushed- a pinch or 2
Salt - to taste ( i used salted butter n' the chicken stock already had some)


Step 1: Cook pasta in hot water till tender and set it aside. (i add salt n' oil in this stage, i have read this is not the authentic way to do it...but this works for me)

Step 2: In a hot pan add butter, crushed garlic and onion. Once the onion has softened add sliced mushrooms and cook till lightly tender.

Step 3: Add the chicken stock cube to the boiled water to make the stock.

Step 4: Add the chicken stock and corn flour to the mushrooms. (if you find the level of gravy to be more than decent it's ok. Once it thickens slightly, add oregano and pepper powder.

Step 5: Add the cooked pasta to this. The extra gravy will be required as we are not using any other paste. Add some more salt if required.

This is ready to serve, sprinkle some chili powder and grated cheese before serving. I used scrambled eggs instead of cheese (hehe) for lunch. The left over for dinner i served it with some cherry tomatoes and fried Beef Salami. This dish came out so much better than i expected. I guess it just goes on to prove pasta is something you can do anything with...;)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Healthy Maggie Noodles & Chili Mushroom with a Dash of Honey

Yup, i have the nerve to call this Maggie Noodle dish a healthy recipe. ;)... I never use their taste maker and avoid using ajinomoto in my cooking....Also, i just love chinese food or should i say 'the indian version' of the chinese food...:)

Anyways, i do use chinese noodles once in a while or even rice noodles and follow the same recipe. But this time i decided to use this favoured brand. Just before we left india Nestle had launched a Shahi Puloa flavoured Maggie and i used to just love it....i can't find it anywhere in Bahrain. Anyways getting back....i like to make this recipe without beef or chicken strips but i guess one can add it if you want. So here we go...



Noodles : 2 or 3 packets
Water: more than the instructions given
Oil: 1 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp

Spring Onion: 1 stem
Red Capsicum: 1 (cut long)
Green Capsicum: 1 (cut long)
Onion: 1 (juliened)
Garlic: 2-3nos (chopped)Green Chili- 2nos
Oyster Sauce- 1tsp
Soya Sauce- 1tsp
Schezwan Sauce- 1/2tsp (optional)
(Adding Carrots, Beans and Sprouts is optional)

Step 1: Boil water, as soon as it’s boiled, add oil and salt and to this. Add the dry noodles. Turn off the fire and check the noodles to see if its cooked. As soon as its soft strain it and keep it aside. (this will ensure that we don't end up with lumps!)

Step 2: Heat the oil and add the chopped garlic and the spring onion. This is will change the aroma of the oil and will smell really nice.

Step 3: Add the onion and green chili to this.

Step 4: As soon as the onion is cooked, add the red and green capsicum to this (any other veggies or meat pieces if you are using can be added at this stage). You might need to change the proportion of oil according to the amount of extras used.

Step 5: Add all the sauces to this. Ensure it’s not cooked till the veggies soften too much. It's best if it’s still a little crunchy. Add more salt if required, keeping in mind that the noodles already has salt.

Step 6: Add the cooked noodles to this, toss it to mix it well.

Even though it has enough sauces i don't like eating it without any curry ;) here's my simple and easy Chili Mushroom...

I have always disliked adding batter (as is a practice in some chinese dishes) to the mushroom before using them and i never do it....


Mushrooms- 2pkts (250 gms each)- chopped
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece (finely chopped)
Garlic- 3nos (finely chopped)
Dry Red Chili- 3-4nos (chopped)
Onion- 1 (chopped)
Soya Sauce- 1 tsp
Oyster Sauce- 1 tsp
Schezwan Sauce- 1/2 tsp
Tomato Ketchup- 1 1/2 tsp (adding this will give good color and helps if the dish has turned out to be too spicy)
Fresh Black Pepper- Ground- 1/2 tsp
Salt- as per taste
Oil or Butter- 1tbsp
Honey- 1 tbsp

Step 1: Heat oil/butter in a wok and add chopped garlic ginger and red chili.

Step 2: Add chopped onion. Fry till lightly brown.

Step 3: Add all the sauces and salt except the tomato ketchup.

Step 4: Add chopped mushrooms. Let it cook a while as the moisture from the mushroom will create a light gravy while it cooks.

Step 5: Let the mushrooms soften and keep tasting to check how spicy it is before adding the pepper powder. Add as required.

Step 6: Add the tomato ketchup to this. By now it should have a thick gravy. Drizzle the honey on top and its ready.

At the end of all this last night i was feeling so good...i mixed up some fresh apricots, fresh cherries, Cream and Chocolate cake and made something...yet to decide what i should call it...;)

Egg Masala (Dry)

I'm not sure what the actual name of this recipe is, but my mom and a lot of people in Kerala has been making this since ages. We call it "ulli motta" at home ;)....but i guess it's safe to call it Egg Masala (Dry). I have had many varieties of this, with Puttu, Appam, Idiappam n' Kerala Parotta, which will mostly be with gravy.... but the one i make at home is my favourite. The big plus factor is its easy to make and RJ likes it a lot too...So here we go...

Boiled Eggs: 2nos
Onion: 2nos (juliened)
Chili Powder: 1/4th tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 th tsp
Chicken Masala: 1 tbsp
Pepper Powder: 1/2 tsp (you need to add this to get the right color, but if it sounds too spicy reduce the amout here and avoid the chili powder)
Salt : as per taste
Curry Leaves
Mustard Seeds
Oil- 2 tbsp (reduce the amount if its too much or if you are using a non stick wok)

Step 1: In a wok ( i use my iron wok for this) heat oil and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once it splutters, add the onion and fry it (it should look light brown n' glazed).
Step 2: Add chili powder, turmeric powder, chicken masala and salt. Let the masala cook till the raw taste is gone.

Step 3: Add the pepper powder and salt at this stage. The curry will darken!

Step 4: Slice the boilded eggs into two and add it to the Masala. Let it stay on the fire for a minute or so and keep the eggs covered with this the masala.
I don't like having just Dal and Chapati, so i love to make this whenever i make Dal. Since i cook for just 2, the measurements here might seem a little less for you. If it does, just proportionately increase the measurements.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Betty a blessing

I had never baked a cake... ever...and i remember how i used to sit with my grandmother while she prepares everything for the cake and i used to sit there waiting to get the bowl to lick the last bit...;)....i loved it....and i would say oh it smells so good and she will immediately scold me saying i shouldn't make any comments while its being made and doing so will get bad results...Well irrespective of hers always turning out to be the best, she used to scold me every time i said that...;)....i think grand parents are the best, i have found such unconditional love in them. Maybe my relationship with my grandparents is what makes me feel at home with older people.

Now i'm digressing again, the point is i made my first cake last month and i took the easy way out...i used a Betty Crocker came out so soft...i got half of it to the office... my friends at work enjoyed it almost as much as my husband did… ;) and some told me that their Mix doesn't turn out to be this nice....made me feel so proficient! (Could’ve been beginner’s luck!!)

I decided to get a little adventurous the next time around and tried the Chocolate Swirl Cake. This turned out to have a step or 2 more than the Dark Chocolate Cake Mix, but comes out as nice. The best part is the kitchen smells divine afterwards and it is all ready in 45mins (including a hands on time of 15mins.) ;)
That reminds me to thank my Moulinex Hand Mixer. It's so easy to use and clean. This has to be my best impulse buy to date. So if you are like me hesitating to start your baking…this is the way to go…try it…I have seen these mix even in Bangalore, but hadn’t tried it there coz I didn’t have an oven feature on my microwave. But now there is no stopping me. ;)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Urulaikizhangu Ulathiyathu/ Aloo Sabji (Kerala Style)

I have always liked potatoes and this is one of my favourite ways of eating it. I know this is an extremely simple recipe and might make some wonder why i even bothered to post it here. But then again this is meant for those who haven't tried it yet.

Urulaikizhangu Olathiyathu/ Aloo Sabji (Kerala Style)

Potato- 3 nos (medium size)- Sliced like french fries only not as long.
Garlic- 2 nos (crushed)
Chili Powder- 1 tsp ( less if you don't like spicy food)
Turmeric Powder- 1/4th tsp
Salt- to taste
Water- 3/4 cup ( as little as possible)
Oil- 2- 3 tsp
Curry Leaves
Mustard Seeds

Step 1: In a pan boil Potato, crushed garlic, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Please ensure that the water level is covering just 3/4th of the potato.

Step 2: Toss this once or twice while cooking it (time required won't be more than 10- 15mins.) The water needs to dry out completely. Setting it aside to cool down after is very important as the potato will not be able to retain its shape otherwise.

Step 3: In a deep wok, do a tadka of oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the above potato and let is cook until slightly fried.

It's really easy to make and tastes great when served with plain rice and kachiya mooru/ yellow mooru. Kachiya Mooru is very similar to the northindian Kadi. Yet another easy dish.

Semiya Payasam/ Vermicelli Kheer

I have always favoured this payasam over the others. My husband who was dead set against it until i started making them at home now literally licks his bowl clean. ;)


Vermicelli- 1 Cup
Milk- 2 cups (first portion)
Water- 1 cup
Sugar- 1/2 a cup
Milk- 1 cup (warm- 2nd portion)
Cardamom- 4-5nos (crushed)
Ghee- 2 tsp
Cashew Nuts- 10-15nos (cut into small pieces)
Raisins- 10nos

Step 1: Add ghee into a hot pan. Lightly fry the cashew nuts and the raisins. Set them aside.

Step 2: Fry the vermicelli until light golden brown in the ghee left.

Step 3: Add the 1st portion of milk and water to this and stir occasionally and let it boil for 10-15 mins until it thickens well. (the vermicelli needs to be cooked just right for the dish to turn out right). In the mean time add the sugar.

Step 4: Add the warm milk (2nd portion) and the powdered cardamom. Leave it to boil a while. Thicken it to the desired consistency. Keeping in mind that this will thicken further once it cools down. Keep it aside to cool.

Step 5: Add cashew and raisins just before serving instead of adding them during or immediately after step 4. This will retain their crispness. (my husband doesn’t like cashews or raisins in his so this step helps me get some in mine and none in his.) Best when served cold.

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