Category Archives: North Indian

Fenugreek Leaves (Methi) cooked two ways

I love all green leaf vegetables. There is always kale and spinach in my fridge at the minimum. Or other greens such as chard greens, mustard greens, collard greens, amaranth leaves, and red sorrel leaves.

But fenugreek leaves is a whole different story.

While I admired the patience with which my mother extracted, cleaned, chopped and used them in cooking and enjoyed the end product, I am lazy when it comes to following the arduous process involved!

I rarely buy fenugreek leaves, but on a rare occasion I do commit and often regret, which was the case this past week. Good news is, these days you can buy fenugreek leaves in the frozen section of an Indian grocery.

The most common recipe that we used to make at home was to cook fenugreek leaves with toor dal (pigeon gram). I scoured the web for other ideas and finally decided to also try a curry recipe with it.

Here’s how I used my bunch of fenugreek leaves.

Peas, Methi Malai (Creamy Peas & Fenugreek Leaves Curry)

3/4 bunch of fenugreek leaves, extracted, rinsed and chopped
1 cup frozen peas, washed
1 small onion chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
small piece of ginger, chopped
2 Roma tomaotes, blended
3-4 tbsp of sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1-2 tsp oil
dash of tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Extract, rinse, chop and set aside the fenugreek leaves.

Heat oil in a pan. Add tumeric and cumin seeds and fry till lightly brown.  Add onion, garlic and ginger and fry till lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add peas, and fenugreek leaves and continue flying for another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and spices as desired.

Add milk, sour cream and a cup of water. Bring to boil, and reduce flame and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes until the curry thickens. This is very lightly seasoned, always adjust seasoning to personal preference. You can also add paneer if desired.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with naan, roti or a bowl of rice.

Methi dal

 

I previously posted the recipe for Methi dal and you find the recipe for Methi dal here.

Note: Fenugreek leaves have a very strong flavor, and unlike other greens, using a whole lot of them in dal can make it bitter. I usually like to err on the lighter side and use less rather than more!

Last of the Summer Vine: Wild Rice Pilaf

Slowly, but steadily the temperatures are dipping down into the 60’s and 50’s and the lows into 40’s and 30’s. Most of my summer plants, while still alive have stopped producing. Almost.

wrp1My late blooming yellow pepper plant has abundant peppers growing, but some menace appears to be attacking them. So this week, I decided to harvest some well grown peppers even if they are still green and haven’t changed color.  I also harvested some Italian flat beans and some red sorrel greens. Eggplant, tomato and zucchini are still alive and flowering but rarely producing fruit. Herbs are still doing great.

I used the beans and peppers to make some Wild Rice Pilaf that turned out pretty good.

Ingredients:

1/2 wild rice
2 small bell peppers
4-5 Italian flat beans
1  shallot chopped
1-2 garlic cloves chopped or minced
a small piece of ginger chopped
3-4 cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
a few mint leaves chopped
1 sliced jalapeno
a few bay leaves
pinch of turmeric
1 tbsp oil
dash of garam masala
dash of cayenne pepper

wrp3Bring a cup of water to boil in a bowl and add the wild rice. Reduce flame and let cook for 10-15 minutes till the water evaporates and the wild rice is almost cooked.

In a separate bowl, add oil, cloves, turmeric, and cinnamon. Lightly fry for a few seconds till golden. Add chopped shallot, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, mint and jalapeno and lightly fry until golden. Add cut beans and peppers and continue to fry for 5-6 minutes. Add garam masala, and cayenne pepper and semi cooked rice and mix well. Add salt to taste. Add a little water, reduce flame to low and cover and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until the beans and pepper soften.

Remove from flame and serve warm with some raita (yogurt and cucumber sauce).

wrp2

Quick Lunch Series: Bulghur Wheat Fried Rice

Bulghur Wheat is a nutritious, quick cooking, form of whole wheat.

Occasionally my mother or my aunt would replace rice with bulghur wheat.

While I have made Tabbouleh, and Upma with Bulghur Wheat many, many times, until I actually cooked it, I never realized, that bulghur wheat fried rice is not only possible, but extremely delicious!

BG1

Ingredients:
1 cup bulghur wheat
1 tbsp oil
1/2 onion sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped green beans or use 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables
You can add assorted vegetables from peppers, potato, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and any other you desire!
1/2 tsp garam masala or as much as you desire
1 tsp chopped mint or cilantro
1 tsp cumin powder
1-2 cloves (optional)
1-2 garlic cloves
1 in ginger
1-2 jalapeno
touch of turmeric
salt to taste

In a large pan, add oil, turmeric, cumin seeds if desired and toast till lightly brown. Add sliced onions and fry till light brown. Combine ginger, jalapeno and garlic in a  food processor. Add to the pan and saute till lightly brown. Add peas, beans, mixed vegetables, and tomatoes and spices and saute till lightly brown. Add bulghur wheat and spices and saute lightly. Add two cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer with a lid.

Add water as needed.

Serve warm with some Raita or fresh yogurt! Delicious!

 

 

Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower)

My memories of this curry are from elementary school. My best friend, used to get this for lunch. Her mom used to send over piping hot food, daily during lunch time. Aloo Gobi wrapped in fresh home made roti was always my favorite. When I think of Aloo Gobi, my mind goes back to that memory and those days. Over the years, I have tried to refine my recipe to the taste I remember from those days. Here is how I make it…

aloogobiIngredients:

1 cauliflower head separated into florets
2-3 potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 tsp tumeric
1-2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp amchur (dried mango powder)
1/4 tsp red chili powder (optional)
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish

Place a large pan on medium low. Add oil, turmeric and cumin seeds. Fry for a minute until the cumin seeds turn slightly brown. Rinse and add cauliflower florets and potato.  Add salt and mix well.

Usually the water from the rinsed vegetables is sufficient for the cooking if not sprinkle a few droplets of water. Close the lid and allow to cook, mixing occasionally to preventing sticking.

Once the cauliflower softens, in 10 minutes or so, add the spices. Adjust the spices to personal preference. Mix well. Garnish with cilantro and serve with warm roti. Can also be eaten with rice.

 

Another Eggplant Curry

Whenever I crave for something spicy, I think of eggplant. My mother always made it very spicy (see Baby Eggplant Cooked in South Indian Style). I do tend to cook eggplant often. It goes well with rice and with roti or other Indian bread. I am also constantly looking for new and innovative ways to cook it (see Sri Lankan Aubergine Curry or Eggplant Curry recipe from my friend Shahna). And this doesn’t even include my mothers recipes for cooking eggplant. I very frequently cook eggplant stand alone with some onion, with potatoes or valo beans, following my mother’s well loved recipes.

As I started to cook my curry, I decided to improvise and make something totally different this time. Here’s how I made it. It was so tasty, I was ready to lick my fingers!

IMG_3621

Ingredients:
2 Japanese eggplants cut into 1 in cubes
1 medium onion sliced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
salt to taste
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
cilantro to garnish

Curry Paste:
1/4 cup peanuts
1/8 cup seasame seeds
4 garlic cloves
1 in piece of ginger
1 tsp corrainder seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1-2 anise stars
1 tsp cloves
3-4 dry red chilli
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp shredded coconut
1/4-1/2 cup thick tamarind juice

IMG_2920

Lightly roast peanuts and sesame seeds on the stove till lightly brown. Transfer to a blender, and add the rest of the curry paste ingredients and blend to a thick paste. Set aside.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a large pan. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Add onions and eggplants and saute till lightly brown. Mixing as needed to prevent sticking. Add the curry paste (all or as much as you like) and 1-2 cups water and continue simmering for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with some cilantro and serve warm with some basmati rice or roti.

IMG_3619

If like me you did not end up using all the curry paste, freeze or refrigerate it! I am going to soon post another recipe where you can use your excess curry paste. Stay turned.

Aloo (Potato) Stuffed Roti

Roti (Indian bread) is a staple food of North India. But it is eaten throughout other parts as well. There are many different types of roti from plain to stuffed to oven baked to deep fried. When making stuffed version there are different options for the stuffing. The most commonly used are: potato, cauliflower, fenugreek leaves, and paneer (home made cheese).

Ingredients:
1 cups atta (flour)
1 medium potato
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp amchur (mango powder)
chopped cilantro
touch of cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Mix the flour with salt and approximately 1 cup water to make dough. Add 1-2 tsp oil and knead for 1-2 minutes. Cover and set aside.

Cook the potatoes with the skin. Peel and mash the potatoes. Add amchur, cumin seeds, cumin powder, cayenne pepper, salt and chopped cilantro and mix well.

To make the roti, divide the dough into 4 parts. Using both hands smooth each part into a ball. Press the ball of dough into flour to prevent sticking and roll out into a circle using a rolling pin on a flat surface or rolling board. Place 1-2 tsp of stuffing. Fold over the rolled out roti to form a ball again. Press the ball with the joined side down into more flour. Roll it again into a circle with a rolling pin.

Meanwhile place a flat frying pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot enough, place the roti on the pan. Add 1-2 tsp oil and cook until lightly brown. Flip and cook other side adding oil as necessary.

Serve hot with a cup of fresh home made yogurt. I also like to add some lemon pickle. Delicious!

Chole Chaat

Chaat is a savory snack made by combining various ingredients such as cooked potato, chickpeas, sweet and sour sauces, yogurt, crunchy sev, topped with chopped tomato, onion and cilantro or any other combination based on the specific kind  of chaat.

This is very popular all across India where chaat is sold on most street corners (see Pani Puri).

Ingredients:
1 cup chole
2-3 tbsp sev or other crunchies
1-2 tbsp chopped onion
1-2 tbsp chopped tomato
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1-2 tbsp smooth yogurt
1 tbsp mint chutney
1 tbsp tamarind-date chutney

Take some warm chole in a bowl. Start layering your favorites toppings. I usually like to add the following:

First sprinkle some sev or crunchies on the chole. Then add some chopped onion and tomato. Next add some mint and date tamarind chutney. Layer some smooth yogurt. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy with a hot cuppa tea!

Chaat can be served in different ways in Indian fast food restaurants: samosa chaat, allo tiki chaat, ragda chaat and many more kind.

Go try it! You’ll love it!

See Also:
Pani Puri
Samosa
Chole
Curry Puff
Pav Bhaji