Friday, January 30, 2009

Kulcha chana with a twist

Kulcha - chana is a favorite of my husband . For me it was a new concept becuase I had never lived in Punjab till the time I got married. Apparently it is a very popular way of eating Kabuli Chana or Chola there. Now that I know more about it , I am not surprised that it is a popular combination. The ease of preparing this complete meal alongwith the flexibility of making it as spicy or bland as per individual's preference definitely make it popular with me ;-) .

Kulcha - chana is nothing but a spicy and tangy mix of chole or chickpeas with onions, tomatoes, green chillies stuffed in flat bread known as Kulcha.

As I told you all already, my mother-in-law has been living with us for about 3 months now and so I have been treated to delicious Punjabi dishes all this time . One fine day we decided to have Kulcha chana, the chana part was easy to take care of , but where do we get the Kulchas in a foreign land . That is where the "twist" came in ....we decided to replace the Kulcha with plain buns traditionally used for burgers . Since the buns absorb the juices in the chole we added a little more liquid to it than we would have if we had been using the Kulchas. The result was a filling and satisfying meal which left us wanting for more :-)

Ingredients -
Chickpeas/ chole / kabuli chana - 1 cup ( soaked overnight and then boiled in salted water till soft)
Red onion - 1 large (finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 large (finely chopped)
Green chilli - 2-3 as per taste ( finely chopped)
Lime juice - 2 tsp (as per taste)
Tamarind pulp - 2 tsp
Black salt - as per taste
Salt - as per taste
Coriander leaves - a handful , chopped finely
Red chili powder - as per taste
Buns - 4

Cut the buns halfway through horizontally .
Mix all the ingredients together and keep aside . The fill them into the buns with the help of a spoon. Spoon a little liquid ( which gathers at the bottom of the vessel) over the chola mix and then press the buns to close them.

Serve immediately !! :)

P.S. : The chickpeas with the onions, tomatoes, etc make a lovely salad also which can be served chilled also :-) . In fact in my house , we had been having it as a salad all these years only.

This is my entry fro JFI -Chickpea being hosted by Sometime Foodie . JFI was a brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi blog.

This is also my second entry to Srivalli's My Legume Love Affair-7th helping.My Legume Love Affair was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.

This also goes to SWC- Salads under 15 minutes being hosted by my dear friend LG of Cooking station

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Paav Bhaji

Paav Bhaji is a favorite in the house , I can make it any time and be rest assured that it would be well received by everyone at home . It is a welcome break from the usual routine of Roti-sabzi for all of us and a break for me from the chore of making rotis ;-) . I made paav bhaji on one of these sundays , and the next day while chatting with my sweet sis-in-law the topic of paav bhaji came up . Usually I use the ready to use paav bhaji masala due to the convenience factor , but when she mentioned that her aunt makes awesome paav bhaji from the scratch I couldnot resist the temptation of inviting her to share the recipe with all of us .

She was sweet enough to send in the recipe very quickly , and without any further delay let me share her tried and tested recipe in her own words :-) ( I didnot click any photo of the paav bhaji I made because I didnot think it was special enough to be blogged ..but I shall publish a photo of paav bhaji made with this authentic recipe soon :-))

Ingredients :-
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets (about 2-3 cups)
1 green bell pepper cut into small pieces
2 large onions chopped into small pieces
1 medium sized carrot cut into small pieces
1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
2-3 cups tomato puree or 3-4 large sized tomatoes
2 tbsp oil
2-3 green chilies
1.5 tsp ginger paste
1.5 tsp garlic paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp amchur powder
1 tsp chili powder or red chili paste
Salt to taste
1.5-2 tbsp Everest paav-bhaji masala/ Home made paav bhaji masala (or more to taste)
1 tbsp butter

Preparation :-
1. Cut all vegetables into small pieces
2. Microwave all the vegetables except onions and potatoes for 10 mins. Other option is boiling them till they are tender.
3. Add boiled potatoes to these vegetables and use a potato masher to mash them slightly in a vessel. Don’t over-mash them
4. Heat oil in a deep saucepan and add green chilies and onions and sauté till light brown
5. Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté for some more time
6. Add turmeric powder, chili powder and salt to taste. Sauté for a few seconds
7. Add tomato puree and mashed vegetables
8. Then add paav-bhaji masala and butter
9. Keep sautéing with the potato masher till you gets a coarse blend. You can add a little water (around 1/2-1 cup) if required
10. Keep a lid and intermittently stir. Simmer for around 20 minutes for the mixture to completely blend
11. Add a pinch of salt and ½ tsp garam masala and ½ tsp amchur powder or paav bhaji masala to get a tangier taste
12. Add 2 tbsp of butter to it
13. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves, lemon slices and finely chopped 1 large onion
14. Slit the paavs and fry them on the saucepan with butter
15. Serve the hot bhaji with the paavs
16. Instead of using the Everest paav bhaji masala and other spices, one can prepare a home made mixture

Home made Paav Bhaji Masala -
. 1-2 inch ginger
· 2 tbsp coriander seeds
· 4-5 cloves
· 1 tbsp cumin seeds
· 4 dry red chilies
· 1 tbsp amchur powder
· 1 inch piece of cinnamon
· 1 tsp fennel seeds
· 1 tbsp garam masala powder
· A pinch of asafetida
1. Heat a pan and heat the coriander seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, red chilies, cinnamon, asafetida and fennel seeds on a low flame till slight flames start coming and u get an aroma
2. Grind these with the remaining spices in a mixer
3. The home made paav bhaji masala is ready

LG of tasteofmysore suggested that I can send this as an entry for Think Spice.. Think twice: Mastic Gum or Fennel seeds event being hosted by Ivy of Kopiatse... to Greek Hospitality , the event is a brain child of Sunita of Sunita's world . I hope this entry gets accepted.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shahi Paneer - Cottage Cheese cubes in rich tomato based Gravy

Time moves so fast …it seems just like yesterday that we were looking forward year 2009, and here we are well into the year with one month almost gone. But as they say “good times fly…” so in a way I am happy that time is flying away :-) . Coming back to our New Year eve’s celebrations this time around we had decided to welcome 2009 in a quiet peaceful way. Unlike the noisy and boisterous New Year countdowns we have every year we stayed at home and waited for 2009 to come. We had a sumptuous home cooked meal, which included shahi paneer, sindhi dal and lacchedaar roti. We welcomed the new year with warm doughnuts and bubbling cold drinks .

The menu for the dinner was decided on the last minute after we came back from office. So I did a quick research for the recipe of shahi paneer and finally decided on a mix of Sanjeev Kapoor’s and Tarla Dalal’s recipes. The paneer turned out soft with the gravy rich and creamy, and it tasted even better the next day. Surprisingly it did not take much time to prepare also. After dinner, I got thumbs up from hubby dear and a quick photo of the remaining dish was taken and I was instructed to blog it as soon as possible : -D

So here is my recipe for Shahi Paneer: -


Cottage cheese / paneer – Approx 250 gms
Tomatoes -3,Large sized, chopped
Onion – 1 medium sized, chopped
Handful of cashew nuts and almonds, ground to fine paste – the original recipe calls only for cashew nuts, but I added some almonds too.
Ginger, garlic, chili paste – 1 ½ t sp
Tomato paste – 1 tb sp
Garam masala powder – ½ tsp
Red chili powder – ½ t sp
Turmeric powder – ½ t sp
Coriander powder – 1 t sp
Salt – as per taste
Oil – 2 tb sp
Kasoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – chopped finely for garnishing
Fry chopped onions, in oil till soft. Add ginger, garlic and chili paste, fry till its brown. Then add the tomatoes and fry for 6 to 8 minutes till they turn mushy. Cool the sautéed masala and grind to a puree add tomato paste to it along with 1/2-cup water. Now bring it to a boil and simmer on low flame.In the meanwhile cut the cottage cheese / paneer into medium size pieces. Shallow fry the paneer in oil without browning them. Keep it aside.
Now add all the dry masala to the puree .Add the cashew nut – almond paste in the puree. And cook it on low flame till the gravy is thick. Add the paneer pieces and cook till they become heated too.
I added dry roasted and crushed kasoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves also for more flavor and aroma (this was not mentioned in the original recipes) Before serving garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with chapatti, paranthas or rice and enjoy !! :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Punjabi Rajma Masala - Punjabi Kidney beans in gravy

Let me begin by wishing everyone a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR !! . I have been very very irregular with my blogging offlate , the reason for this is that I am hardly doing any cooking these days :-) . My mother-in-law has been in town for the past couple of months and hence we have been treated to delicious home made food everyday . I make the same things using the same recipe , but somehow it never turns out as tasty as the ones she dishes out everyday . Probably this is a result of the long experience . Over the years she has discovered a lot of time saving tricks which she has been kind enough to pass on to me . Here I am sharing one of those time saving techniques for making the world famous - rajma masala . Usually we all associate Rajma with lots of soaking , boiling and then getting around to make the curry , according to my mother -in-law there's no need for that . Read on to find out her secret a quick and the best tasting rajma that I have ever had :-)

Ingredients –
Kidney beans/Rajma – 250 gms
Medium sized onions – 2
Tomatoes – 2
Garlic – 6-7 cloves
Ginger – 1 inch piece – finely chopped
Turmeric powder – ½ t sp
Red chili powder – 1 t sp (adjust as per taste)
Garam masala powder – 1 t sp
Salt – as per taste
Asafoetida – a pinch
Coriander leaves – chopped for garnishing
Oil – 2 tb sp

Soak the kidney beans overnight with enough water. Make a paste of onions and garlic. Heat oil in a pressure cooker; add the asafoetida powder and then the onion and garlic paste. Sauté for a minute and then add finely chopped ginger. Keep sautéing till the onion becomes a little brown, and then add the red chili powder, turmeric and salt. Then add the tomato paste. Sauté till the oil starts separating from the masala. In the meanwhile drain the kidney beans and keep them separately. Add the pre-soaked kidney beans to the masala and sauté them till all the water evaporates. Then add about 1 –1.5 glass of water and pressure cook Keep the flame high till the first whistle and after that cook on low flame for about 20 minutes. After that let the pressure cooker cool. Once cool check for tenderness, if the beans are soft then add garam masala powder. If the beans are not soft then pressure cook for some more time. Once cooked properly garnish with coriander leaves and serve with hot steaming rice. You can adjust the thickness of the gravy as per your requirement by adding more water or boiling it some more to thicken it.

You can also boil the kidney beans with water and salt separately and then mix the beans and the water in the masala. Then let it boil for 10 minutes till the time the masala gets mixed well and the gravy thickens.

This is my first entry for the Legume love affair of Srivelli , I hope she accepts it . This event is the brain child of Susan of The well seasoned cook.