Sunday, November 18, 2012

My experiments with Slow cooker series - Palak Dal (Palakura Pappu , Lentils with Spinach)

A simple and nutritious dal which can be cooked in slow cooker.Palak dal came out well. One thing I noticed when cooking toovar dal in slow cooker ,is you need to add salt at the end and if you need to add any tamarind you need to add it after the dal is well cooked, otherwise the dal will not be soft.
Palak Dal
Ingredients :
1 Cup Toovar Dal
1 Medium Onion
1 Large Tomato
1 Bunch Spinach
2 Green Chillies
1/2 Inch Ginger
2 Garlic cloves
1/2 Tsp Red Chilli powder
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
3 cups water
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 Tsp Jeera
1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
2 Dry Red Chillies
2 Garlic Pods
1 Tbsp Diced Onion
8-10 Curry Leaves
Method :
To the slow cooker cermaic pot, Add washed Toovar Dal,diced Spinach,diced Onion,Red Chilli Powder,Green Chillies,Turmeric,diced Ginger,Garlic,diced Tomato,3 Cups water. Cook on High for 6 hours. Add salt to the dal and cook for another 10 minutes.

Tadka : In hot Oil, add Curry Leaves ,dry red chillies, Jeera , Mustard seeds and Garlic pieces,onion. Let them turn light brown and add to the Dal.

Serve hot with rice.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is such an easy and tasty dish which even kids will eat without fuss and mothers can be happy that they fed a whole bowl of veggies to their kiddos.I try not to use the ready made masalas much which are available in abundance wherever you look. I tried hard to find a pav bhaji recipe which does not use the Everest/MDH Pav bhaji masala. Alas! Even Sanjeev Kapoor makes pav bhaji with ready made pav bhaji masala. So, I resigned myself to using store bought pav bhaji masala. If anyone knows how to make home made pav bhaji mala, Please let me know. The recipe is usually found on the packet and mine is not that much different.

Pav Bhaji

Ingredients :
Pav Bread or Burger Buns
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Small Cauliflower
2 Capsicums
2 Midium Carrots
10 Green Beans
1/2 Cup Green Peas
2 Medium Tomotoes
1 Handfuls of Coriander leaves
1 medium onion
1 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1/4 Tsp Red Chilli powder
2 Tomatoes
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp butter 
2 Tbsp Everest/MDH Pav Bhaji Masala
1 Lime cut it into small pieces
1 Diced onions for serving
Salt to taste
Method :
Cook Potatoes,Cauliflower,Carrots,Green beans,Green peas,1 Capsicum with water in a pressure cooker till 3 Whistles.
Dice 1 capsicum into small pieces and fry in a tbsp oil and keep it aside.

In the remaining oil,add butter, put cut onions ,saute till translucent.Add ginger garlic paste and saute till couple of minutes.Add pav bhaji masala ,red chilli powder and saute till oil separates. Now add tomatoes and cook. Once tomatoes are well cooked, add all the vegetables and mash well. Add salt and cook well till the masala blends well into the vegetables.Add the fried capsicum and coriander leaves on top of it.

In a pan,spread a little butter on the pav/buns and toast the buns well.

Serve the Pav and Bhaji sprinkled with diced onions and Lime pieces.


Patishpata is my husband's favourite desert. It is traditionally made on Sankranthi day, but my mom-in-law always make it when we visit Kolkata. Though it is not sankranthi yet, I made it this november as we were craving it. We usually use khoya in the dish ,but since it was not available, we tried the filling with mava milk powder.

Ingredients :
1 Cup Moong Dal
2 Cups Rice
2 Cup Sugar (1 Cup for filling,1 Cup for syrup)
1 Cup Mava powder
3/4 Cup Coconut powder
4 Cardamom
5-6 Tbsp ghee
4 Cups of water
Batter :
Soak Moong Dal and Rice for six hrs, Grind it into a fine paste. This should be of similar consistency like dosa batter.

Add 1 Cup sugar and 3 cups water and bring it to a boil and cook till sugar melts. This syrup should be very light.

Filling :
In a non stick pan,add 1 tbsp of ghee and coconut powder and roast it till light brown. Add Mava powder,1 cup sugar and cardamom and for few minutes. Sprinkle few drops of water just enough to lightly bind it  but still dry(Be careful not to use lot of water,it will turn into a paste). Roast it for few more minutes and take it out of flame.

Method :
Take a non stick pan. Spread batter , cook till light brown , turn it ,sprinkle some ghee on it.Add the filling, fold the two ends of crepe covering the filling. Roast it till well cooked on both sides. Once done, put the crepe with filling in Sugar syrup. Serve hot.

Tip : The batter as well as the filling freezes very well. So you can make it in advance and freeze it. When you want to make the pathisapta , take the batter and filling from freezer and thaw it till room temperature and prepare it.

The sugar syrup also stays in fridge section well for couple of weeks. 

Fish Fry

Growing up, my consumption of fish was limited to Mirghashira day and few other special occasions. Post my marriage to a bengali ,i consumed more fish in my first year marriage  than I did all the years before. The fish fry in my hyderabadi maternal home is full of spices and fish fry in bengali marital home only includes salt and turmeric bringing out the delicate flavor of fish.  Today , I am posting hyderbadi style. Typically we use Rohu but as it was unavailable, I used Tilapia.

Fish Fry
Ingredients :
10 Tilapia Fish Fillets cut in 4*3 inch pieces
2 Tbsp Red Chilli Powder
2 Tbsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
11/2 Tbsp Cumin Powder
2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Mix Red Chilli powder,turmeric powder,coriander powder,cumin powder ,ginger garlic and salt with little water water and apply nicely to all the fish peices and keep it aside for an hour or two.
In a non-stick pan,add oil, after it is hot,reduce the flame. Put fish peices and fry till well done.

Mirchi Ka salan

Mirchi ka salan is a most famous of Hyderabadi curries. This is always present in wedding food and this is one of those dishes which tastes better the next day and all my memories of this curry are associated with eating this the day after weddings and marvelling at the taste. This is my home version. I had my sister's family over for dinner and we were making Biryani and what else could we serve with biryani other than mirchi ka salan.

Mirchi ka Salan
Ingredients :
10 Long Chillies
2 Medium Onions
3 Tbsp of Peanuts
2 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
5 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
3 Tbsp Coconut powder (Use dry coconut if you have,I dry roasted frozen fresh coconut shred available in indian stores)
1 Tbsp Whole Cumin
1 Tbsp whole Coriander seeds
1 Tsp Red Chilli powder
1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder
6 Cloves
6-8 Pepper corns
1.5 Inch Ginger
5-6 cloves of Garlic
2 Bay leaf
1 Inch Dalchini/Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Shah Jeera
Lemon sized Tamarind
3 Tbsp oil
2 Cups of water
Salt to taste

Masala Paste:
Dry Roast cloves,pepper corns,peanuts, poppy seeds ,sesame seeds ,whole coriander and whole cumin seeds and grind to a fine powder.
Dry roast fresh coconut powder and add to the above powder.
Cut and rry roast onions till brown and add to above powder.
Add red chilli powder, turmeric ,some water and make a fine paste.
Soak Tamarind in 2 cup of water for half an hr and take the juice out.

Make a fine paste of Ginger and Garlic.

Make a slit into each green chillies and insert a small amount of above masala  paste into the green chilli and keep aside.
In a pan , put 3 tbsp oil. Add green chillies into the pan and roast the chillies for 5-6 minutes and take these out the pan.
Now in the remaining oil, Add Bayleaf , Dalchini , Shah Jeera and saute a little. Put in the Ginger Garlic paste and saute for 30 secs. Now add masala paste and saute till oil sperates, Once you see oil seprating from the paste, add tamarind water, 2 cups of water , salt and let the curry paste come to a boil. After 15 minutes, put in the Green Chillies  and cook till the green chillies are tender.

Serve hot with Biryani / Rice/Roti