Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baby Potato-Tastic... Dum Aloo

I've been away from blogging for a long time. I just lost the inspiration, I guess. I have been cooking however, and expanding my repertoire slightly.

I've recently started up my new blog to document my journey in the Zentangle world. Crocheting didn't work out for me, mainly due to the lack of reasonably priced, quality materials available in Mumbai. I may come back to crochet at sometime, but cooking and tangling have been with me some time now, and will continue to be in the near future.

I'm so happy, because I just found this recipe saved on my laptop. I thought I'd lost it, and couldn't quite remember the right spice mix to make this for MoH. This is a recipe that came from his Mum, and although nothing is quite the same as your own Mum's cooking, this is a favourite of his.

It's best made with little baby potatoes, but if you can't get them, then chop your big potato up into little chunks.

Dum Aloo

500g baby potatoes
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp jeera
1 piece cinnamon
4-5 black peppercorns
2 onions, ground to a paste
1 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
1/2 tsp haldi
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp dhaniya
2 tomatoes, pureed
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste

1. Boil potatoes in salted water, leave to cool then peel off the skins
2. Heat oil and add jeera, sizzle then add cinnamon and peppercorns and mix well
3. Add onion and cook until golden brown
4. Add ginger & garlic paste, haldi, chilli powder, dhaniya and cook for a minute or so
5. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook until oil separates
6. Add the boiled potatoes and garam masala and simmer for a few minutes

Serve with parathas

The same recipe can be used for a corn (makkai) bhaji, just use corn rather than potatoes!
Both versions are extremely yummy, so I hope you enjoy them.

Happy eating...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

(Not so Christmassy) Palak Paneer - so green, so tasty!

Merry Christmas!
At this time of year, I miss my family back in England. I remember parties with fruit punch and party hats, crackers, Hunt the Thimble, screaming & shouting, chocolate cornflake cake, Coca Cola, homemade Baileys, and so much more...
My choice of food to write about today isn't particularly Christmassy and definitely doesn't remind me of Christmas' long gone... but it is festive green!

As a vegetarian, living in a hot country, with no oven, it's really quite difficult to make the traditional Christmas roast of my childhood... chicken (or nut roast), stuffing, potatoes (boiled and roast), parsnips, brussel sprouts, carrots, peas, Yorkshire puddings, gravy... my mouth is watering at the thought of it!
Last year I wrote about some of my favourite chefs Christmas recipes, so if Palak Paneer isn't your thing then check out my entry on Christmas Foooooooooooooooooooooood.

I'm sure, however, that this recipe won't disappoint. This is a rich and warming dish. I chose to write about this, as this is what I'll be eating for dinner tonight!

I make mine less spicy, but you can easily add more kick to it with more chilli powder or you can make some chilli paste and add alongside the garlic and ginger paste.

Palak Paneer
3-4 bunches palak (spinach)
200g fresh paneer, cubed and soaked in water
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp jeera seeds
2 onions, minced
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 large tomatoes, pureed
1/4 tsp haldi
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp dhaniya powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Enough water
Cream / Milk to taste (optional)

1. Cook spinach in a little water, drain and cool
2. Blend to the desired consistency (I puree mine and make a very smooth Palak gravy)
3. Heat oil in a pan, add jeera and crackle
4. Add onion and saute until starting to turn brown
5. Add ginger & garlic paste and cook for a further few minutes until onions are golden brown
6. Add tomatoes, salt and all spices then cover and cook until oil separates
7. Add spinach and loosen mixture with a little water or milk or cream and cook for a few minutes
8. Add paneer, mix well, cook for 1 minute then serve

I usually don't bother with milk or cream, the dish is rich enough without it. Serve with roti and rice and scoff!
Because it's Christmas, I'll push the boat out a little and add some cream today. I'll also be enjoying a few Goan Christmas delicacies like Guava cheese and Plum cake along with a nice glass of plonk.

I hope you all enjoy a nice, relaxed Christmas day. May Peace be with you...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dal Dhokli - AKA Gujarati Pasta

Nearly Christmas now... I have only a few days left until I take a well deserved holiday. Unfortunately it wont be peaceful, as the Awesome Eight are starting to take over the house. With their eyes open and their legs gaining strength every day, they're starting to show their personalities! We have the yappy worriers, the wrestlers, the chewers, the laid back and the fat puppy types so far.

Coco is being fantastic, but the puppies are really starting to trouble her now. They're just tall enough to grab a slurp of milk even when Coco's standing up, so she really can't escape. And poor MOH is woken up everyday by the incessant yapping. He's feeling a little sleep deprived! I get to run off to work and escape, so I'm trying to make some of his favourite dishes to cheer him up until I'm on leave.

One of MOH's favourite dishes is Dal Dhokli, which is often known as 'Gujarati Pasta'! It's filling and tasty and pretty easy to make!

Dal Dhokli

1/2 cup toor dal, washed and soaked for 20 mins
Handful raw/roasted peanuts (unsalted)
2 cups water
1 tbsp oil/ghee
1/4 tsp rai
1/4 tsp jeera
5-6 curry leaves
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
Pinch of hing
2-3 pieces of cocum (optional)
Jaggery to taste (optional)
1 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp haldi
1/2 tsp chilli powder (to taste)
Juice of 1 small lemon
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala
Coriander leaves for garnishing

1/2 cup atta
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp haldi
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp oil

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dhokli with enough water to knead a soft, firm dough
2. Roll out mixture into chapattis and cut into diamond shapes
3. Add the diamond pieces to a large pan of boiling water (just like you would for pasta) and cook for 8-10 minutes then drain
4. Whilst dhokli are cooking, make the dal

5. Cook toor dal and peanuts with 2 cups water in pressure cooker
6. Leave to cool then whisk until dal is smooth
7. Heat ghee/oil, then add rai, jeera, curry leaves, cloves, bay leaf, hing and cocum and cook for 30 seeconds or so
8. Add jaggery, ginger & garlic paste, green chilli, haldi and chilli powder and stir well
9. Add spice mix to the dal along with the lemon juice, salt and garam masala
10. Bring to the boil, add the dhokli and simmer for 10 minutes, adding extra water as necessary (the dal should not be too thick)
11. Serve garnished with coriander

I don't usually put cocum and jaggery in my version, as I'm not keen on the flavours, and I usually just slit the green chillies rather than finely chopping, as we don't like too much of that chilli kick.

If you like, you can add onions and tomatoes to the dal. Just add at step 8 along with the ginger & garlic paste and cook out for around 10 minutes before moving to step 9.

Quite often this is eaten on it's own, because the Dhokli provide your carbohydrates for the meal, but you can eat the dal along with rice if you have any left over!

I often make too much dough for Dhokli and end up using it to make chapatti the following day. Just keep the dough in a container in the fridge and get it out to warm up at least half an hour before you use it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

MOH's favourite dish... Green Mung Bhaji

I can't believe that I've not done this recipe before now... In fact I thought that maybe I had blogged about it, but just deleted from my Blog folder on my laptop, so came online to check my own blog out. It turns out that I've been remiss and forgotten to blog this simple recipe after all.

So why does this recipe deserve blog space? Well it happens to be MOH's favourite. Also, due to time constraints recently, I've managed to turn it into a one pot recipe, which leaves me plenty of time to look after my wonderful doggy, Super-Coco, and her fantastic puppies, the Awesome Eightsome!

Yup, my days are filled with work, work, work and my nights are filled with two-week old pups and catering for their phenomenally hungry mum. All I seem to be cooking is food for Coco... Mangalore Rice and Toor Dal Khichidi with Dudhi, Carrot, French Beans, Cabbage, Capsicum and Boiled Chicken. Oatmeal for a snack! Boiled Eggs, bread and milk for breakfast. Supplemented with Bananas and Carrots, Doggie biscuits, chews and kibble. She's eating about twice the amount she normally does, and she's still sooooo skinny coz she's feeding 8 pups.

On top of all this cooking and feeding, there's a huge amount of cleaning that needs to be constantly done...partly coz Mumbai is naturally soooooooooooooooooooo dirty and partly due to the Awesome Eightsome. I'm very lucky to have MOH take care of most of the cleaning, but we've also got the washing machine on a lot more recently than normal!

In the past week I've discovered the joys of playing with simple photo-editing software too...I've been using Pixlr-o-matic and having a blast making cute puppy pics look even better (in my opinion). I do think I'm having a bit of a second childhood here, coz playing with this sort of thing is clearly for kids, right? Nevermind... whatever makes you happy!

So here we go...

Green Mung Bhaji

1 cup green mung beans
3 cups water
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp jeera seeds (cumin)
Pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric)
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
Few curry leaves
2 green chillis, slit
1 med tomato, chopped
Coriander leaves to garnish
Lime/Lemon juice to taste

1. Soak mung beans for ~4hrs. drain and rinse.
2. Pressure cook mung with 3 cups water and salt for 4-5 whistles. Turn off heat and allow pressure cooker to cool (~15 mins)
3. Heat oil in separate pan, add jeera and sizzle.
4. Add hing, haldi, curry leaves, ginger & garlic paste & green chillies. Cook for 30 seconds or so.
5. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute to soften, then add this spice mixture to the mung beans.
6. Add more water if necessary. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
7. Check seasoning and add lime juice.
8. Serve garnished with coriander.

Eat with rice or chapatti. This should be quite a liquid dish, especially if eating with rice.

I mentioned that I've adapted this to become a one pot dish... Simple. Just do steps 3-5 first in the pressure cooker, then add the mung, water and salt and pressure cook. Once cooled, check water levels and seasoning and adjust accordingly.

I really miss Christmas in England. Last year felt quite Christmassy, because I lived in the middle of a Catholic neighbourhood and the streets and houses were lit-up, but this year I live in more of a Muslim and Hindu area. I'm going to head off now, and get back to decorating my house ready for Christmas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Punjabi neighbours = nice smells, yummy food & cooking lessons... (Punjabi Rajma)

After finally finding a place to stay and moving in next door to a Punjabi family, my visa troubles got sorted (these two statements are not really connected, but I just wanted to show that my life kinda sorted itself out, and Karma made up for all the problems by giving me wonderful neighbours!). I've been working too hard and for a long time didn't have internet access, which is why December managed to sneak up without me writing a single blog entry in months!

I've been cooking throughout my silent period - Palak Paneer and Dum Aloo are current favourites - I've just not blogged about my kitchen exploits! Well the quiet period must come to an end... and it would have last weekend if it wasn't for the arrival of 8 gorgeous, chocolate brown, Labrabor puppies. On Saturday, Punjabi Auntie was meant to come round and teach us how to make Punjabi Chole. She turned up as expected, but so did some more unexpected visitors - Coco's puppies!

It meant I got to eat fantastic Chole whilst waiting for all the puppies to arrive, but I failed to get the full recipe. I'll catch up with Auntie again in a few weeks and just check the spice combinations for Chole. In the meantime, today was Rajma day and next week MOH (My Other Half) wants to try Dal Makhani...

Punjabi Rajma

1 cup white rajma with red speckles, soaked for 4-5 hours
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp jeera seeds
2 onions, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp garlic paste
1/2 tbsp ginger paste
3-4 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric)
1 tsp chilli powder (to taste)
2 tsp dhaniya (coriander) powder
1 tsp rajma masala powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish

1. Wash rajma, place in pressure cooker with pinch of salt and 3-4 cups water. Cook for 3/4 whistles and leave to cool.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add jeera and cook for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook until golden brown.
3. Add garlic and ginger paste and cook for a further 30 seconds.
4. Add tomatoes and mix well. Cook for about a minute, then add the haldi, chilli, dhaniya, rajma masala, garam masala and salt. Stir and leave to cook over a medium heat until oil separates (about 5 minutes or so).
5. Once pressure cooker has cooled enough to open, add the paste to the cooked rajma. Stir well and mash some rajma against the side of the pan. Bring to the boil and check seasoning.
6. Garnish with coriander and serve with paratha / roti or fresh, steamed rice.

This version is really yummy, especially as Punjabi Auntie has her own special Garam Masala mix, which we've asked her to get for us!

MOH's family were visiting us today when all of this happened, so everyone was well fed and Auntie got a treat too. MOH's mum taught her how to make a particular Gujarati mithai that she really liked which we'd given as a gift earlier in the year. Unfortunately I didn't get to see how to make this, as I had to stay home and look after Coco and the puppies (poor me!).