Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brinjal Sambar Recipe | Vankaya(Kathirikai) Sambar | South Indian Sambar Recipe

brinjal sambar
Sambar is the most popular south Indian accompaniment which pairs nicely with rice as well as the breakfast  idli/dosa varieties. The preparation process of Sambar slightly differ  for breakfast varieties and rice because of the combination of vegetables and also the sambar masala used in the recipe. A freshly ground Sambar masala is used in breakfast variety sambar where as we use Sambar powder with/without coconut in the sambar recipe which is paired with rice.
brinjal sambar
Few varieties of vegetables  go well with Tiffin Sambar and few varieties go well with sambar variety for rice. This Brinjal sambar pairs nicely with breakfast varieties or rice. I like to prepare this sambar slightly thick and also with less tamarind in the recipe which makes it taste delicious to pair with idli or dosa.You can adapt the same process of preparation for preparing sambar with other vegetables like drumstick, brinjal, yellow cucumber,potato and radish. I have used Andhra style Sambar powder in this recipe which makes it suitable for both rice and breakfast varieties. The preparation process for Karnataka style sambar is slightly different because of the addition of ground paste with freshly roasted spices and fresh coconut, which I would post some time later.
Check out other Sambar recipes in my blog here - Gummadikaya(Red Pumpkin) Sambar and Mullangi(Radish) Sambar-with freshly made masala.

kathirikai sambar

Brinjal Sambar Recipe:
Serves 3-4
Prep time:10 mins | Cooking time:30 mins | Total time: 40 mins
Cuisine: South Indian | Category: Side dish for Rice - Main Course
1/2 cup Toor dal
5-6 small or 2 large Eggplants(Brinjals)
1 large Onion, diced or 7-8 Shallots
1 large Tomato, finely chopped
a small gooseberry size Tamarind
1/2 tsp grated Jaggery,optional
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp. chopped Coriander leaves
2 tsp Oil
Salt to taste

to temper:
2 tsp Ghee/Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1-2 Red chillies
a sprig of Curry leaves
a pinch of Asafoetida

  • Wash and soak toor dal for 10 minutes in 1.5 cups of water. Add turmeric powder and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Once the pressure drops slightly mash the dal with a wooden ladle.
  • Cut Brinjal into four quarters or if you are using long variety ones cut them into 2" long pieces and split into four pieces. Immerse them in salted water for 10 mins.
  • Soak tamarind in water for some time and extract pulp from it and keep it ready.
  • Heat oil in a big kadai/pan and add diced onions and fry until they turn translucent. Add brinjal pieces and fry for 4-5 mins and then add chopped tomatoes and fry until they become pulpy.
  • Add 1 cup water roughly and boil it for 2-3 mins. Now add tamarind pulp, salt, sambar powder( mix it in 2 tbsp. water before adding to avoid forming lumps), jaggery and mix nicely and boil it until the raw smell of the sambar powder is gone and the vegetables are cooked nicely.
  • Add cooked and slightly mashed dal and add some more water if required. Boil it for 3-4 mins until the sambar thickens. Taste the sambar once and adjust the seasoning if needed. Sambar thickens slightly when it sits, so adjust the consistency according to your requirement. Add coriander leaves at the end.
  • Heat ghee/oil in a small tempering pan and crackle mustard seeds and add red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida and fry for half a minute and add the tempering to the sambar at the end and mix well.
Serve it hot with steamed Rice and fryums and a vegetable stir fry. You can even serve it with  Idli/ Dosa.
brinjal sambar
  • One can follow the same recipe and prepare sambar with various vegetables like Drumstick, Radish,  Potatoes, Carrots, Sweet Pumpkin, Yellow Cucumber and Bottle gourd.
  • After you fry the vegetable pieces you can add tamarind pulp and pressure cook for 1 whistle if you want to make it quick.
  • Always add tempering at the end to retain the flavour of sambar and close it immediately.
  • I prefer to add ghee for tempering as it lends a nice flavour to sambar.
brinjal sambar

Monday, April 21, 2014

Chana Dal Paratha | Stuffed Paratha Recipes

chana dal paratha
We usually prefer parathas for dinner and I started preparing extra filling so that I can have the same for lunch the next day and also can make it into a post if possible. The idea is not bad right?? At last I am able to share few paratha recipes in my space.
chana dal paratha

The filling options for Parathas are very versatile ranging from regular vegetables, greens to dals and pulses or dairy products like paneer and tofu or soya granules, the options and flavors are endless. I usually prepare parathas at least once a week and each time I prepare a new filling variation so that we would not get bored of it. Dal fillings come handy if you do not have vegetables or you want to prepare something different from the usual vegetable parathas.There are few variations in dal parathas like one can use the whole dal while making paratha or the cooked dal mixed with the flour or a stuffing like the usual stuffed paratha. Today I am sharing a Stuffed Dal paratha version and would like to share the other versions some time later.
chana dal paratha
Dal based stuffed parathas are protein packed and hence can be served as a meal.I usually prepare fillings with various dals and pulses like moong dal, chana dal, rajma and chole. These dal stuffed parathas are very filling and hence a couple of them is enough for lunch or dinner.
chana dal paratha

If you are interested to check other paratha recipes - check them here.
stuffed chana dal paratha

Chana dal Paratha Recipe:
Yields 6-7 Parathas
Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time:30 mins | Total time: 45 mins + soaking time
Cuisine: North Indian | Category: Parathas/Flat Breads - Main Course

for dough:
1 1/2 cups Wheat flour
Salt to taste
2 tsp Oil
Water,to mix
for filling:
1 cup Chana dal,soaked for 3-4 hrs
1 medium Onion,finely chopped(optional)
3-4 Green chillies
3/4" Ginger
2 tbsp chopped Coriander
1 tsp Amchur(dried mango) powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Red chili powder
1/4 tsp Garam masala
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Oil
Wheat flour,for rolling
Ghee and Oil,to roast parathas

to make dough:
  • Mix in the salt with wheat flour and add 1 tsp oil and mix well.
  • Add little water(if needed) and knead it into a smooth and soft dough.The dough should be slightly softer than the regular chapati dough for parathas as it will not only make easy to stuff the filling it will help in easy and even rolling of parathas.
  • Apply oil on top of the dough and cover it and keep it aside for at least half an hour.
to make filling:
  • Wash and soak chand dal for 3-4 hrs.Drain the excess water and grind it along with green chillies and ginger to a coarse mixture in the whipper mode.Do not grind it to a fine paste.
  • Heat oil in a kadai(pan) and add chopped onions and fry until they turn translucent.
  • Add the ground chana dal mixture and fry for 7-8 mins until the raw smell disappears.In case if the chana dal mixture has become bit watery add 1 tbsp of chickpea flour to make the mixture dry.Make sure the mixture id slightly dry and cooked nicely.
  • Add amchur powder, red chili powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, salt and coriander powder and mix well and fry for  2-3 mins.Cool the mixture completely.Add chopped coriander leaves and mix.
to make paratha:

  • Pinch the dough and take a big size lemon sized dough and place the dough in your left hand palm.

  • Using your right hand fingers in the flour and try to make a cup shape(which can hold 3-4 tbsp filling) out of the dough by moving your fingers pressing with the thumb in the center.Take care that the edges should be slightly thinner and in the center it should be thick.
  • Fill the cup with 3-4 tbsp filling and seal the two sides of the dough(it would look like Karanji now) and gently press the corners to get a big round ball out of it.See the pictures for better idea.
how to make stuffed paratha
  • If you stuff the filling in the dough in this way you will get evenly filled paratha and it also forms like pocket.If you find all the above process bit difficult,you can easily roll a 3" circle out of the dough and place the filling in the center and pleat the dough and seal it by gathering the dough around the edges.
  • Slightly flatten the dough(stuffed with filling) with hands and dip it in the wheat flour and gently roll it to a 6" disc of 1/2" thickness.You should not apply more pressure while rolling,so roll it gently.
  • Carefully place it on the hot tawa and fry it until you see bubbles on one side and flip the other side.
  • Apply oil/ghee generously and roast on the other side.
  • Fry the parathas on both sides until you get crisp brown patches on both sides.

Serve them piping hot with Aam ka Achar, Mirch ka Achaar, Mixed Vegetable Achar, curd or masala dahi and sliced onions.

stuffed chana dal paratha

  1. You can replace chana dal with moong dal and follow the same recipe.
  2. You can even par boil chana dal until they turn soft but holds its shape and grind it and follow the same process.
  3. Rajma can also be used to make parathas,in that case you need to pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles and cool it and grind to a coarse paste and follow the same process.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paneer Pulao | Paneer Recipes

paneer pulao
I usually add Paneer to many of my Pulao Varieties as DH is a die hard fan of paneer. Most of the paneer pieces though find its way into his plate and the less preferred veggies like carrots etc would end up in mine- not fair right!!!What if I prepare Pulao with only Paneer in it,both of us would then have to share the paneer pieces and enjoy the meal thoroughly. Well that's how this Paneer Pulao came into existence in my house.I prepare this Pulao just like my usual Vegetable Pulao with minor changes and I replace the vegetables with Paneer.I like to add green peas to this pulao as it goes really well with paneer and helps balance the texture and flavors of pulao.I always grind fresh masala for the pulao along with the addition of spices directly while tempering helping make the pulao taste better.In my opinion, this taste cannot be replicated by the addition of Garam masala and hence I suggest you to try this process once and I am sure you would be hooked on to it.
paneer pulao
I usually saute the soft Paneer variety and immerse in warm water and cook along with rice for the paneer pulao. This helps the paneer stays soft and absorb the flavors well after it is cooked.Frozen Paneer is not recommended as it makes the paneer rubbery after it is cooked,instead of frozen paneer I suggest you to try with fresh home made paneer.I had paired it with Kashmiri dahi Baingan,papad and salad and it was a perfect lunch on our weekend.

If you are interested check out other Pulao varieties in my blog - Methi Pulao, Vegetable Pulao, Mint Pulao, Tawa Pulao, Peas Pulao and Spicy Corn Pulao.

paneer pulao

Paneer Pulao | Paneer Pulav Recipe:
Serves 2
Prep time:15 mins | Cooking time:30 mins | Total time:45 mins
Cuisine:North Indian | Category:Pulao Varieties - Main Course

1 heaped cup Basmati Rice
150 gms Homemade Paneer (Cottage cheese) (or store bought) ,cut into cubes
1/3 cup fresh/frozen Green Peas
1 Onion,finely sliced
juice of 1/2 Lemon
2 Green Cardamoms ,slightly slit
2 Cloves
1/2" Cinnamon
1 Bay leaf
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Butter/Ghee
2 cups Water

to grind:
2 Cloves
1/2" Cinnamon
1-2 Marathi Moggu
4-5 Garlic pods
3/4" Ginger
10-12 Mint leaves
2 tbsp chopped Coriander leaves
3-4 Green chillies

  • Wash and soak basmati rice in water for 10-15 mins.
  • Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'to grind' in whipper mode to a coarse paste.Do not make it into a smooth paste,it will make the paneer pulao green.Just pulse it for a couple of time until you get coarse mixture.
  • Heat oil and ghee together in a pan(or pressure cooker) and add cubed paneer pieces and fry them for few minutes until they turn golden on one side.Turn them over and fry on the other side too until golden color.Drop them in warm water until its usage,this will make it soft.
  • In the same oil add bay leaf,green cardamom,cloves and cinnamon and fry for a minute.
  • Add sliced onions and fry until they turn translucent.
  • Now add fresh/frozen peas and fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the ground masala and fry for 2-3 mins
  • Add soaked and drained basmati rice and fry gently for a couple of minute until the moisture in the rice evaporates.Do this process gently taking care that the rice does not get broken.
  • Slightly squeeze the paneer pieces and add to the rice and mix it gently.
  • At this point you can follow any of the following 3 methods.
    option-1:If you are using pressure cooker you can add 2 cups of water,salt and lemon juice and pressure cook it for 1 whistle and simmer it for 5-6 mins.
    option-2:If you want to prepare in kadai add 2 cups of boiling water,salt and lemon juice and cover it and cook for 10-12 mins until done.
    option-3:Transfer all the rice mixture into the rice cooker and add 2 cups of hot water,salt and lemon juice and cook it until done.I always follow this process while making pulaos and biryanis as they come out perfect in rice cooker.
  • Do not get tempted to open the lid immediately after it is done.Leave it for 10 mins,this helps the rice to absorb all the flavors and stay fluffy. 
  • Using a fork fluff the rice gently.
Serve it hot with a gravy of your choice or Raita and papad.I served it with Kashmiri Dahi Baingan.

paneer pulao
  1. You can even add paneer pieces in the end after the rice is cooked,but I prefer to cook it along with the rice and masalas so that it absorbs flavors well.
  2. Use fresh paneer,the frozen variety is not suitable for pulaos as they become rubbery after they get cooked.
  3. For a south Indian touch you can add 1/3 cup grated coconut while grinding the masala for pulao.
  4. Marathi Moggu gives a nice flavor to puloas,however it is optional as it is not easily available everywhere.

paneer pulao

Check out other paneer recipes in my blog:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kashmiri Dahi Baingan Recipe

dahi baingan
I have been preparing simple pulaos for lunch on weekends these days as per the instructions of DH. He does not like me slogging in the kitchen during weekends and hence asks me to prepare a simple pulao kind of meal.Even I find it very easy to prepare the pulaos rather than a whole sabzi-dal fare.I usually serve pulao with raitas, papad and salad.I wanted to try the Aromatic Kashmiri style Dahi Baingan recipe from such a long time and I am glad I tried it.I liked the usage of the spices in this recipe which is quite different from the usual ones and more over it is No-Onion-No-Garlic recipe and no chopping and grinding required for the masala.It is a very quick and easy recipe but completely packed with aromas.
kashmiri dahi baingan
'Hing' or 'Asadoetida' plays a key role in the flavor and the freshly ground fennel powder and dry ginger powder add a unique flavor to it.We liked it so much that I have prepared it on two consecutive weekends.It would be ideal to serve it with Saffron rice or mild flavored Pulaos.After a small internet search to peek into minute details of the recipe,I found that this recipe belongs to Kashmiri Pandit Cuisine,I am not going into further depth of detailing the cuisine now.
dahi baingan
I love Brinjals and especially the long purple shiny ones tempts me to buy whenever I spot them in the markets.These long purple eggplants are ideal to prepare Begun Bhaja, Aloo Baingan, Achari Baingan ,Baingan Bharta ,Vangi Bhath and now even this Dahi Baingan added to the list. Give your regular raita a miss and try this Kashmiri Dahi Baingan to pair with your pulaos,it is definitely a treat to the taste buds.
dahi baingan
Kashmiri Dahi Baingan Recipe:
recipe source: Sanjeev Kapoor
Serves 4-5
Prep time:5 mins + soaking time | Cooking time:25 mins | Total time:30 mins
Cuisine: Kashmiri -India | Category: Side dish - Main Course

4-5 large long purple Brinjals
2 cups fresh Curd
1 tbsp Fennel seeds(Saunf) 
1.5 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp Dry Ginger powder
1/2 tsp Asafoetida (use 1/4 tsp if it is stronger one)
2-3 Green Cardamoms,powdered
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp Mustard Oil
3 tbsp Water

  • Dry roast fennel seeds and powder them in a mortar and pestle.
  • Whisk the Curd nicely.
  • Cut Brinjals into thick 1" pieces and immerse them in salted water for 15-20 mins.This will remove the bitterness of brinjals if it is there.
  • Collect all the spices - fennel seed powder, asafoetida, red chili powder, cardamom powder, dry ginger powder in a small cup and add 3 tbsp water to it and mix well.
  • Heat mustard oil in a kadai/pan to its smoking point and switch off the flame for a minute.Again switch it on and add the mixed spice paste and fry it gently over low flame for a minute until the masala is roasted and leaves the oil.Take care not to burn the masala.
  • Slightly squeeze the brinjal pieces and add and mix well and fry for 3-4 mins until the masala mixture coats the brinjal pieces nicely.
  • Cover it and cook over low flame for 12-15 mins until the brinjals are cooked nicely.If needed cook for bit long.
  • Add salt to the cooked brinjals and mix well.
  • Remove the kadai from the flame and leave it aside for half a minute.Add beaten curd to it and mix well and bring the kadai back on the flame.This step is essential as there are chances that the curd might curdle when added to the hot kadai on flame.
  • Stir it gently and cover it cook on low heat for 3-4 mins until it comes to a slight boil.Keep stirring occasionally and cook on low flame.If you cook for longer the curd will curdle.You should switch off the flame immediately when you see it has started boiling otherwise the curd will curdle in a fraction of seconds.Mine was about to curdle as I was doing multi tasking at that time,so please be cautious in this step.
Serve it hot with Saffron Rice or Pulaos or Biryanis or Rotis. I served it with Paneer Pulao, papad and salad.
 kashmiri dahi baingan
  1. I used 1/4 tsp Asafoetida as I used the stronger rock variety,powder it and use.
  2. I usually immerse the eggplants in water for sometime as it will remove the bitterness from brinjals if anything is there.
  3. I even tried it with out cardamom powder too even it tasted nice.So you can prepare it with or with out cardamom powder.
dahi baingan

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