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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mushroom,Green Peas & Spring Onion Pulav :-)




The lovely aroma of mushrooms frying in garlic tempered butter is unique and ambrosial.JWith spring onion (scallion) and whole spices giving this pilaf added fragrance,the need of a few pantry staples and the short span of cooking required...this dish is capable of brightening up meal time any day.Try this pilaf out for a relaxing lunch/dinner and savor layers of delicious flavors in each spoonful....Enjoy!!!J

Serves : 4-6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients Required :

1 cup white Basmati rice (long grained) rinse cleaned,soaked in water for 10 minutes and water drained

1/2 cup Spring onion (scallion) cleaned and chopped (use the green,leafy part only)

10-12 medium sized button mushrooms cleaned and quartered

2-3 tablespoons fresh green pea pods (thawed if frozen)

Garlic peeled,cleaned and finely chopped- 1/2 tablespoon

1/2 teaspoon crushed whole black peppercorns (kali mirch)

1-inch stick cinnamon (dalchini)

4 plump cloves (laung)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (sabut jeera)

2+1 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter;at room temperature...use heaped spoonfuls)

1+1/2 cups of water

Salt to taste

Process : 
                                          important ingredients

We used a pressure cooker for making this pilaf.Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in cooker pot.When it melts...add cumin seeds and let crackle.

                                          crackling cumin

Next add cinnamon stick,cloves give a stir and turn heat to medium.Then add crushed pepper corns...give a stir and add chopped garlic thereafter...stir and cook for a few seconds till garlic gives off a wonderful aroma and turns a shade darker(take care not to over brown it).

                                          added whole spices

                                          stirred in crushed peppercorns

                                          added chopped garlic

                                          cooked for a few seconds till aromatic

Next add green peas,quartered mushrooms..give a stir to coat them well with spices.Cook for a minute stirring occasionally till flavors blend and mushrooms shrink slightly.

                                          added peas and mushrooms

                                          stirred and cooked for a minute

Next add soaked Basmati rice(all water drained),chopped spring onion greens.Gently toss to coat rice with ghee and spices.Add water immediately,season with salt.Pressure cook over high heat for 2 whistles.Turn off thereafter and remove pot from heat.

                                          added soaked,drained Basmati rice

                                          added spring onion greens

                                          tossed for evenly coating rice with ghee

                                          added water and salt

When pressure releases automatically and completely...remove weight and let cooked pilaf sit inside pot for another 15 minutes.Then open lid,add remaining 1 tablespoon ghee to cooked rice and gently fluff pilaf with a fork being careful to keep the cooked grains intact.Remove whole cinnamon,cloves and serve immediately.

                                          cooked rice pilaf

                                          gently fluffed up after adding ghee



A From The Blogger’s Keyboard

ü Soak rice for not more than ten minutes.Drain out all water before adding it to pot.

ü Spices are given a stir to help release their aroma into ghee.

ü Use the freshest,firm button mushrooms for the best tasting rice.

ü While frying chopped garlic in ghee…care must be taken not to over cook/burn it.It gets further cooked during proceeding steps.

ü Mushrooms release moisture into cooked pilaf.So,take care not to use more water than mentioned.

ü Correct soaking time and right amount of water result in a pilaf with bloomed grains of rice…not sticking to each other.

ü Follow pressure cooking instructions for a delicious rice…let cooked pilaf sit for 15 minutes before you try fluffing it up.

ü Adding a tablespoon of ghee before fluffing rice grains ensures a delicious fragrance in the pilaf.It prevents rice grains from clinging to each other.

ü Be very gentle while fluffing rice with a fork….this way the grains don’t get deformed.

Happy Cooking & Have A Beautiful Day!!! J
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Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Festive Treat : Chena Bara Matar Curry




Bring home the joy of feasting with this curry and get your craving for a comforting,delicious and crowd pleasing dish settled.JWith cloud-like soft ricotta dumplings paired with fresh green peas in a cashew-poppy seed enriched gravy.....this delicacy enlivens cooking and feasting alike.
What we really love about this gives you ample opportunity to play with food...and if you consider cooking a way to relax...this dish is a must try.JOf all the rich and simple,comforting and dexterous curries we have enjoyed as a child....this recipe has been treasured.We make this curry a number of ways...of them this makes it to the table during celebrations.J
You could make the ricotta dumplings a day before...refrigerate them in a clean and dry container.It is very important to add these dumplings a few minutes before you intend to serve the curry....that way...they remain plump and soft....Enjoy!!!J

Serves:4 (Makes 12 ricotta dumplings with gravy)

Ingredients Required:

For the dumplings,

1 large cup ricotta cheese(made from 1 lt milk;click here for the recipe)

1/4 teaspoon asfoetida powder (pisi hing)

1 tablespoon all purpose flour (maida)

12 small raisins (kismis) cleaned

1 tablespoon chickpea flour (besan) for dusting

a pinch salt (not more)

Oil (enough for deep frying dumplings)

For the gravy,

1/2 cup fresh green pea pods,thawed if frozen and cleaned

1 medium sized red onion peeled,cleaned and roughly chopped

Garlic pods peeled,cleaned and roughly chopped- 1 tablespoon

Ginger cleaned,peeled and roughly chopped- 1 tablespoon

1 large tomato cleaned and roughly chopped

1 medium sized tomato cubed

3 medium hot green chilies cleaned,stem removed and slit(varies as per taste)

1 medium bay leaf(tej patta)

1 inch stick cinnamon(dalchini)

3 whole cloves(laung)

2 plump green cardamoms(choti elaichi) crushed slightly

1 teaspoon cumin seeds(sabut jeera)

1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder(pisi haldi)

3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika powder(pisi Kashmiri mirch)

1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander powder(pisa bhuna dhania)

1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder(pisa bhuna jeera;click here for the recipe)

1 + 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro/coriander leaves

3 tablespoons oil

salt to taste

For gravy thickener,

1+1/2 tablespoons raw cashewnut bits(kaju)

1+1/2 tablespoons white poppy seeds(khus khus)

Optional Garnish- A few cashew nut halves fried till browned by a few shades and a few raisins fried till plump

Process:  For gravy thickener,

Place cashew bits and poppy seeds (for thickening gravy) in a heat proof bowl.Add 1/3 cup boiling hot water into bowl and let ingredients soak for 30-40 minutes before pasting.

                                          ingredients in heat proof bowl

                                          soaked in hot water

Thereafter...strain all water out of soaked cashew-poppy seeds.Place cashew-poppy mix in a spice grinder.Run once dry.Open lid and add a tablespoon of water.Close lid and process again.Repeat with another tablespoon if necessary till soaked cashew-poppy seeds are ground to a smooth paste.

                                          ready to be pasted
                                          a smooth paste

                                          small raisins for dumplings-peas for gravy

For making dumplings,
Drain out all excess liquid from ricotta cheese(squeeze well for removing maximum possible moisture).Place this ricotta cheese in a plate.Add asfoetida powder,pinch salt and all purpose flour.

                                          ingredients for making dumplings

Knead all ingredients(plated) very well...for about 5 minutes or till we get a roughly formed,well mixed dough.

                                          kneaded till well mixed 

Now divide this dough into 12 equal sized portions and flatten them slightly.

                                          divided into equal portions

Place a tiny raisin at center of each flattened cheese disc.

                                          placed a raisin at center

Gently roll these dough discs into smooth,crack-free balls...encasing the raisin inside each.

                                          raisin stuffed rolled dumplings

Sprinkle chickpea flour on a plate.Roll each formed dumpling on it till well coated.Dust out excess flour.Repeat for rest dumplings.

                                          chickpea four on a plate

                                          dumpling ready to be coated and readied

                                          dusted off excess flour

Heat enough oil(half the height of dumplings) in a pan.When oil gets well heated...turn heat to medium.Gently add prepared dumplings into oil...keeping enough space between them.

                                          dumplings added into hot oil

After about a minute gently turn dumplings to cook them on all sides.Keep frying till they turn a golden brown on all sides equally.

                                          turned dumplings while frying

                                          frying till gloden brown on all sides

Use a slotted spoon and remove fried dumplings from oil.Turn off heat and set fried dumplings aside.You may refrigerate them as mentioned for the next day or use it the same day.

                                          prepared dumplings

For preparing gravy,

                                          a few ingredients

Grind roughly chopped onion,ginger,garlic and large tomato into a thick puree adding a few spoons of water if required.

                                          roughly chopped ingredients

                                          pureed well

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet.When hot....add bay leaf,cinnamon stick,cloves and crushed cardamoms into it...stir for a second and turn heat to low.

                                          whole spices in oil

Next add slit green chilies and cumin seeds into oil.Stir till chilies change color and cumin seeds crackle.Pour pre-made onion-tomato-ginger-garlic paste into oil.Turn heat to medium-high.

                                          added slit green chilies and cumin

                                          chilies change color and cumin crackles

                                          added prepared paste

Use a spatula and fry ingredients moving it in a clock wise direction till raw smell disappears and most moisture evaporates.

                                          stirred and cooked spice paste

                                          till most moisture evaporates

Next add cubed tomato...give a stir.Add turmeric and chili powders.Stir occasionally and cook till paste dries up slightly...take care it doesn't burn.

                                          added turmeric and chili powders

                                          stirred and cooked till paste dries slightly

Next add cumin powder,coriander powder and garam masala powder.Turn heat to medium...Stir well to mix and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes or till flavors blend well.

                                          added spice powders

                                          stirred and cooked till flavors blend

Add prepared cashew-poppy paste(gravy thickener)...stir once.Add 1+1/2 cups of water..stir well to mix ingredients.

                                          added cashew-poppy paste

                                          a quick stir

                                          added water and mixed well

When gravy starts boiling...add green pea pods,coriander leaves and cook stirring occasionally till peas turn tender and gravy thickens.

                                          gravy starts boiling

                                          added green peas

                                          added coriander leaves

                                          cooked till peas tender and gravy thickens

At this time...we opt for removing whole spices and slit chilies out of gravy.By this time their flavor is well imparted into curry.

                                          removed whole spices-slit chilies

                                          gravy ready

Finally...add fried cheese dumplings into gravy...turn heat to low...cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes till dumplings turn soft and plump.Serve immediately garnished with fried cashew halves and raisins.This curry goes well with pilafs/flat breads.

                                          added fried dumplings

                                          simmered in gravy till plump and soft

                                          for garnish



A From The Blogger’s Keyboard

ü Drain all liquid out of ricotta cheese before making dumplings.

ü Use just a pinch of salt while making dumplings.They soak up flavors and salt from gravy later.Rolling dumplings in chickpea flour prior to frying helps give them a crisp coat and prevents their deformation while frying.

ü As mentioned…you can prepare dumplings and store them a day before.Simmer dumplings in gravy just before you intend to serve…else they get slightly firm with time and lose their soft,plump texture.

ü Paste cashew bits and poppy seeds only when well soaked and at room temperature.

ü Follow the process and take care to grind them till completely smooth.

ü While frying pureed spices in oil…stirring occasionally in a clock wise direction promotes even cooking,evaporation of moisture,blending flavors well without burning any ingredients.

ü Removing whole spices and slit chilies before simmering dumplings in gravy ensures a delicious gravy.

Happy Cooking & Have A Beautiful Day!!! J

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