Ras kalaan

A vegetarian dish which is simple to cook and delicious to eat, describes Ras kalaan, which originates from the southern state of Kerala, inspite of not containing any onions, garlic or ginger, is yet so pleasing to the palette.
In today’s recipe I have added drumsticks, sweet potato, broccoli and green peas. Normally it is made using tubers like yam or potatoes. I like adding different vegetables to this, and at times, have even used mushroons, babycorn etc . Do try this recipe which comes together very quickly.
KALAAN, A name which was so unfamiliar to me years ago, until I stumbled upon it by chance when south Indian food was a big mood with me, it was that particular year when I was cooking a lot of south Indian food. Having been born and brought up In India, I love the regional food which our great country has to offer.
Back to the KAALAN, which is basically a keralite preparation, made with fresh coconut and yogurt. Its fresh and tangy taste is so refreshing , making you want to make it it often. The ideal pairing for this vegetable is rice, though I prefer having it with a roti adai(rice flour roti)or paratha.
Many of us have a image about south Indian food which probably consists of Dosa, Idli, Uttapams etc. Reality is that its a vast platter of numerous dishes which delight the palette. So, on to the recipe. Feel free to replace any vegetables with your favourites.😊

Ras Kalaan
Ingredients
4 drumsticks..scraped,cut into 4 to 5 pieces , and boiled.
1 small sweet potatoe, boiled and cubed
1/2 cup green peas( I used frozen)
1 cup broccoli flowerlets, par boiled.
(Roughly about 200 gms mixed vegetables)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
4 dry red chillies
2 cups fresh yogurt
1 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)
1 tsp raw rice(washed)
2 tbsps palm sugar( gur) jaggery
1 or 2 green chillies
FOR TEMPERING
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies, broken into pcs
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
Few curry leaves
Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

Method
1. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a pan and add 1 tsp methi seeds and 2 dry red chillies(broken). Saute for 2 mins.
2. Grind 1 cup grated coconut, 2 cups yogurt, 2 green chillies, 1 tsp raw rice, the sauted methi seeds and dry red chillies. Grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsps coconut oil in a pan, add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tbsp chana dal and 1 tbsp udad dal, curry leaves. Saute for a while till fragrant.
4. Add the vegetables and coconut paste along with turmeric powder, salt, 2 tbsps palm sugar and half cup of water.
5. Cook for 5 to 10 mins. Untill oil seperates.
Serve hot with steamed rice, or parathas.

Achari Brinjal Moju

Achari Brinjal Moju
Brinjal lovers will love this dish which has its roots in Sri Lanka, and is a staple in most Sri lankan homes and restaurants. This is basically a fried brinjal pickle, which is served at meals normally with rice, but I prefer having it with a chappati.(flatbread). This dish comes together in no time . The crunch of deepfried brinjal and shallots, subtle tangyness of vinegar and mustard and sweetness of sugar give this simple dish a balance which is amazing. There are many twists to this recipe, each one having its own charm. In my recipe today, I have added dijon mustard to enhance the tartness and sweet mango pickle instead of sugar. You can add honey or sugar instead. Tweak the recipe at your will.
This purple coloured vegetable called eggplant or aubergine is popular in many cuisines world wide. Be it the bhaigan ka bharta in north India, where the brinjals are flame roasted, mashed and cooked in an onion tomato gravy. Or the Greek Mousakka, where aubergine, minced meat sauce and potatoes come together to form a hearty casserole. As for me, my childhood memories of eating Brinjal are not very great😊the only way I really liked it was fried and sprinkled with dry spices. Mom would cut the brinjals into round pieces, give small cuts on the surface, and soak them in salted water for a while. Then squeeze the water out and deep fry till crisp. This was normally served with khichdi or pulav. It was much later that I developed a taste for brinjal cooked as a sabzi. And today its one of my favourite vegetable.😊 The aroma of brinjal being fried in the kitchen always draws me in to grab a few pcs of fried brinjal ..top on my list😊

Do try this simple and tasty recipe.

Ingredients
250 gms purple brinjal
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps cornflour
10 shallots
2 green chillies and 2 red chillies ( cut slantingly)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsps chopped garlic
1 tbsps finely chopped ginger
1/2 tbsp freshly powdered mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsps black pepper powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp homemade sweet mango chutney or achaar (pickle) or honey or powdered sugar. I have used my homemade sweet mango achaar.
2 tbsps fried onions
2 tbsps coconut oil
Some chopped corriander leaves.
Salt to taste

Method..
1..Cut brinjals into finger stick size.
Soak in salted water for an hour, squeeze dry, roll in a mixture of flour and cornflour. Deep fry till crisp. Keep aside.
Also deep fry the shallots and sliced chillies.

2… Mix mustard seed powder, dijon mustard, vinegar and sweet mango chutney together in a small bowl.

3…Heat 2 tbsps of coconut oil and saute curry leaves, ginger, garlic till fragrant. Shut the fire and add cinnamon, pepper and salt..mix well

4..Add the dijon mustard mix, fried brinjals, fried shallots and chillies.
Stir well and serve garnished with chopped corriander and fried onions.

** can be eaten at room temperature.
***best made at time of serving and consumed immediately.

Vegan omelette with Premix Recipe.

In a world where instant is becoming a norm, whether its instant noodles or instant meals which only need to be reheated. Everyone wants to cook something that is not time consuming or tedious and at the same time, nutritious. Today’s recipe is all that, instant and quick. A premix is always handy to have around in our pantry, and if it is a homemade premix, rest assured you are stress free knowing no preseravatives and chemicals are in it. HOMEMADE is the new normal now, especially since the world wide lockdown. A vegetarian omelette premix, which is also vegan is a boon to have, breakfast and snacking or even a light meal are suitably covered.
Growing up in Pune, my mom made a vegetarian omelette from besan(chick pea flour) frequently. This was our meal on days when she did not feel like cooking😊. 2 slices of white bread and a crisp besan omelette and tomato ketchup. Soul satisfying. I have added oats and flaxseed powder to the premix, making it more nutritious. This premix quantity will yield about 275 gms, which is good enough for about 15 medium omelettes. This premix stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

1 cup besan( chick pea flour)
1 cup oats
1/4 cup semolina
1/4 cup flaxseed
3 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp red chillie powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp saunf ( fennel seeds)
1 tsp jeera( cumin seeds)
1 tsp ajwain( carom seeds)

Method
Roast the sesame seeds for few mins and keep aside.
Grind seperately the oats and and flax seeds to a fine powder.
Mix together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl .
Store in an air tight container

To make the omelette.
In a bowl, take 2 tbsps of the premix and add about 2 or 3 tbsps of water( you might need more) mix gently and add some chopped onions and corriander leaves, and if you like it spicy add chopped chillies. Now mix and add little water to get a batter which is medium thin. Not to thin nor thick.
Heat a non stick pan, brush with oil and using about 2 or 3 tbsps of batter spread out making a thin omellete. Pour little oil around the omelette. Once crisp on the underside, flip over and let it become crisp. Serve with a chutney or chillie sauce.

Sindhi fusion Dal pakwan

This delicious dish of sindhi origin, barely needs an introduction,as it is so well known , almost like a trade mark for us sindhis. Crispy Pakwan( fried flat bread) topped with a creamy dal chana, garnished with citrusy onion relish, and a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, with a sprinkling of red chillie powder, its a match made in heaven, in terms of gastronomy.

Dal chana( lentils)is cooked to a creamy consistency, normally bland with just salt and turmeric. But I have been making the dal with a green twist since years, and its remained an earmarked recipe im my cook book.My version is slightly different , as I have added ginger, garlic and green chillies, and the addition of cardamom powder as it brings a subtle rich flavour to the dal, this is my fusion version😊
Mostly served for breakfast on lazy sundays.Growing up in pune, mummy usually made the dal at home, and prefered getting the pakwans from the sindhi uncle at babajan chowk, who sold dal pakwan from his cart only on sundays., It was something we looked forward to. In India it is sold in carts, in sindhi dominated areas, or even sweetmeat shops. That is not to say that only sindhi people relish this soul satisfying dish😊. People from all walks of life love and appreciate the deliciousness of dal pakwan.
Try making this at home and listen to the satisfying sighs around your table…😊
Yes, making pakwan is time consuming, but well worth the effort.

Ingredients for dal
1 cup dal chana ( Rinsed and soaked in water for 4 hours)
2 green chillies
5 pods garlic
1 inch pc of ginger
12 curry leaves..chopped finely.
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ajwain( carom seeds)
1/2 tsp saunf( fennel seeds)
1 tsp finely ground cardamon powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt, or as needed.
Method.
Boil the dal till soft, but not mashed.
Grind ginger, garlic and green chillies with little water.
Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, ajwain, saunf, curry leaves, add cardamon powder and turmeric powder.
Add the ginger garlic green chillie paste and saute for a while.
Now add the boiled dal and salt.
Add 1 cup water and let it cook on medium flame till the dal reaches to a thick consistency, but not mashed. Pour in a bowl and garnish with khatti meethi chutney, kechumbo kotmir and a sprinkle of red chillie powder.
Serve with pakwan,

Ingredients for Pakwan
1 cup flour( maida)
1 level tsp salt
1/2 tsp jeeri( caraway seeds)
1/2 tsp ajwain( carom seeds)
1 tbsp oil
Cold water to knead the flour.

Mix flour, jeeri, ajwain, salt and oil.
Add some cold water and knead a stiff dough. Dough should not be soft nor very hard. Medium hard dough. Knead well till pliable . Cover with a wet napkin and keep aside for half an hour. Now make small balls of the dough, roll out into thin puris. Prick with a fork.
Fill a wok with oil to upto half level
Heat till oil is medium hot.
Slide in the puris, press with a sloted spoon,for few seconds. Then let the puri continue to cook untill its crisp and golden brown.
Each pakwan takes upto 5 mins on a low to medium flame. Remove and keep aside.

Serve with a onion relish( kachumbo)
Cut one onion finely, add sliced green chillies, add little salt. Then wash under running water. Strain properly, add little sugar, vinegar and salt.

Khatti meeti chutney( sweet and sour sauce)
Boil together 4 tbsps thick tanarind paste with 4 tbsps grated jaggery. Abd about 10 tbsps water. Cook till medium thick.. strain into a bowl, add little salt, red chillie powder and jeera powder.

Aloo ka Salan with Khameeri Roti

ALOO or POTATO, one of the most popular and versatile vegetabe in the world. This wonderful root vegetable, takes on all flavours beautifuly, when teamed with meat or vegetables. Today’s recipe is based on a recipe from the book DAASTAN E DASTARKHAN by Sadaf Hussain. I loved reading this book which has awesome recipes . A cook book well written with each recipe having its own small memory attached to it.

In India, every region has its own popular recipes for aloo sabji/ salaan. The sookha aloo puri served in maharashtra, which is a popular dish to take on long train journeys, or the aloo or potato chaats of Banaras which are oh so spicy and tangy, the Dum aloo of Awadi cuisine and so on.
Potatoes are a favourite with children and adults. Also considered to be healthy carbs, unless fried.
But the pleasure of eating french fries dipped in different sauces, or biting into a piece of sindhi aloo tuk, double fried crispy goodness is something which I love. So when I came across this interesting recipe incorporating anjeer( dried figs) I knew I had to make this. And believe me it was a very tasty sabji which I paired with Khameeri Roti.

INGREDIENTS For Aloo Salan
4 boiled potatoes, cubed.
1 big onion finely chopped
2 +1 tbsps of mustard oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
4 medium tomates, finely chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
2 tsp khus khus(poppy seeds) soaked in 1 tsp water, then ground to a paste.
1 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turneric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 or 3 dried figs , diced.
Salt to taste
Fresh corriander leaves.

METHOD.
Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a pan and sauted the boiled potatoes till crisp.
Remove and keep aside.
Heat 2 tbsps mustard oil , when it smokes add onions and saute till translucent.
Add cumin seeds, and ginger garlic.
Cook for few mins before adding the tomatoes, green chilli and all the dry spices.
Add the khus khus paste and diced figs.
Season with salt to taste.
Toss in the potatoes, and about half cup of water.
Reduce the heat and let it simmer covered for about 10 mins.
Adjust the gravy as you wish, I prefer a thick gravy which can be mopped up with a soft roti.
Garnish with corriander leaves.
KHAMEERI ROTI
In a deep bowl take 250 gms flour
Add 1 tbsp instant yeast, 1 tsp powdered sugar , 1 tsp salt.
Mix the dry ingredients and add 1 tbsp of oil. Rub with finger tips.
Add 100 ml of warm milk and 50 ml of warm water.
Knead to a smooth dough adding 1 tbsp oil as you go.
Cover with cling wrap and keep in a warm place for 1 hour.
After one hour, DON’T punch down the risen dough.
Just divide into 6 and roll out thin rotis.
Heat a tawa and put one roti, cook on high heat.
Flip after few mins and baste with flavoured oil, pressing with a spatula as you go.
Sprinkle corriander leaves .
And flip again.
Remove onto a plate.
Serve hot.
# Basting oil..
Take 1/4 cup oil, add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, and 1/4 tsp red chilli powder.

Sindhi Aisi bhaji/sabji (spinach and Ridge gourd)

Todays Delicious recipe is in memory of my dear mother in law, who made this particular version of spinach and turaiya, whenever I had given birth to my children. Supposedly very good for lactating mothers. She made sure I ate this sabji every second day for 40 days after child birth. It had to be turaiya every day, either mixed with spinach or made plain with only cardamom, which we sindhis call as phote bhugun turiyuoon And to be frank I loved eating both these variations. She sometimes served it with plain chappatis and sometimes with mitho lolo( sweet flat bread).The only thing that she omitted was chillies. Aisi, otherwise would mean only spinach cooked plain with out the addition of any other vegetables. But, this version of mummy is really very tasty..😊

The way this sabji is cooked is almost like the famous sindhi saibhaji, but the addition of turaiya gives it super silky texture. We cook it in the pressure cooker and mash it towards the end till everything is one beautiful green smooth sabji. Adding garlic once while cooking and once as a tadka just enhances the taste.

Spinach was not my favourite vegetable when we were growing up, but as an adult it definately has a special place in my list of favourite vegetables. I remember my mother making tikkis out of left over saibhaji, just by adding boiled potatoes after drying out the sai bhaji as much as possible by cooking it further. She always panfried the tikkis which were yummy… A close cousin to the hara bhara tikkis which we relish at Indian restaurants.

Do try this simple recipe and serve with any simple pulav or phulkas.

Ingredients

350 gms peeled and chopped turaiya/ ridge gourd

150 gms chopped spinach

1 big onion finely chopped

2 tomatoes sliced

4 green chillies finely chopped

2 tbsps chopped garlic

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp methi seeds

1/2 tsp hing..asafoetida

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

3 tbsps oil

Method..

Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pressure cooker and add methi seeds, cumin and hing. Saute till fragrant.

Add chopped onion and saute till golden brown.

Add 1 tbsp of garlic, ginger and green chillies.

Add tomatoes, corriander powder, turmeric, salt

When tomatoes are pulpy, add chopped turaiya and cook till the turaiya start letting out water.

Add the chopped spinach and 1/4 cup of water.

Close the cooker and cook for 3 to 4 whistles.

Open the lid, and churn with a wooden hand churner( mandiro) or an electric whisk.

Lastly heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan, add 1 tbsp chopped garlic and fry till pale golden. Add this tadka to the sabji…mix well and serve.

The complete Sindhi meal with Basar jo pulav, ( onion pulav) sookha aloo( potatoes with dry spices) Boondi raita, some fryums and onion carrot achar.

The cold sandwich cake

The cold sandwich cake

When sandwiches are mentioned everyone has thier own favourites. Sandwiches eaten during our school days in the Seventies , were very basic, as every Indian school going child will remember. Mostly white bread with butter and jam, or if you were lucky cheese and butter.Cheese was a luxury which not everyone had, especially in India. If you were lucky and had relatives staying abroad, then you would recieve small tins of kraft cheese😊. Of course Amul cheese cubes were already around, but were a little out of reach for an average middle class family. Back to sandwiches, my grandfather always had a slice of bread with green corriander and mint chutney as his evening snack. Those were the days when chutney was made using a grinding stone. The aroma of fresh mint and corriander leaves being crushed with green chillies and garlic is till today etched in my memory..

Whoever has lived in Pune, even for a short time will surely know about the Marzorin sandwiches. Soft crustless bread, filled with chicken, eggs, tomato and chutney… I crave these sandwiches even today…and they are a must on all my visits to Pune.

Todays recipe is a mixture of all my childhood memories..

Credit for the chicken pate filling goes to my friend hilda mascarenhas, who writes a wonderful food blog, hildastouchofspice.com. Do visit her food blog .

The cold sandwich cake

Basically you will require 3 types of fillings, and 16 slices of crustless bread

Ingredients..for chicken pate.

1 chicken breast

3 to 4 tbsps mayonaise

1 tbsps mustard paste

1 tsp honey

2 tbsps grated cucumber( helps to keep the filling moist)

Salt, pepper.

1 tbsp chopped celery leaves.

Method…

Boil the chicken in water which has been seasoned with salt and pepper.

Dispose the chicken bones, and put the meat in a food processor along with chopped celery..Pulse it and transfer the shredded chicken to a bowl, and add mayonaise, mustard, honey and cucumber. You should have a moist mixture. Keep aside.

Ingredients for second layer

4 Boiled eggs, sliced.

Sliced tomatoes

Sliced cucumber

Butter

Ingredients for 3rd layer

1/ 4 th cup mayonaise

1/ 2 cup basil leaves

2 green chillies

2 cloves of garlic

Juice of one lime

Salt

4 slices of cheese.

Method…

Blend basil leaves, chillies, garlic, lime and mayonaise together to get a pretty green spread, season with salt and a pinch of sugar.

Other ingredients are, finely sliced radishes, shredded carrot, shredded lettuce leaves, alfalfa sprouts and mayonaise.

Method

Keep 4 slices of bread on a serving platter, in a neat square.

Apply butter thinly, and add the chicken pate, level till all the 4 slices of bread are covered.

Cover with 4 slices of bread, and apply butter lightly, top with sliced tomatoes sliced eggs, and sliced cucumber…season with salt and pepper.

Cover with 4 slices of bread, apply the basil mayonaise and top with 4 slices of cheese in a single layer..

Lastly, top with 4 slices of bread, whose underside is spread with basil mayonaise.

Press down gently, and apply mayonaise all over the sandwich, covering it from all sides.

Gently press shredded lettuce, carrots all over sides and top…decorate with radish slices, cucumber slices, and alfalfa sprouts.

Chill thoroughly, cut into wedges and serve

A beautiful centerpiece is ready for your parties..

SINDHI LASAGNA (MANI SEYAL CAKE)

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As the name suggests , todays recipe is of the quintessential breakfast of  sindhi homes.  Down the ages, some innovative home maker thought of using left over rotis in a practical form and came up with this delicious dish. Almost all sindhi homes serve this dish, but in many forms. Seyal maani( chappati) or Seyal dabroti using bread has many different recipes. Green masala paste or an onion based gravy is cooked and either bread or rotis are added to the simmering gravy and allowed to soak up the masala gravy. The normal procedure would be to tear up the chappatis into pieces and add to boiling gravy and cooked till the liquid evaporates , which would be within a few minutes. But, my mother in law made this dish in a unique way and that was stacking the chappatis or bread with the thick gravy between layers and building it up into a layered cake. A little extra effort and a pretty looking dish was ready to be served. Resembling an Italian lasagna but made with fewer ingredients.

Growing up, mummy made this dish once a week for breakfast, mostly on saturdays and was savoured by my grandparents, the plus point being its soft texture which was easy for them to consume. The leftover green paste was stored and very often my mom applied it on a chappati, folded it into a half circle and roasted it on a hot tawa with a little oil till crisp.. a delicious side dish ready in minutes.

Do try out this recipe and enjoy a sindhi dish which does not take long to cook and with all the ingredients easily available in our homes.

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SINDHI LASAGNA OR SEYAL MAANI ( CHAPPATI)

INGREDIENTS

8 LEFTOVER CHAPPATIS

1 CUP CHOPPED CORRIANDER LEAVES

4 CLOVES GARLIC

6 GREEN CHILLIES

2 TOMATOES .. BLEND INTO A PULP

2 TBSPS FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

1 TBSP LIME JUICE

1 TSP SUGAR

2 TSPS CORRIANDER POWDER

2 TSPS CUMIN SEEDS

1 TSP TURMERIC POWDER

SALT TO TASTE

METHOD

1.. BLEND THE CORRIANDER LEAVES , 4 CLOVES GARLIC AND 6 GREEN CHILLIS INTO A FINE PASTE WITH A LITTLE WATER AND KEEP ASIDE.

2.. HEAT 2 TBSPS OIL AND ADD THE CUMIN SEEDS, NEXT ADD CHOPPED GARLIC AND SAUTE TILL FRAGRANT, NOW ADD THE CORRIANDER POWDER AND TURMERIC POWDER, ALONG WITHE TOMATO PULP AND SALT. COOK FOR A FEW MINUTES. FINALLY ADD THE GREEN PASTE AND COOK FOR JUST 2 MINUTES, ADD LIME JUICE AND SUGAR, MIX WELL AND REMOVE INTO A BOWL.

3.. NOW TAKE A WIDE BOWL AND ADD 1 TBSP OF THE COOKED GREEN MASALA AND ADD HALF CUP OF WATER TO IT.. THIS MIXTURE IS FOR DIPPING THE CHAPPATIS, TO MOISTEN THEM.

4..HEAT ONE TBSP OF OIL IN A PAN, AND ADD 1 TBSP OF THE COOKED MASALA TO IT.

5.. GENTLY DIP ONE CHAPPATI IN THE GREEN WATER MIXTURE, AND PUT IT IMMEDIATELY INTO THE FRYING PAN, APPLY SOME GREEN MASALA ONTO IT AND REPEAT WITH ANOTHER CHAPPATI..MAKE LAYERS WITH MOISTENED CHAPPATIS AND GREEN MASALA , FINISHING WITH GREEN MASALA ON TOP LAYER, ALL THIS SHOULD BE DONE ON LOW HEAT.

6.. COVER AND COOK FOR 5 MINS.

7..SLIDE THE STACK OF CHAPPATIS GENTLY ONTO A SERVING PLATE WITH A FLAT SPATULA AND GARNISH WITH GRATED CHEESE OR CHOPPED CORRIANDER. CUT INTO WEDGES AND SERVE .