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.

Dakshin paneer do pyaaza

Regional flavours of India are truely amazing. The same type of dish will taste differently in every state of India. The secret lies in the spices of course. Each state and sometimes even cities have some favourite spice which is dominant in most dishes. Todays recipe is the do pyaaza. Almost every indian is familiar with this dish where onion is used in 2 forms, a ground paste of onions as well as sliced onions. In todays recipe, I have used whole shallots ( also called sambhar onions) as well as sliced onions. The Dakshin or southern twist is in the simple masala made dominantly with udad dal also known as black lentils. Udad dal rules southern India where its use in almost all idli and dosa preparation is extensive. Using Paneer in this dish gives it a north Indian twist.

Growing up in Pune, my knowledge of south Indian food was limited to dosa, idli and medu wada. Going to Priya restaurant for these treats was often, and something to look forward to. The fragrance of food as you entered this small and cozy restaurant on main street was mouth watering . Of course, the waiters would always direct us to go upstairs where it was for families and ladies only.

My interest in cooking led me to try out different dishes from all over India, leaving a medly of recipes in my cookbook. Spices in the south use udad dal which is roasted slowly and powdered with red chillies and asafoetida, peppercorns etc. Aside from the mainstays,South India also has a huge variety of delicious vegetatarian and non vegetarian food.

Todays recipe is based on chettinad style of cooking. Please do try this simple dish and serve with chappaties or adai rotis made with rice flour.

Ingredients

200 gms paneer cut into cubes

15 shallots

1 sliced onion

2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 th tsp hing/ asafoetida

2 or 3 dry red chillies

15 black peppercorns

1 tbsp split udad dal

Corriander leaves to garnish

Method

1. Dry roast together, udad dal, black peppercorns and dry red chillies. When the dal turns a light golden brown, shut the flame and keep aside to cool. Grind into a fine powder and keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds , hing and curry leaves.

3. Now add whole shallots and stir fry on a low flame till the out skin of the shallots starts turning soft and light golden…about 4 to 5 mins.

4. Add the paneer and stir fry further for 5 mins and add sliced onions. Also add the tamarind paste.

5. Add salt to taste and powdered spice mixture. Mix well.

6. Cook further for few mins and add chopped corriander leaves.

Serve hot.

Pahadi aloo sabji

Todays recipe is based on potatoes which are cooked in the hilly regions of north india. I came across this recipe years ago and since then its been marked as a favourite in my diary. Simple to cook and made in a jiffy. Best eaten with a soft phulka, the aromatic flavours of saunf( fennel seeds) just hit your palatte in a burst of tasty goodness. I have used baby potatoes in this dish as I find they hold their shape well after steaming or boiling.

Potatoes in any form are a favourite all over the world and adapt so well to any cuisine. Be it the american hash browns, french fries , mashed potatoes.. or the swiss pototo rosetti..or our own Indian cuisine. From the delicious aloo ka parantha in the north to poshto aloo made with poppy seeds in the east to pao wada in the west upto the aloo sabzi stuffed in crispy dosas in the south.

Memories of the humble potato ruling my mothers kitchen still linger. Sundays normally meant having fried potato tikkis in the evenings for snacks while door darshan played some old bollywood movies on our black and white tv sets. Of course the tikkis were served with slices of white bread and fresh mint chutney. And most often than not this snack was filling enough not to have anything more for dinner. Only to wait eagerly for the jelly and custard which was a favourite dessert at home. Left over uncooked tikkis were sometimes made into aloo toasters. Sandwiched between two slices of bread buttered on the outside to be toasted manually on the gas stove in a quaint sandwich toaster. This served with tomato ketchup was good to go for breakfast. No one was fussy about carbohyderates or calories..life was fun and happy go lucky…simple pleasures of life were the norm….oh those good old days….

Do try this recipe, team it up with sindhi dal makhni or any of your favourite dal.

Ingredients

Pahadi aloo sabji

250 gms baby potatoes boiled, peeled and halved.

( or normal boiled potatoes, peeled and cubed)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp saunf ( fennel seeds)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsps freshly ground saunf powder

2 or 3 dry red chillies broken

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 sliced onion

2 tbsp thick tamarind paste

2 tbsp honey

Salt to taste

Chopped corriander leaves

2 tbsps mustard oil

Method

Heat oil in a pan, and add cumin seeds and saunf.

Saute till fragrant.

Add ginger, garlic, dry red chillies and sliced onion

Now add the potatoes and salt

Saute for few mins

Add saunf powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder

Finally add tamarind paste and honey

Mix well…and serve hot , garnished with chopped corriander leaves and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Vegetarian fish seyal

When I say vegetarian fish, its the way this unique dish is presented. Making use of cabbage leaves to make rolls filled with a besan(chick pea flour) paste, and then deep fried , causing the cabbage to look like the skin of a fish.

Many years ago, I found this recipe in THE VEGETARIAN COOK BOOK BY SADHU VASWANI CENTER. Over the years I have made this dish frequently and with good results. It does require a little extra time, but the results are worth it.😊

Besan ki sabji is made in many different ways, the Rajhasthani people call it gaathe ki sabji, where in besan is mixed with spices, oil and water to form a dough, which is then made into small balls or cylindrical logs. These balls are then boiled in water , to be cooked and then added to delicious gravies.

We sindhis also make a delicious besan sabji, called besan ji ani. But the shape given to the dough is normally like small tikkis. These tikkis or anis are either steamed or fried, and added to different gravies.And the gravy to go with this is normally a seyal onion tomato one. Seyal gravy normally lets the onions turn just a light golden instead of brown. Its one of the basic gravies sindhis use.

The recipe I will share with you today uses besan and cabbage leaves. Do try this delicious sabji with hot phulkas…

Ingredients for the rolls

5 cabbage leaves, thick vein removed.

1 cup besan( chickpea flour)

2 tbsps chopped onion

1 tsp whole corriander seeds

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red chillie powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsps chopped corriander leaves

1/4th to 1/3 rd cup water

Thread to tie the rolls..

Method

Soften the cabbage leaves by putting them in boiling water for a minute. Remove and pat dry.

Mix the besan, cumin seeds, red chilli powder, salt, corriander seeds and onions along with the water to make a thick paste.

Take a cabbage leaf, apply the besan paste, roll up the leaf and tie with a thread to keep it secured.

Deep fry the cabbage rolls, discard the thread and keep aside.

The cabbage after being fried looks like the skin of fish…hence the name.

Ingredients for the seyal gravy

2 finely chopped onions

3 tomatoes pureed

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 tbsps chopped ginger

1/2 cup yogurt

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsps red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

1 tsp shah jeera…caraway seeds

1/2 tsp ajwain

Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan, add onions and salt .

When onions turn a pale golden brown, add cumin seeds and ajwain, and ginger, garlic.

Saute well, add red chilli powder, turmeric and garam masala.

Now add pureed tomatoes and let cook for a while, when oil seperates, add beaten curd and chopped corriander leaves.

After 5 mins, add the fried cabbage rolls.

Cover and cook for 5 mins.

Serve hot with phulkas.

SINDHI TALEBADI (KEEME JO LOLO) USING SOYA GRANULES

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Many families in different parts of the world will surely have a meatloaf, or lolo as we sindhis call it on their menu. Of course the recipes will vary from the bland to the spicy or from rich to simple. Meat loaf is something which innovative housewives created using leftover cooked mince of beef, mutton or chicken. This dish has been popular in the sindhi community , and every sindhi homemaker will surely serve it on special occasions. Cooked mince and beaten eggs along with pasta come together to form a sindhi keeme jo lolo, which is normally steamed. Todays recipe is made with soya granules and eggs.

Growing up In a sindhi household , this lolo or talebadi was made when special guests were coming for dinner. Mummy would make at least 2 thalis (a steel platter with a raised rim).. The mutton keema(minced meat) was cooked lovingly till dry with aromatic spicies and cooled. Beaten eggs and cooked pasta ( makaroni) were mixed into the keema , and pored into the greased thalis. Generous amount of tomato ketchup was applied on the top and then the thalis were put into hot steamers.. The aroma of this delicious lolo wafted into the kitchen and we as children waited for the lolo to be cooked and served. It was cut into square pieces when cool and wiped clean in minutes..:). This lolo is also protein packed, easy to cook and can be served with a salad on the side to make a complete meal

Today when I make this at home, I prefer using vegetarian soya granules/ nutri/ protina. This is my husbands favourite. Do try this recipe which is perfect for vegetarians who eat eggs.

Ingredients

1 small cup of soya granules boiled in water for 10 mins, drain and squeeze out excess water.

3 tbsps oil

2 big onions finely chopped

2 tomatoes pureed

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp shah jeeri (caraway seeds)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp corriander powder

salt to taste

1 cup boiled pasta..( I use elbow macaroni)

3 eggs lightly beaten

few tbsps of tomato sauce

grated cheese for garnish

chopped corriander for garnish as well as cooking

method..

Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp of oil, to this add the boiled soya granules and saute till the granules become a little crispy. Remove and keep aside in a bowl.

In the same pan add 2 tbsps of oil and add onions,saute till limp and translucent. At this point add 1 tsp salt to the onions to hasten the browning process, cook till onions turn a golden brown.

Add caraway seeds ( shah jeeri) and ginger garlic paste.

Now add tomato puree , red chilli powder, corriander powder and garam masala.

Cook till the whole mixture comes together and oil seperates

Add soya granules and roast for a good 15 mins until fragrant.

Add 1/2 cup water and cover and cook till done.

Let the mixture be dry.. we don’t want a watery mixture.

Shut the fire and cool completely,

Mix the boiled macaroni into the cooked keema

Fold in 3 beaten eggs and chopped corriander leaves.

Pour into a greased springform pan..and dot with tomato ketchup

Garnish with grated cheese and corriander leaves

Steam in a hot steamer for 30 mins or untill set

Cool, cut into squares or wedges and serve at room temperature.

SARSON(MUSTARD) PANEER AND PEAS WITH CHILLI OIL KULCHA

This recipe which is a fusion recipe, combines the tanginess of mustard and the smoothness of coconut milk. East India  merges with south India.  Mustard is one the most important spice in Bengali cooking, whole mustard seeds, or paste of mustard seeds are happily incorporated into daily cooking, used liberally to coat fish and wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. I have also used  Panch phoran to temper this dish, panch phoran is a combination of 5 spices,  mustard seeds, onion seeds or kalonji as they are called in hindi, cum20171125_10462320171126_151055in seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds are mixed together and used whole to temper the oil in the beginning of the cooking process. The use of mustard oil here imparts a nice nutty flavour. I love using mustard oil , coconut oil or ghee in all my Indian cooking , these oils bring out the true regional flavours of dishes from all over India. The use of coconut milk in this recipe balances out the tartness of mustard and vinegar used.

Paneer, or cottage cheese is so widely used in India, more so in the western, northern and eastern states. We Indians love our paneer in different forms, paneer pakodas, shahi paneer, paneer parathas, paneer bhurji, rosgollas, or kalakhands. Most Indian gatherings or parties will surely have  a paneer dish on their menu. I remember, when my mom magically transformed curdled milk into a delectable sabji, just by adding a paste of green chillies and corriander leaves and some garlic. Paneer has been very subtly introduced into the chindian cuisine in place of tofu, paneer chilli fry and paneer manchurian for example. My love for paneer started with a cold paneer sandwich which was served in Greenfields restaurant in main street way back in the seventies when I was a very young girl, this awesome sandwich had thin slices of paneer sprinkled with only salt and pepper,  sandwiched between 2 slices of white bread, slathered with mayonn20171125_144846aise and topped with crisp lettuce. Sadly, this restaurant shut its doors long ago. Puneites will surely remember this restaurant fondly.

Do try this recipe, and serve it with chilli oil kulchas, recipe of which i will be sharing here.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of diced paneer

1/2 cup of green peas.( I have used frozen peas)

1 big onion, finely chopped

4 green chillies ,finely chopped

5 cloves of garlic. roughly chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, sliced

3/4 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tbsps vinegar

2 + 2 tbsps mustard oil

1/2 cup thick coconut milk

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp paanch phoran

salt to taste

1/4 tsp sugar

PANCH PHORAN..( 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds, 1/ 2 tsp fenugreek seeds and 1/2 tsp onion seeds.. mix. Use as required.) In this recipe I have used 1 tsp.

METHOD

1.. Heat 2 tbsps of mustard oil, add the mustard seeds, when the seeds stop crackling, add chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic. saute for a while, shut the gas, and cool this mixture. When it cools down add 2 tbsps of vinegar and grind this mixture to a fine paste. add water if required, keep aside

2. Heat 2 tbsps of mustard oil in a pan, add 1 tsp of paanch phoran and wait till seeds splutter and there is an amazing nutty fragrance in your kitchen, now add chopped onion and saute till light brown, add the paste of green chillies, garlic and ginger. saute for another 5 minutes.

3. Now add the chopped paneer and green peas, season with salt, sugar and turmeric. and add the coconut milk.

4.. Add half a cup of water and cover, cook  till a thick gravy is left. about 5 minutes.

serve garnished with grated cheese and chopped corriander leaves.

 

CHILLI OIL KULCHAS

Ingredients

1 cup flour

100 gms boiled and grated potato

1/4 cup yogurt

1 tbsp chilli oil

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp chilli flakes

1 tsp shah jeera..(caraway seeds)

METHOD

Mix all the ingredients to form a dough.

Divide into 8 balls and roll out  the kulchas.

Roast each kulcha on a hot tava

Finally brush with chilli oil .