Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lima beans in Tomato Gravy- A no onion, no garlic recipe

Butter beans or Lima beans is one legume that I never grew up eating. It was never cooked in my mother's or my Grandmother's place and neither was it made in my In-law's place. So I never knew what to make out of these white colored legumes. It was only a few days back that I got to taste Lima beans in the form of this curry. I was instantly smitten by this dish and I had to ask for the recipe.

Rich and spicy tomato gravy, Soft and chewy beans, slightly bitter undertones of Dried fenugreek leaves and lots of coriander leaves on top. This pretty much describes this unassuming curry. Similar to the rajma masala, this curry can be made for those quick weeknight meals. This Gujarati Style, Lima beans curry is quick to prepare and quite comforting. All of you who love beans or legumes for sides, would know how addictive it can get.

Lima beans in tomato gravy is wholesome yet it does not require too much of effort. The use of some varied spices, Jaggery and yogurt, imparts a sweet and sour tang to this dish. The only down side of this recipe is that, the beans require long hours of soaking. So it has to be planned well in advance.

Since this is recipe does not include any onion or Garlic, this can be made during Auspicious occasions and Vrats. Try giving this healthy and nutritious recipe a try. I assure you it will leave you incredibly satisfied to the tee.

Butter beans in Tomato Gravy recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time- 30min
Serves- 4

Butter beans- 170 gms, Soaked for 6-8hrs or overnight
Oil- 2tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2tspn
Asafetida- A large pinch
Ginger paste- A tsp
Tomatoes- 3med, blanched and pureed
Salt- to taste
Jaggery- 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Red chili powder- 1 tsp
Cumin seed powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander seed powder- 1/2tsp
Kasuri methi- 1tsp
Garam masala- 1/4tspn
Besan or gram flour- 2tspn
Thick Yogurt- 3tbspn
Coriander leaves to Garnish

  • Drain the soaked butter beans. Pressure cook the beans along with two cups of water and half a tsp of salt for five to six whistles and turn off the heat. Allow the steam to dissipate itself before  opening the cooker. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to crackle. Add the Asafetida and the ginger paste and fry for a few seconds.
  • Add the blanched tomatoes, salt, Jaggery, red chili powder and fry for 3-4 mins.
  • Stir in the coriander seed powder, cumin seed powder, Kasuri methi and the garam masala and fry for a few more mins or till the oil separates. 
  • Add the cooked butter beans along with the water and mix well. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few seconds.
  • Mix the gram flour along with the yogurt to make a thick paste. Add this mixture to the simmering gravy and mix well.
  • Allow the mixture to cook on a low flame for 3-4mins more before taking off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Khara bhat or Rava bhat

Let me start this post by wishing all my friends and Readers a very Happy New year!!! I hope you all had a fun filled holiday season!!

Allow me to begin 2017 with a light, comforting and hearty breakfast recipe. I have to confess that we over indulged on food during the last few weeks. Right now, I am not just left with extra pounds but also a bad throat. So a light meal is exactly what I need right now.

As far as my holidays are concerned, I spent them well with my little family. S, Purvi and I spent a lot of time shopping, and doing those short touristy things. We did eat out a lot. So I took a break from cooking. We spent a quite New Years Eve at home watching movies. And before I knew it 2016 was behind us.

Coming to the recipe, for those of you who are wondering what Khara bhat is. It is nothing but Umma which is loaded with vegetables and spices. Like upma, Khara bhat is light, moist and is studded with crunchy bites of nuts and lentils. 

The char bhat is a healthy whole grain dish with porridge like consistency with flavorings of Vangi that or bhat of visible bhat. In short, the Khara that or the Rava bhat is wholesome dish that can be had for breakfast or as light meal on a hot sommer's day!!

Khara bhat recipe:
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 10mins
Serves- 4

Thick Semolina or upma rawa- 1cup or 150gms
Tamarind- a small lime sized, Soaked in 2tbsps of water
Oil or ghee- 3tbsps
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Channa dal- 1/2 tsp
Urad dal- 1/2tspn
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Asafetida- a large pinch
Diced Vegetables- 1 cup (I used 1small carrot, 3-4 french beans, 2tbspns of peas and a tbsp of chopped green bell pepper)
Tomato- 1small, finely chopped (optional)
Turmeric- 1/4tspn
Salt- to taste
Jaggery- 1tspn
Freshly grated coconut- 2tbspn
Vangi that powder or visible that powder- 1-1/2 tbsp
Coriander leaves to garnish
Lemon wedges to serve

  • Dry roast the semolina in a thick bottomed pan till brown and fragrant and set aside.
  • Extract the juice from the soaked tamarind and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they sputter, add the channa dal and Urad dal and fry till they turn brown.
  • Stir in the Curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add the asafetida and the diced vegetables and fry for a minute.
  • Add the chopped tomato, turmeric, salt and jaggery and continue frying for a two minutes.
  • Add the tamarind pulp and quarter cup of water and cook covered for 4-5minutes or till the vegetables soften.
  • Add two and a half cups of water to the vegetable mixture and allow the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat and add the roasted semolina while stirring continuously.
  • Add the coconut and the Bisibele bhat/ Vangi bhat powder and cook covered on low heat till the water is absorbed completely and the semolina is completely cooked.
  • Take off the heat, Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas fruit cookies- A guest post for Lubna Karim from Yummy food

First of all I wish to thank Luana for having me on her beautiful space. Kitchen flavors was one of those blogs that I "grew up" following and emulating. So you can imagine delight when Lubna asked me to do a guest post for her.

Lubna is one of those people who needs no introduction. She is the face behind the awesome blog called Kitchen Flavors. She is an amazing cook and whips up some mouth watering dishes. She is also an extremely talented photographer. Her photographs often take by breath away. She is a very passionate blogger and a very generous friend. So generous, that she dropped everything and decided to help me out when I was facing some issues with my blog. 

Although we have never met, I did get a chance to speak to her a couple of times. There is something about Lubna, that we have been friends ever since.

So when she asked me to do a guest post for her, I was filled with a wild enthusiasm. I knew I had to bake something special for her. With a spring in my step, I decided to bake these delicious Christmas fruit cookies for her. 

These cookies are inspired by Ina Garten's Fruit cake cookies from here. But I have made so many changes to the recipe that I am not even sure if there is any ingredient that remains unchanged. 

These are made with all the ingredients that go into making the traditional fruit cake. It has a whole lot of dried fruits, mixed peel and nuts. It also has the richness of butter and the goodness of the spices. In short, these cookies are packed with all the "awesomeness" of a fruit cake. 

So if you are one of those people who hates fruit cake. Or for some reason you are not able to bake one, then cookies are just for you. You can enjoy the holiday flavor with a crisp and chewy texture. So head over to Lubna's blog and  check out the recipe. This is surely an enticing treat!!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dhingri Matar- Mushroom and peas in poppy seeds and cashew gravy

I am back with a rich, indulgent yet simple Gravy. The dhingri matar is a delicious combination of Mushrooms and fresh green peas, simmered in a luscious, thick gravy.

The Dhingri matar is something that is often made at a our home. I make this side dish during those week nights when I really need something comforting. And this dish fits the bill perfectly. It requires minimal preparation time, it is comforting and unbelievably delicious. 

Each time I make this curry, I tend to experiment with the spices and ingredients that go into making this side dish. This version of dhingri matar features an amalgamation of spices, a generous dose of full fat milk and a luxurious paste of cashew and poppy seeds. Needless to say we love this subtly spiced creamy curry. 

Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. They are something that are easily available in every Indian kitchen. This is a highly adaptable recipe. You can change and replace the ingredients as per your tastes.

I have used whole milk in this recipe. But you can go ahead and replace it with a few tablespoons of yogurt and cream. I highly recommend the use of Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves. It lends a subtle bitter flavor and a wonderful aroma to the curry. 

This recipe is one of the best things to come out of my kitchen. I am sure you will love the rich mouth feel and the tantalizing flavor of this sabzi!!

Dhingri Matar recipe:
Preparation time: 20mins
Cooking time: 15mins
Serves- 4

For the cashew-poppy seed paste:
Cashew nuts- 3tbsp, chopped
Poppy seeds- 1-1/2tbsp, dry roasted

Oil- 2tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2tsp
Onion- 1med sized, finely chopped
Green chili- 1, slit
Ginger-Garlic paste- 1tspn
Fresh or frozen peas- 1/2cup
Button Mushrooms- 250gms, sliced
Turmeric or haldi- a large pinch
Salt to taste
Sugar- 1/4tspn
Red chili powder- 1/2 tsp
Tomato- 1 Large, finely chopped
Kasuri methi- 1/4tspn
Garam masala- a large pinch
Full fat Milk- 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves- 1tbsp, to garnish


  • To make the cashew-poppy seed paste, combine the cashew nuts and poppy seeds in blender jar and blend without using any water.
  • Add a little water and blend again to get a smooth paste and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed wok and add the cumin seeds. Once they turn brown add the chopped onion and fry till they turn transcluscent.
  • Stir in the Ginger-Garlic paste and the slit green chili fry till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the peas and sauce for two to three mins. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes more.
  • Add the Salt, Sugar, Turmeric, red chili powder, and the chopped tomatoes, mix well, and cook covered for five minutes or till the vegetables are cooked.
  • Stir in the cashew-poppy seed paste, Kasuri Methi and the garam masala and mix well.
  • Add the milk and allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for 2-3mins or till the mixture thickens.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or Parathas or with Jeera rice

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fattoush- Middle eastern Bread Salad

Fattoush is perhaps one of the most famous and most well-known Middle eastern salads. It is so popular, that it makes a frequent appearance on the Mezzo table. It is a vibrant salad with a zesty Garlic-lemon dressing. If you have never tasted middle eastern food before, then Fattoush is a good place to start.

A perfect fattoush mostly comprises of vegetables, Lots of herbs, lettuce and Bread. It's not an exaggeration when people say that "fattoush is not fattoush without bread". Fattoush is an excellent way to use stale or left over Pita bread or any other flat bread from the previous day. Extremely adaptable and immensely refreshing fattoush is a useful staple to have in your salad repertoire.

Fattoush is a salad that can be consumed all year round. But somehow I prefer to make it during the summers. This salad can be assembled in a jiffy and is satisfying enough to make a light meal. Apart from that, fattoush is so vibrant and colorful that it makes to want to dive into it right away. 

It is one of those super simple salad where you can use all types of herbs and vegetables available near you. I have used mint and coriander in this recipe but you can substitute either or both the herbs with fresh parsley. Traditionally, in fattoush, Sumac is used to spice the salad. Since I did not have sumac in the pantry, I have used equal quantity of Dry pomegranate or Anardaana powder. After making this salad for a couple of times, I have realized that this salad is all about refreshment. So there is not harm in experimenting with different flavors.

I suggest you give this salad a try for it is very hard to resist a salad that takes just minutes to make and tastes SO SO good!!!

Fattoush Recipe:
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: nil
Serves- 4


Olive oil- 1tbspn
Pita bread- 2 of 6" diameter, cut into wedges
Shredded Lettuce leaves- 1 cup
1 small english cucumber, thinly sliced
Cherry tomatoes- 12, halved
One med sized, red onion, diced
Mint leaves- 3tbspn
Coriander leaves- 3tbspn
Salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing:
Garlic- 2 cloves, crushed
Olive oil- 3tbspn
Dry Pomegranate seeds- 1tspn
Juice of 1 lemon divided

  • Heat a table spoon of olive oil in a pan and toast the pita wedges till crisp. Moisten the wedges with lemon juice and set aside.
  • For the dressing, combine the crushed garlic, olive oil, dry pomegranate seeds and lemon juice in a blender jar and blend till well combined.
  • Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Just before serving, mix the toasted bread pieces, the dressing, salt and pepper and toss and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Subsige soppu Kootu

It is almost midday as I write this post. I am all alone in the house and I am feeling an odd adrenaline rush as I write this. I know. Adrenaline rush is not often connected to writing. This hormone is supposed to kick in when one is engaged in sports or is faced with fear or excitement. And let's face it, writing is a solitary and a desk-bound activity. And despite my seated position, I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I am weird.

Why??? Because I am blogging after and almost three long months of unintended break. I honestly never thought of taking this break. Technically speaking, this break just happened. Before long, I started enjoying the peace and quite that came after the process of cooking. For a change, I stopped worrying about the cloudy days, chasing the light for good pictures, washing and arranging the props. I kind of enjoyed not cooking exotic dishes to show off on my blog. I even pretended my blog didn't exist for a short period.

In between, I ranted a couple of times to S about not posting anything for more than a fortnight but he  was least bit bothered. It was only when a friend asked me if I had stopped blogging that I realized that my hiatus has been a bit too long. It was only then that I decided to log into my account and check out as to what was happening on the blog. Fortunately, I had this recipe in my drafts so I just decided to post it.

Coming to this recipe, the subsige soppu Kootu is something that I make from time to time. It is one of those side dishes that is easy, simple and wholesome. This is dish is just perfect for those weeknight dinners. 

The Iron rich Dill leaves and the protein rich moong dal make a perfect combo to build the hemoglobin in your body. Hence, it is a must have for the whole family. Serve this side dish with rice or rotis and your will have a nourishing and wholesome meal ready for your family!!

Subsige soppu Kootu recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time- 20min
Serves- 4

Dill leaves- 1 bunch or 100gms, finely chopped
Moong dal or split yellow lentils- 1 cup
Potato- 1 small, peeled and cubed
Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
Oil- 1/4tsp
Salt- to taste
Jaggery- 1/2tspn
For the Kootu masala:
Ural dal- 1heaped tbsp
Rice- 1/2tsp
Coriander seeds- 1/2tsp
Pepper- 1/2tsp
Poppy seeds- 1tsp
Kashmiri red chilies- 2-3
Fresh or frozen coconut- 3tbsp
For the seasoning:
Ghee or oil- 1tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2tsp
Peanuts- 3tbspns
Curry leaves-1 sprig
Asafetida- a Large pinch

  • Dry roast the moong dal till fragrant. Take off the heat and wash the lentils till the water runs clean. Add the chopped dill leaves , diced potatoes, two cups of water, oil and turmeric powder and Pressure cook the lentils for four to five whistles or till completely cooked.
  • In the mean time, heat oil in a small pan and roast the urad dal, rice, pepper corns, poppy seeds and red chilies till brown and set aside to cool.
  • Transfer the roasted mixture to a blender jar and grind to a fine powder. Add the coconut and some water and grind again to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Allow the steam to dissipate itself completely before opening the cooker. Add the salt, jaggery and half cup of water and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
  • Add the ground mixture and continue boiling for 3-4mins more.
  • For the seasoning, heat ghee or oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the peanuts and fry till they turn brown. Stir in the asafetida and fry for a couple of minutes more and take off the heat.
  • Add the seasoning to the prepared Kootu, mix well and serve immediately with rice or rotis.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sweet potato and almond Gulab Jamun- The vegan Gulab jamun

Gulab jamun is perhaps one of the most popular among Indian mithais. A sweet treat that can be gulped down in one bite. Traditionally this sweet dish is made out of khoya or hariyali mawa (milk solids). The milk solids are shaped into delicate balls and deep fried. These deep fried balls are then dunked into cardamom and saffron scented sugar syrup. Gulab jamun made this way are extremely delicious, luscious. Each bite into these succulent balls can transport you into a state of pure bliss.

The downside of making gulab Jamun using milk solids is that that it requires a lot of skill and a little prep work. Since most people do not have that kind of time and skill, they mostly resort to ready made mixes. So if you are looking for a recipe for gulab Jamun that is easy to make, Vegan and as tasty as the traditional Gulab jamun, then your search has come to an end. I am sharing the Sweet Potato and almond gulab jamun which comes very close to the traditional gulab jamun in taste and texture.

This version of Gulab jamun is relatively easy to put together and does not require the kind of expertise that you require to make the traditional ones. And to top of all of these, these gulab Jamuns are healthy and packed with nutrition. These Syrup soaked sweet potato balls are delicious and has a rich mouth feel and intense flavor!!

I had heard and read about sweet potato gulab jamuns. But I was a little skeptical about the taste. But now that I have tried it, I will definitely be making this again and again. 

I actually wanted to add khoya or milk powder as the original recipe had mentioned. Since I did not have either of them, I decided to make this dessert with just sweet potatoes and almond meal. Despite the omission of khoya, the Gulab jamun actually turned out great!! They were incredibly soft and had a melt in the mouth texture. These Gulab jamuns are a great way to pamper yourself without feeling guilty.

Sweet potato and almond Gulab Jamun recipe:
Preparation time: 30min
Cooking time: 20min
Makes- 40-50 Gulab jamuns

Sweet Potatoes- 3 med
Almond meal- 8tbsps or 1/2cup
All purpose flour- 6tbsp
Cardamom Powder- 1/2tspn+1/2tspn
Baking soda- A pinch
Ghee or oil to grease- 2tbsp
For the syrup:
Sugar- 300gms
Water- 450ml
Saffron- A pinch
Oil to deep fry
Chopped pistachios to Garnish (optional)

  • Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes to remove all the dirt. Place the sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker and add enough water so that the potatoes are covered. Place the lid and weight and pressure cook the potatoes for two whistles. 
  • Allow the steam to dissipate itself completely before opening the cooker. Remove the potatoes from the cooker and allow them to cool completely. Peel the potatoes and mash them thoroughly with your hands.
  • Add the almond meal, All purpose flour, cardamom powder and baking soda and knead to make a soft dough and keep aside.
  • To make the Sugar syrup, Mix the sugar and water in a sauce pan, add the saffron threads and cardamom powder and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for a 5-10 mins. or until the syrup turns thick and reaches half string consistency. Take off the heat and keep the syrup warm.
  • Grease some ghee or oil on your palms. Pinch small lime sized balls from the dough and shape them into smooth balls. Make sure that the balls do not have any cracks.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed wok. Once the oil is hot enough, carefully place the prepared sweet potato balls in a single layer. Avoid crowding oil with too many Gulab jamuns. Fry the jamuns in low-medium heat until they are cooked through and golden brown in color from all the sides.
  • Remove the fried jamuns carefully with a slotted spatula, drain and dunk them in warm sugar syrup. Allow the jamuns to soak the syrup for at least 30mins to an hour before serving. 
  • Garnish with nuts and serve warm. Or, serve warm with Vanilla ice-cream.
  • Make sure there are no lumps when mashing the sweet potatoes. You can try passing the sweet potatoes through a fine sieve to remove any fibers or lumps. You can also try running the boiled sweet potatoes in a blender until smooth.
  • You can replace the almond meal with equal quantity of Khoya/ milk solids or milk powder. 
  • For a different flavor, you can replace half of the almond meal with unsweetened coconut.
  • When frying the jamuns, make sure the oil is not smoking hot. The oil should neither be too hot  or too cold. To know if the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of the dough in the oil. You know the temperature is just right when the dough sizzles and slowly rises to the surface.
  • To make the Almond meal, blanch half cup of almonds in hot water. Peel the skin and  set aside to dry for a few hours. Once dry, grind them to a fine meal and use as required.
  • You might notice the sweet potato flavor if you consume these jamuns immediately. Just allow these jamuns to rest for for 6-7hrs or overnight and you will find that they would have acquired a richer flavor.
  • This dessert stays fresh for a couple of weeks if refrigerated.
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