Friday, May 23, 2014

Bell peppers in Cashew peanut gravy

I have never favored curries or dishes with bell peppers as main ingredient. I just love to include bell peppers along with other vegetables. They provide a juicy and crisp texture to the dish. But my notion about bell peppers as the main ingredient changed completely with this curry.

A few days ago, I found one each of red, yellow, green, bell peppers waiting to be used up in the refrigerator. I had to use them up as soon as possible, as they would have gone bad by the next day. I was wondering what to make out of it, when I remembered this Kurma that I had tasted in a restaurant a long time ago. This Kurma was actually served as a side dish for Pulao and Biryani. The moment the memory hit me, I knew I would be making the Kurma. 

Since I did not have the recipe, I had to follow my gut feeling so that the gravy would taste similar to that of the restaurant's. But then, the gravy did not taste anything like the one I had in the restaurant. It tasted way better. I served this Kurma with coconut rice and piping hot chapatis. The combo somehow took the flavor quotient to another level.

Bell peppers in Cashew peanut gravy
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 15min
Serves- 4

Bell peppers- 3 med, deseeded and chopped into large chunks
Oil- 2tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tspn
Onion- 1med, finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tspn
Tomatoes- 2 med, finely chopped or pureed
turmeric or haldi- 1/4tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar- 1tsp
Thick yogurt- 3tbsp
Garam masala- 1/2tsp
For the ground paste:
Dry coconut or Copra- 3tbsp
Oil- 1/2tsp
Shah jeera or caraway seeds- 1/2 tsp
Peanuts- 2-1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts- 8-10, broken into pieces
Coriander seeds- 1tspn
Kashmiri red chilies- 4
Coriander leaves to garnish

For the ground paste:
  • In a pan, dry roast the copra till fragrant and lightly browned and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the caraway seeds and fry till it turns brown.
  • Add the peanuts and cashew  nuts and fry for a min. Stir in the coriander seeds and red chilies and fry till the coriander seeds crackle and the red chilies are crisp.
  • Take off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely. Grind the fried ingredients along with the toasted coconut to a fine paste by adding quarter cup of water.

For the curry:
  • Heat a tsp of oil or ghee in a  pan and fry the bell pepper pieces for 2minutes. Take off the heat and keep aside.
  • Add two table spoons of oil in the same pan and add the cumin seeds once they turn brown, add the chopped onions and fry till it turns pink.
  • Add the ginger- garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the chopped or pureed tomato and fry for a minute. Stir in the turmeric, salt, and sugar and fry for 3-4min or till the mixture thickens.
  • Add the ground paste and fry for another two minutes. Switch off the flame and stir in the yogurt and mix well. 
  • Switch on the flame again and add the fried bell peppers and garam masala. Allow the bell peppers to cook on a low flame for 5-7mins before taking off the heat.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.
  • This curry can be made with bell peppers of any color. 
  • The caraway seeds can be replaced with cumin seeds.
  • The ghee can be substituted with oil

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dhokla- Steamed gram flour cake

I am not how or when Purvi acquired the taste for Dhoklas. However or whenever it was, she seems to have fallen in love with this steam baked snack. Every time we visit this sweet shop called Chappan (56) bhog, she asks for Dhoklas. It's heart warming to see her feel the spongy dhoklas and take a large bite of it. Since dhoklas are mostly gluten free and fat free and steam baked, I buy these for her without a second thought.

After giving purvi the store brought Dhoklas for four or five times, I decided to make them at home. Although I had tried making dhoklas once, they hadn't turned out as spongy as the store brought ones.  That was the reason I was a little hesitant to try this dish. But this recipe truly rocked. This was given to me by a Gujrati neighbor. So in a sense, it was like getting the recipe straight from the horse's mouth. The dhoklas turned out super spongy and Purvi gorged on it like there was not tomorrow. As a mother, I couldn't have asked for anything more. If you haven't tried making Dhokals at home, I suggest you give this recipe a try. Trust me. You are sure to be transported to a different world with each bite

Dhokla recipe:
Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time- 10min
Serves- 4

Gram flour or besan- 240gms
Fine semolina- 2tbsp
Turmeric- 1/2tsp
Salt- 1 tsp or to taste
Lemon flavored eno fruit salt- 2 heaped tspn
Sugar- 1tbsp
Ginger- 1/2" piece
Green chili- 1
Yogurt- 200ml
Water- 100ml
For the tempering:
Oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1/2 tsp
curry leaves- 8-10
Green chili- 1, chopped fine
Asafetida- A large pinch
water- 3tbsp
For Garnish
Coriander leaves- 2tbsp
Fresh grated coconut- 2tbsp

  • Crush the ginger and green chili to a fine paste and keep aside.
  • Grease a steamer vessel with a tea spoon of oil and set aside
  • Combine the gram flour with the semolina, salt, turmeric, ginger- green chili paste, and sugar along with the yogurt and water to get a smooth and thick batter. See to it that there are no lumps.
  • Add the eno fruit salt, mix well and pour the batter into the greased vessel and steam bake the batter for 12-15min on med heat. Or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  • Heat a table spoon of oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the sesame seeds and the curry leaves and green chilies and fry till the curry leaves turn crisp.
  • Add the Asafetida and remove from heat. Combine the tempering with three table spoons of water and mix well.
  • Pour the tempering on the prepared dhokla and allow the dhokla to cool slightly before cutting them into desired shapes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and coconut and serve immediately with chutney or sauce.

  • If you are using plain eno, then you will have to add half a tea spoon of lemon juice to the batter.
  • Since I did not have a steamer, I used the pressure cooker to steam the dhokla.
  • The batter should be of dropping consistency rather than pouring consistency.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kadalekayi Chutney Pudi- Peanut chutney Powder

This spice mix is our new addiction. We just can't seem to get enough of this. You can find us having this with steamed rice, curd rice, idlies, dosas, etc. I have even caught S pouring a spoon of this powder straight into his mouth. That is how addicted we are. If you visit our place, then you can be sure to find a bottle of this chutney powder perched on top of the dining table and another bottle in stored away in the pantry. 

The addiction started when we purchased a small packet of this spice mix at Subbamma store in Bangalore. Subbamma store is a very popular condiment store in Bangalore. They are famous for their Rasam powders, chutney powders and a variety of other condiments. After tasting a tea spoon of this powder, we were hooked. S went back to the store and brought half a kilo more to be packed and brought back to Nairobi. But then we were so addicted to this powder, that we emptied the jar before we knew it. S missed this condiment so much that he nagged for weeks and nagged me some more till I actually made this.

I got this recipe from here. I was looking for the peanut chutney pudi recipe when I chanced upon the regular chutney powder recipe by Jayasri. The write up said that it was better than the chutney powder available in subbamma store. Any recipe that says it is better than subbamma store is worth a try. I was actually making the powder within ten minutes of reading the recipe. 

This recipe is one of those perfect recipes with perfect measurements. Except for substituting the urad dal with Peanuts and using only byadigi variety of chilies instead of oth guntur and byadigi, I have not made any other changes. The end result was simply superb. I felt that this chutney powder was certainly better than what we got at Subbamma store. For once, even S agreed with me. I couldn't have asked for anything more!!

Peanut chutney Powder recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time- 10min
Makes- 1Kg
Shelf life- 2-3months

Peanuts- 120gms
Bengal gram or chana dal- 175gms
Dry Grated coconut- 375gms
Kashmiri red chilies- 150gms or about 25
Mustard seeds- 2tsp
Tamarind- 40gms
Jaggery- 120gms, grated
Curry leaves- 4-5sprigs
Asafetida- 2gms
Salt- 1-1/2 tbsp or to taste
Oil- 2tbsp

  • Dry roast the peanuts in a pan on low heat till the peanuts are browned. Take off the heat and allow the peanuts to cool completely. Rub the peanuts with your hands to remove the loosed skin and keep aside.
  • Dry roast the Bengal gram and keep aside. 
  • Dry roast the mustard seeds till they sputter and keep aside. 
  • Again, dry roast the dry coconut till slightly browned and fragrant and set aside
  • Heat 2tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the tamarind till completely soft. Drain and keep aside.
  • Add the asafetida and curry leaves and fry till they are crisp. Stir in the red chilies and fry for 3-4 mins.
  • Stir in the roasted peanuts, bengal gram, mustard seeds, tamarind and mix well. Fry the mixture for another minute more and take off the heat.
  • Allow the mixture to cool completely before mixing the salt and jaggery. 
  • Grind the mixture to a coarse powder first. Then add the roasted coconut and grind till the mixture is well combined but not too smooth. 
  • Transfer the mixture into an air tight container and use as required. 

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