Chickpea curry recipe using my home made chick pea curry powder & garam masala:

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Ingredients for pressure cooking:

100 grams raw, uncooked chickpeas (makes for 2-3 adult portions) that have been soaked in water overnight

425 ml of water

1 tea bag to give whole the dark brown colour (optional)

1 to 1.5 tsp of salt

Ingredients for the gravy:

1 large onion chopped finely

1 to 1.5 medium tomatoes chopped finely

1 tsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp garlic paste

Dry whole spices :

1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 cardamom, 1 clove, 1-2 dried red chillies (optional)

2-3 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

salt to taste

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)

1 to 2 tsp chick pea curry powder

For garnishing:

Chopped coriander

1 inch piece of Ginger julienne

Thinly sliced onion rings

Method:

Rinse and soak chickpeas in enough water overnight. The chickpeas will grow in size so ensure there is sufficient water to soak them in. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked chola with 425 ml of fresh water, salt and tea bag. The tea bag lends the chickpeas a dark brown colour. Traditionally Indian gooseberries are used but these are not easily available. The substitute is a tea bag. This step is optional. Without the tea bag, the punjabi chola dish is yellowish in colour. Pressure cook the chickpeas for 10 mins or 21 to 23 whistles (this may vary based on the brand of the pressure cooker). You will know the chickpeas are ready if they are easy to mash between the thumb and the finger. They should retain their shape but still be easy to mash with your finger or the back of the spoon. Heat oil in a wok or pan, add the whole spices, add the chopped onions. Sauté them for 5 minutes or so and as they start to brown, add the ginger and garlic paste. Continue to saute this mixture until the onions turn translucent and start turning into a paste. Add the chopped tomatoes to the onion mixture. Saute this mixture until you see the onion and tomato paste gel together properly. This final mixture of onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes can take up to 20-25 minutes of cooking to get to the required consistency. Now add the turmeric powder, salt and garam masala and mix well.  Now add the chickpea curry powder and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. At this stage, add the pressure cooked chickpeas (without any stock from the pressure cooker) into the onion and tomato paste. Check for salt. Add if required. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Now add approximately 200ml of stock (if this is less then just top it up with water) and mix well. Cook the dish on low flame until the gravy thickens and is of the appropriate consistency. You can even mash a few chickpeas to help thicken the gravy. Garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves, ginger julienne and onion rings. Serve with Indian whole meal parathas or boiled cumin basmati rice

Additional notes: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you have two choices:

Use cooked canned chickpeas. Add them once your onion and tomato paste with the spices are ready OR wash and soak uncooked chickpeas overnight. Add a pinch of baking soda in the soaking bowl to help with the cooking process. After they have soaked overnight, boil them in a pot of water (enough to cover and top up by an additional 3 inches) partially covering the pot with a lid, leaving a small gap to let off steam, until they are cooked. This can take a long time. As they boil in water, the water may start getting frothy. Remove the frothiness and keep topping up with water.

Chicken Xacuti recipe using my home made curry powder & garam masala 

Chicken curry

Utensils used: wok or kadai with a lid, pan, food processor or mixer

Ingredients

250-280 grams of boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into small pieces (for two portions of curry)

Salt to taste

60 grams fresh coconut pieces

5 garlic cloves

2 inch piece of ginger – roughly chopped

1.5 small red onions roughly chopped

1 small onion finely chopped

15-20 grams of tamarind pulp

1 TBS of my home made curry powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1/3 tsp garam masala

Handful of coriander leaves

2-3 TBS olive oil

Handful of curry leaves

Method:

  • Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces
  • Take a wok, add 2 TBS of olive oil, add 1.5 small roughly chopped red onions, ginger and garlic and fry this for 10-15 minutes. Let this mixture cool down
  • In a separate pan, dry roast the coconut pieces until they brown at the edges. Allow it to cool down
  • Transfer all of the above into a mixer/ food processor, add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and approx 20-30 ml of water to make a paste (should not be runny but thick in consistency)
  • Now heat some oil in a wok, add some curry leaves, add the finely chopped onion and fry properly for 20-25 minutes until it is paste like
  • Add HALF the mixture of onions, ginger, garlic and coconut into the wok and fry for 5 minutes
  • Add 1 TBS of curry powder and fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the chicken pieces and coat these with the curry paste and cook for 5-7 minutes with the lid on. While this is cooking, add 10-20 ml of hot water to 20 grams of tamarind pulp, wait a minute and then gently mash the tamarind pulp with the fork until it dissolves in the water. Take out the fibre so that you are left with the smooth tamarind paste
  • Now take some water and add it (make sure the gravy does not become watery or too runny so add as much water as is required) and cook for 10 minutes
  • Add the tamarind pulp and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • Finally,  add garam masala and cook for an additional minute
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Indian naan bread or hot basmati rice

 

Simple Indian Vegetarian and Vegan recipes

Potato Fenugreek dish (Aloo Methi) Recipe 

I prepared one of my mum’s quick potato dishes that champion fresh fenugreek leaves today. Using a handful of spices – coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder – with some salt and a dash of lime juice- it was ready in under 30 minutes. 

Not the easiest of vegetables to get hold of (at least not where I live) so if you do come across fresh fenugreek leaves, grab a bunch or two and give this recipe a go. The flavours are earthy, some may even say a bit bitter but the combination of the two – potatoes and fenugreek (also called Methi in Hindi) – prepared with such simplicity – creates mouthwatering results! 

Recipe: for 3 to 4 people

2 TBS (tablespoon) of olive oil

2 medium baking potatoes

2 bunches (200 grams) of fresh fenugreek leaves – washed

1.5 tsp of coriander powder

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1/2 to 1/3 of kashmiri chilli powder (or normal red chilli powder) – optional and based on your heat level

1 tsp of cumin seeds

1/3 tsp of hing (asafoetida)

A few drops of fresh lime

Method:

Remove the fenugreek leaves and discard the stems. Chop them coarsely and then wash them properly.  Peel and dice the potatoes. Take a wok, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Now add the fenugreek leaves and cook these on slow flame, covered for 3-4 minutes. Mix from time to time so that they don’t stick/ burn. Now add the diced potatoes, add salt and turmeric powder. Mix and cover until the potatoes are just soft (so check by poking a piece of potato with a fork – it should go through but there should be a bit of resistance). At this stage, add the coriander powder and red chilli powder. Mix and cover. Cook until potatoes are ready and soft (check with a fork or try one). Now drizzle some lime juice. Mix and cover the wok. Switch the hob off. Enjoy this dish with Indian naan bread – parathas, wholemeal rotis (a type of bread prepared by cooking it in part on the tava and on the fire directly until it blows up!) or chapatis.

Picnic Potato recipe

I guess everyone has those special dishes that take them back to their childhood days. Here’s one that brings back special memories. It’s been lovingly named ‘Picnic Aloo’. Aloo means potato in Hindi. 
It reminds me of my childhood travel on the Indian railways. A simple dish of boiled potatoes prepared in a blend of Indian spices, we used to have it with fried puris (a type of naan bread) and my mum’s home made mango pickle. I recall how she would always pack this dish in the traditional Indian tiffins or ‘dabbas’. Midway through our train journey, she would carefully unpack the food for us to enjoy. 
Today, when I make this dish for my children, just the whiff of its aroma takes me back in time to those long and joyful holidays aboard the Indian railways!
Here’s the recipe if you would like to give it a go!
  • Peel and dice (into medium sized cubes) 4 small potatoes. Boil these in water until they are soft (they should not get too mushy)
  • Take 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan. When hot, add 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of mustard seeds. After they crackle, add 1/3 tsp of asafoetida (hing), 6 curry leaves followed by the boiled potatoes. Add salt to taste and 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder. Mix gently. Now add 2 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of cumin powder, 1/2 tsp pf paprika and 1/2 tsp of garam masala.
  • Mix well and cover pan with lid and let potatoes cook until they are golden brownish. You should try one to check if it’s crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.
  • Add juice of 1/4 piece of lime and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves
  • This makes for 2 adult portions. Enjoy with naan bread!

 

Chilada Recipe (Gram flour pancake)

For 6 medium sized pancakes

Ingredients: 4 dessert spoons of gram flour

Olive Oil

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 to 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

1/2 tsp carrot seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 small red chopped onion

1/2 medium chopped tomato

Handful of coriander leaves chopped

1-2 green chillies finely chopped (optional)

Method:

Mix the gram flour with all the above ingredients. Now add enough water to make a wet batter. This should be a flowing batter, relatively wet. Take a frying pan. Add a thin layer of oil. Don’t make the pan too hot. Keep the flame on low. Pour just enough batter to create a thin layer of batter on the pan. Cook until light brown and then flip to let the other side cook until golden brown. Serve with some coriander chutney or pickle!

 

Green Mung Dal Recipe

Utensils:
Pan
Wok
Ingredients:
2 cups split green Mung dal
1 cup split yellow Mung dal
1 large tomato roughly chopped
Handful of roughly chopped, washed spinach leaves (optional)
1.5 inch ginger – skin removed and chopped finely
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida/ Hing (if you don’t have this just use 1-2 finely chopped cloves of garlic instead)
Kashmiri red chilli powder (optional) – based on experience with participants – 1/2 tsp for low to medium heat; 1 tsp for a nice kick!
If you don’t have Kashmiri chilli powder, just use a fresh green chilli – finely chopped – deseed to reduce the heat/ use half; for a proper kick- use the whole with the seed
1-2 dessert spoons of olive oil
Method – if you don’t have a pressure cooker:
Wash the lentils a couple of times in running water. Soak them in a container filled with water overnight.
Take a pot of water, add the soaked lentils, spinach, tomato and ginger along with salt, chilli powder/ green chillies and turmeric powder and boil over medium flame. Continue to top up with water if required until the lentils are fully cooked.
Now, take a potato masher and mash the dal gently. If the dal mixture seems quite thick just add some hot water to thin the dal to the required consistency. Now, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a tempering vessel/ wok. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida/ garlic. Now, pour the dal gently into the tempering vessel. Add juice from half a lime and mix well. Check for salt and add more if needed. Mix well. Now garnish the dal with finely chopped coriander
Method – if you have a pressure cooker: you don’t need to soak the lentils overnight
Wash lentil thoroughly and transfer them into a pressure cooker along with the roughly chopped tomatoes and chopped spinach leaves. Add turmeric powder, salt to taste, red chilli powder or fresh green chilli (optional). Add the ginger. Now, add enough water to cover one third of your finger when you measure the finger from the ‘top’ of the contents of the pressure cooker.
Pressure cook for 6-7 whistles or 5 minutes (clock 5 mins after the first whistle).The lentils need to be cooked until they become soft. When the pressure cooker releases all the pressure, open it and mix the contents gently.
Now, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a tempering vessel/ wok. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida/ garlic. Now, pour the dal gently into the tempering vessel. Add juice from half a lime and mix well. Check for salt and add more if needed. Mix well. Now garnish the dal with finely chopped coriander
This delicious, healthy green mung dal can be enjoyed with boiled aromatic basmati rice or with hot rotis/ parathas. It can be prepared as a main course or as a side dish.

Non vegetarian dishes

north-indian-chicken-curryChicken curry – chicken pieces marinated with Indian spices such as cumin powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cooked with curry leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves in an onion, garlic, ginger and tomato paste

south-indian-chicken-chettinad-curry

Dahi Chicken curry – chicken marinated with spices, ginger and garlic paste and yogurt, cooked in an onion gravy

Chicken Pulao (flavoured rice dish) – chicken pieces marinated with Indian spices, pressure cooked with rice, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves in an onion, ginger and garlic paste, topped up with a boiled egg and cucumber raita

prawn-curry

Prawn & Aubergine curry  –  prawns marinated with India spices and cooked with aubergine in an onion, ginger and garlic paste

Egg & Prawn curry – prawns marinated with India spices and cooked with egg in an onion, ginger and garlic paste

South Indian Fish Pulusu curry – fish cooked with tamarind gravy

South Indian Fish Iguru  – fish marinated with Indian spices and cooked in ginger, garlic and onion gravy

Lamb & Potato curry – lamb pieces marinated with Indian spices cooked with potatoes, curry leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves in an onion, garlic, ginger and tomato paste

lamb-keema

Lamb, Potato and Pea Keema (mince) – Minced lamb marinated with Indian spices, cooked in an onion, garlic and tomato paste with potatoes and peas

Lamb Pulao (flavoured rice dish) – lamb pieces marinated with Indian spices, pressure cooked with rice, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves in an onion, ginger and garlic paste kathi-roll

Chicken Kathi roll – Layered wholemeal paratha cooked with egg and filled with chicken tikka, onions, coriander chutney and sour cream

Vegetarian dishes

Paneer Tikkas – Indian cooking cheese pieces marinated in yogurt and Indian spices, skewered and oven cooked

Toor/Mung/ Red lentil Tadka dal – Lentil soup pressure cooked with crushed garlic, tomato and Indian spices and given a tadka of hing (asafoetida), rai (mustard seeds), cumin seeds, curry leaves (tempering)

Palak Paneer curry – Indian cooking cheese cooked in Indian spices with ginger,onion and spinach pastepalak-paneer

Paneer Tikka Masala curry – Indian cooking cheese cooked with Indian spices in onion, ginger, tomato gravy

kadi

Kadi- a thick gravy made from gram flour (chick pea flour) and yogurt with Indian spices. It is usually eaten with boiled rice

egg-curry-better-one

Egg curry – eggs boiled and cooked in an onion and tomato gravy with Indian spices

bhindi-masala

Bhindi ki Sabzi – Okra cooked with Indian spices and dry mango powder in an onion gravy

Bharwa Bhindi – okra stuffed with Indian spices and shallow fried

Picnic Aloo -boiled potatoes cooked with hing (asafoetida), mustard seeds and Indian spices like coriander powder, turmeric powder along with kasoori methi (dried fenugreek) and amchur (dry mango powder) to form a dry dish

Aloo Baingan sabzi – potatoes and aubergine cooked with Indian spices to form a relatively dry dish

Different types of South Indian Dosas with Sambar and Coconut chutney – a crepe made with lentils that goes so well with sambar which is a lentil soup filled with the goodness of seasonal vegetables, along with fresh coconut chutney

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. I have described some dishes in short to give you an understanding of some of the ingredients that we will cook with.

Family recipes that champion my homemade spice blends