Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dal Makhani - a traditional Indian delicacy from the State of Punjab

Dal Makhani is a favourite at home, in fact we really enjoy the dishes of the Punjabi cuisine. The Dal Makhani, Naan and Chicken Tikka/Butter Chicken is on the menu when we decide to have an Indian meal at a restaurant. Have been making the dal makhani at home for many years now trying to tweak the ingredients and also get the right texture like it is made in the restaurants and yes, get it approved by my food taster:). So finally here is my version of the dal makhani that is a hit at home and will make again. :)

Ingredients for Dal Makhani
Urad dal (sabut) (with the black covering) - 1 cup
Rajma/Kidney Beans - 1 /4 cup
Onion - 1 big (finely chopped)
Tomatoes - 3 medium sized (pureed)
Garlic - 1 tsp minced
Ginger - 1" (juliennes)
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Coriander powder - 1 /2 tsp
Jeera/Cummin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cream / Well beaten curd - 4 to 5 tbsp ( you may also add about 1/2 cup milk)

Method for making Dal Makhani:
1- Pressure cook the urad dal and rajma in the pressure cooker for approximately 20 minutes with 3 cups of water and salt.
2- Take a pan and add the butter and oil. Now add in the minced garlic, ginger juliennes and chopped onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell of garlic disappears and the onions turn soft. Now add the pureed tomatoes and cook. Add the Kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder and jeera powder and saute (at this stage you may add 3 to 4 tbsp of water so that the masala does not get burnt).
3-Saute till the tomatoes are cooked and the oil starts oozing from the sides of the masala indicating that it is cooked.
4- Add in the cooked dal and rajma and stir. Add the garam masala powder(I used Badshah brand garam masala powder) and chopped coriander leaves and stir. Add 1/2 to 1 cup water. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes on low flame. Open adjust the seasoning.
4- Now add the cream and stir( I prefer to keep it low calorie and skip the cream, instead I add 1/2 cup milk or 4 to 5 tbsp of well beaten yoghurt).
5- Switch off and serve hot with rotis, naan or any other Indian bread.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pasta in White Sauce With Mushrooms Tomato and Capsicum

This pasta was a part of our lunch last week. For all who are regular here definitely know by now how the pasta in all its varied flavours and tastes(a little soft corner for the pasta in white sauce thought) is a favourite with the daughter and so the endeavour to try out new variations each time. Dal rice two days in a stretch and the happiness quotient coming to the table seems to be dipping at a fast pace and so a meal like this which is sheer happiness and polished off in no time is a great idea both for her and me. Fast to cook and good to eat with veggies and nutrition thrown in keeps me happy and she is thrilled at finding pasta on the lunch menu. It is a total win-win situation. This has come to be favourite. Here is my pasta in white sauce with mushrooms tomato and capsicum. For those who want to make a few more additions, you may add strips of chicken and corn too.

For the White Sauce :
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp maida/all purpose flour
2 cups milk

For the Pasta :
Pasta - 100 gms (boiled and strained)
Tomato - 1 medium sized chopped into small pieces
Capsicum - 1 medium chopped into small pieces
Salt - to taste
Pepper - 1tsp
Garlic - 1 tsp (minced)
Oil - 1 tbsp
Oregano (dried) - 1/2 tsp
Mushrooms - 5 to 6 chopped fine or to the size of your choice

1- Boil Pasta in enough water with some salt. When done strain and wash thoroughly under cold running water. Keep aside.
2- Take a pan and add the butter and oil. Add the minced garlic and saute for a minute till the raw smell of garlic disappears. Now add the chopped tomato and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chopped capsicum amd mushrooms and saute till all the water content of the mushrooms dry up completely.
3- Now add the 2 tbsp of maida and saute for a minute or two. Add the milk little by little and keep stirring. Make sure to add the milk little by little or else you may have lumps forming that will spoil the complete texture of your white sauce.
4- Add in the oregano, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning. Let boil till the white sauce thickens and is of the desired consistency. Do not let it thicken too much as white sauce will thicken on its own too as it rests.
Switch off gas and transfer to a serving dish. Serve hot. You may add your choice of sides to add to your meal.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cream of Broccoli Soup - Add a bowl of health to your meal

Broccoli, the green vegetable from the cabbage family is high on dietary fiber and extremely nutritious with its high Vitamin C content and cancer fighting properties. I add this nutritious vegetable to my dish of sauteed vegetables and as an addition to the pasta. This Broccoli soup is also one dish that my family enjoys.

I remember having the cream of Broccoli at a restaurant while we were in Russia, they served it hot with a crispy naan for accompaniment. I tried creating the same at home, which was well received and it has since been a regular on our dinner menu. I managed to get a quick picture while cooking and after pouring it out into the soup bowl on my mobile camera( as both hubby and daughter were waiting)

Ingredients for the Cream of Broccoli Soup
Broccoli - 1 (chopped into florets) (approx 2 cups)
All purpose flour/Maida - 2 tbsp
Milk - 1 cup
Chicken stock - 2 cups
Salt to taste
Pepper - 1 to 1.5 tsp (you may use white pepper)
Butter - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 1/2 tsp minced

Method for making Cream of Broccoli Soup 
1- Cook the chopped broccoli with half a cup of water in the microwave for 5 minutes and keep aside to cool (you can even steam it in the pressure cooker or steamer).
2- After cooling, blend the cooked broccoli in the blender and keep aside.
3- Take a pan and add the minced garlic. Saute for half a minute till the raw smell of garlic disappears. Add 2 tbsps of maida and roast for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the chicken stock, taking care not to form lumps. Let boil. Keep stirring.
4- When it starts boiling, add the broccoli puree. Let boil for 4-5 minutes.
5- Now add the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Boil. You will see that the soup begins to thicken. Switch off gas when the desired consistency is reached. Pour into soup bowls and serve hot.

Accompaniments: Soup sticks, crispy Naan or even a khakhra.

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