Category Archives: Punjab

Getting in with the TINDA

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Punjabi Tinda Gravy Curry.

Back to dishes of the strictly vegetarian kind, a pond that I have not dipped my toe in for quite some time. I am tempted back by this beautiful recipe that features a vegetable that is not perhaps one you will find on any of the main stream supermarket shelves but will at your better than average Indian supermarket of which mine is one of the best, check this fruit and vegetable counter……..Jpeg

If you can get this particular delicious example of vegetable delight it’s a Satsuma sized apple looking veg which is citrusy in taste, and is very much part of the gourd family. You can get it in tins too but again you’re going to need the Indian supermarket to pick those up as well.

Give it time they will get to the standard supermarket sometime soon just not right now, probably because they’re not familiar in the West and without that familiarity and demand,  well you can work that out for yourself.

If you can’t get hold of the real deal you could of course use courgettes or young marrows and will offer pretty much the same result, that said I’m lucky I can get all that I recognise and a lot that I can’t but I’m working on that one. This was not a cheap vegetable though coming in at just under £2.00 per Kilo, some proteins come in cheaper than that, so veggie is not always the cheap alternative….SAM_3401

This recipe also features a TALIMPU or a  bagar, a vital step that gives the dish a perfect punch, in the most traditional of ways it features three vital ingredients onions, green chillies and curry leaves that can make almost any dish taste the part. Dealing with the ingredients of the Talimpu is also not without tradition, in that the  chillies are cut in rings or slit in 4 and thrown in a well of hot oil that’s been spluttering with a tablespoon of TALIMPU GINJALU (mixture of mustard seeds, split urad dal, and cumin). The chillies have to be fried well before you add the onions and curry leaves easy enough but important to the end result. The other element is a wet masala again a traditional element featuring onion and spices cooked and then ground, so all in all lots to keep you interested although this is not a complex dish the two elements of the Bagar and the  wet Masala combine to make a very tasty dish indeed

Now you have all the vital info lets cook!tinda_masala_rvsd (2)

The Whats in it

Punjabi Tinda three or four to feed 2 persons

Onion 1

Tomato 1

Yogurt 1 Tbsp

Red Chilli Powder 1/4 tsp

Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp

Green Chillies 1

Salt to taste

Masala:

Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp

Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp

Urad Dal 1/2 tsp

Whole Dried Red Chillies 3 – 4

Coriander Seeds 1/2 Tbsp

Oil 1 tsp

Talimpu:

Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp

Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp

Urad Dal 1/4 tsp

Curry Leaves 5

Oil 1 tsp

300ml approx. of water or Vegetable stock

The How to

First thing there is a little preparation – wash, remove ends peel and chop the Punjabi Tinda.

Then peel and dice the onion. Remove stems, wash and slice and de seed the green chillies. Finally prep the yoghurt by whisking then set aside.

Now we can get down to the cooking thing…..

Masala first by heating  a tsp of oil in your Karahi or heavy based pan, add all masala ingredients in order.

When  the mustard seeds start spluttering and the mixture is aromatic, add the onion and salt. Fry till onion turns golden brown and remove from heat.

Cool the mixture to room temperature and grind it into smooth paste with little water, in your pestle and mortar or food processor if you like things done in a hurry:)

next we move on to the Talimpu…….

Heat a teaspoon of oil in your now nicely clean Karahi or heavy based pan, add all talimpu ingredients in order and again  when the mustard seeds start spluttering, add chopped punjabi tinda, green chilli, tomato, turmeric powder and salt.

Now cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the Tinda has softened

Then stir in the  ground masala paste and about quarter cup of vegetable stock, cover gain!

Lower the heat to a simmer and allow to gently bubble away for at least  10 -15 minutes or until tinda is soft and kind of transparent, you may need to add a little more stock or water to keep things moist so don’t be scared to add as much as you think it needs.

This is important so if you need more than 15 minutes, do so as undercooked tinda is……….  well not the greatest!

Now uncover and  stir in the  red chilli powder, whisked yogurt and season with salt if necessary.

Garnish with some fresh Coriander and let the eating commence…..

You can serve this with either Rice or Chapatis, or Rotis  a little meat or fish would also not do it any harm either so enjoy….

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Chole…… lets ChAAt about that

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SAM_3004On the streets Chole is the fast food of many, with it being served for breakfast in Lahore, and in the Punjab it is eaten as an anytime snack and referred to as Chaat, whilst in Gujarat it is a main meal and eaten with the delicious bathura!

So this is pretty much something you can eat anytime anywhere as it’s a simple, filling, and very tasty dish that is a basic for all Indian cooks, and as usual the secret is to get the spice balance right and pretty much everything else follows.

Whats in the chole

Here we go again buy some of the tinned chickpeas, and ensure you lay your hands on  as good quality pea as you can manage, the cheaper they are the longer you will need to cook them!

Alternatively buy the dried variety and spend several hours cooking them out, if that’s your choice bless you, however you will need whatever option you choose

1 and half cup chickpeas enough to feed about two persons……

2 medium sized onions chopped

Small tin of chopped Tomatoes

1 inch fresh Ginger peeled & finely chopped

½ tsp Garam Masala

1 tsp Chilli powder

1 tsp Amchur powder/dry mango powder

2  Green chillies chopped

1 tbsp. Ghee or oil

300ml of vegetable stock/water

salt

Punjabi chole masala

4-5 black cardamoms

1 inch cinnamon

5-6 peppercorns

3 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 and half tsp cumin seeds

1 and half tsp coriander seeds

1 and half tsp fennel seeds

2 red chillies

The first thing you need to do here is dry roast all of the above for a few minutes until they turn golden brown, keep them on the move and take care not to burn them, once they are a nice golden brown remove from the heat allow to cool, consign t the pestle and Mortar and grind to a fine powder.
In the pan that you roasted off the spices melt the ghee and fry the onions for a few minutes until they become translucent.
Add the ginger and green Chillies, and fry for a few minutes more.
Mix in the Chole masala and stir well ensuring the spices are well mixed in, if it looks like it is sticking add a little of the vegetable stock just to loosen things a little once mixed in and cooked in for a couple of minutes
add the tinned tomatoes, and a little salt to taste.
Now is the time to add the Amchur, Chilli and Garam Masala powders stir well……
Now all you need to do is cook until the Chickpeas are as soft and fluffy , or as crunchy as you like them that’s down to you.
 Add as much veg stock as this take and then serve with a Naan, rice, or Bathura whatever is your preference

Sema Baghaar…. Pulse & Pea Curry

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 SAM_3001 When I started this blog I made a very sweeping statement that I would not use any “tinned” foods, followers  will by now know that I have failed in this aspiration in that I will always use Tinned tomatoes when I need a sauce enhancer,ganesh and always where a deep tomato flavour is required…….

This little recipe is another such example where a tin is to be considered mightier than the fresh variety. Here comes that word convenience, tinned pulses are convenient and come in a multitude of varieties all well cooked and in tip top condition and lets face it, undercooked pulses are no fun. However if you prefer to pre-boil and cook off all your beans and pulses don’t let me stand in your way and you can re-join the recipe after the hour or two you have invested in getting them just right…..moving swiftly on a tinned pulse is good to go here if a little more expensive so select whatever pulses work for you and open the tins rinse em off and put em aside… job done convenience sometimes rocks.

The curry base however is from the ground up, and as a base curry is brilliant with a multitude of other options for its use, fish, chicken, lamb, goat whatever it is just a fantastic base curry and one that will make your taste buds do the loop the loop in appreciation. The base being the point where you have the sauce finished, and are about to decide what you are putting into it, in this case the pulses, but lets face it pulses and beans are not always the most tastey of things and therefore for this dish to work you do need  some very robust favours. This curry base features lots of garlic onion, ginger, and some sweetness too; all these flavours are bought to the dish using a Bahaar which at its most simple is a cooking technique used in Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian cuisine, in which cooking oil, or ideally Ghee is heated and whole spices and sometimes other ingredients such as minced ginger root, garlic, and sugar are fried briefly to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance their flavors, before being poured, together with the oil, into the dish. In this case there is a powder spice element too just for that extra edge, so dive into this as it is something very special on the taste front and really not too fiddly if as always you are prepared before you start

The What’s in IT

1 lb of beans (2 cups)

the secret here is to use what beans you can get, and pretty much anything goes what follows is some ideas on what you COULD use ………these days supermarkets supply some top quality cooked pulses and these will do just as well as the dried varieties. However if you can be bothered then wash and soak the beans overnight and cook as you should…..

That said any combination of the following cooked is what you will need in the end to add to the sauce

Large lima beans, small white beans, red kidney beans, baby lima beans, great northern beans, speckled lima beans, black beans, green baby lima beans, whole green peas, yellow split peas, lentils, green split peas, small red beans, navy beans, blackeye peas, butter beans

1tbsp garden Peas

1 tbsp Sweetcorn

2 tsp Tamarind pulp

4 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped

6 plump Garlic cloves rough choppedSAM_2999

1.5 inch ginger finely chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

50ml (2 Fl oz ) veg oil

2 large Onions Finely Chopped

1tsp Mustard seeds

0.5 tsp Cumin Powder

0.5 tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 Tsp Garam masala

.5 tsp asafoetida

0.5 tsp Turmeric powder

Small tin chopped Tomatoes( 200gm ish)

1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar

300ml Vegetable stock

10 curry leaves

A drizzle of yoghurt to finish

Salt to taste

The How to

Take a tablespoon of the vegetable stock and add it slowly  to the ground spices and mix to a firm paste, don’t make this too thin as you are adding this to the Bahaar!

Start off by heating the oil in a flat based saucepan or karia add  the onions and fry for about five minutes then add half the Jaggery/brown sugar and continue cooking until the onion is a dark golden brown, this is critical to the sauce and will ensure that the colour is right, the Jaggery or sugar will help to caramelise the onion, and add a sweetness to the sauce, that will balance the heat of the chillies, you can add a tablespoon of stock if it looks like the onions are sticking.

Continue to cook and stir for another couple of minutes now is the time to add the spice paste that you made earlier and cook for a few minutes before adding  the tinned tomatoes stir well and bring back to the boil and allow to simmer while you prepare the Baghaar….

How to prepare a Baghaar

Heat the Ghee in a small saucepan on a high heat and add the cumin coriander and mustard seeds once they start to splutter remove from the heat for a moment and add the curry leaves garlic and ginger and green chillies and immediately return to the heat cook for a minute or two, on a medium heat add the rest of the Jaggery /brown sugar and stir well…… Not that tricky really now… add the Baghaar to the Tomato and onion mix and stir well together

Once the Baghaar  and onion mixes are united together this is the time to introduce the pulses, and as much of the Vegetable stock as you feel like to cook out the pulses , and thicken up the sauce to how you like it….

Add the tamarind pulp, garden peas, and the sweet corn….. SAM_3000stir well and turn the heat down and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Taste and season with salt, then……. serve with Naans chapati or tandoori chicken if you want some meat but whatever way you go its a delicious dish vegetarian or otherwise!

Simply Punjabi Salmon

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The Skeleton of the following recipe was given to me by my friend Gopal who I mentioned that I had an Indian food blog to, his response to that little bombshell was to send me an email at work with some random business stuff that I deal with on a day basis and the recipe at the foot of the message  he thought I and  you curry demons out there might like something that he and his wife like to eat. Nice one Gopal 🙂
I don’t know how traditional it is as I have not been given a traditional name so I have called it something appropriate to the roots of ts origins as I understand them……

When I say this recipe was given to me as a Skeleton it was about 9 lines in total and that included the list of ingredients and as such I have had to use a little bit of demonology to pull it round into something eatable and tangible as a recipe. I do have to say that as a general rule I do not like Salmon, usually its a bit too fishy for my tastes……….. but having an open mind to anything curry, and I do mean anything curry, I have to say I enjoyed cooking and eating it and could  eat this all day everyday, oh yes; which is a good thing as Mrs demonology tells me that Salmon is good for me and my brain……Fabulous

1st May 2014… I do continue to work on recipes and this is no exception I have added a couple more Ingredients Aniseed, and Coconut Milk , tamarind and jaggery and the affect was astonishing bringing the recipe to a new level so if you haven’t tried this yet do so now it is fantastic

This dish like a lot of fish type recipes requires that you make a sauce before you add the fish, and like any sauce this is the taste that the fish is balanced against, and is to a lesser or greater extent the judging point of whether a curry is lifted from very good to great….you can be the judge of that!

I have also gone for a tinned tomato here, as they are always fantastic in taste and great for colour, so never fear tinned toms are a brilliant choice for cooking and in a lot of cases superior to the bland fresh varieties that the supermarkets peddle.  My other reason for using the tinned variety was that tinned chopped toms have a lot of liquid in them and personally I prefer to reduce the sauce rather than add water especially as this is a dry-ish curry, use fresh if you prefer but be warned you may need to add more water later…..

Ingredients

SAM_2888for 2 persons

1 Tbsp Ghee
1tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp Aniseed whole
1tsp Ground brown Mustard seeds
1sp Garam masala
1tsp Turmeric

.5tsp black peppercorns

1tsp Jaggery

1tsp Tamarind Paste

1 medium Onion chopped
3 cloves Garlic through a garlic press
1 inch cube Ginger

3 medium Green Chillies(Chopped finely and de-seeded)
small tin chopped tomatoes. 225 gm

150ml coconut milk

2 Salmon fillets

Method

The first thing you need to do here is create a curry base (Thorka) , this will be a quite dry base as there is very little water added later, and relies on the tomato juice, coconut milk reductions to bring it to the right consistency which should be rich and unctuous.and the salmon for the moisture.

Start by melting the ghee in a flat based pan and add the cumin, and brown mustard and, aniseed, andpeppercorns  cook until they are frothing nicely and releasing their flavours, then add the onions and fry of on a high heat for a couple of minutes.

Reduce the heat a little, add the Ginger, garlic and chillies, and fry until the onions have softened and are beginning to go opaque.

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Reduce the heat a little at this point and  continue to fry off the onions garlic and ginger, add the green chillies and after a few more minutes of frying, add the turmeric and continue frying until the onions are golden brown, then add the small tin of chopped tomatoes and cook for another five to ten minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced to the consistency you think you will like, then add the coconut milk, Jaggery and tamarind and reduce again finally checking the seasoning adding some salt and a little chilli powder to balance to the taste you like.

Finally  adding the Garam Masala .
Now its time for the fish, the sauce should be fairly thick and after reducing the heat to a very low flame, place the fillets of Salmon onto the sauce, which you should be able to bring together as a bed for the fillets to rest on. Place them Skin side down and add a tablespoon of water over each fillet, cover the pan and simmer for about seven or eight minutes on a very low heat, essentially steaming the fish through. The fish will release its juices and will  pick up the flavour of the sauce during this part of the cooking giving the dish the depth of flavour that good curries are famed for…….

Turn the fish over and add anotherSAM_2895 tablespoon of water to each fillet, and repeat the simmering process for another seven or eight minutes SAM_2896or until the fish is cooked through and  flaky.
This final cooking stage is a good time to prepare the Naans or rice and by the time that these have heated through your fish should be ready to serve, add a little splash of lemon juice to the fish and eat this delicious tasty and quick to cook dish taking about 30 minutes including the preparation……

Khumb Hara Pyaz….Spring Onion & Mushroom Curry

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How many ways are there to curry a mushroom??

Khumb Hara Pyaz

Come on it’s a serious question, as those who follow me will realise at the moment I am looking very closely at my fungi, or is that Fungal friend, this being the third recipe to use the mushroom, my wife telling me that there is a punnet or two in the fridge, (but isn’t there always) that require eating before they go off, whatever that means in mushroom terms. Mushrooms themselves are rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin, not to mention a good portion of copper and potassium, which I am reliably informed are essential minerals. That said they are also low in calories, fats and carbohydrates so the science is pretty much all good, and as vegetables go they are one of those that is pretty much ubiquitous!

Putting all that science aside is the simple fact they taste good in all their myriad forms, and yes there are loads of varieties although I restrict myself to buying them from the market, rather than walking through the woods with my wicker basket.

Like a lot of  Indian recipes the title of this recipe tells you the basic ingredients but it cannot explain the complexities in flavour and textures that this recipe brings forth, again this is a vegetarian recipe that can stand on its own two feet so go on feed the veggie in you, yeah go on, you know you want to.

Apart from the spring onions of which there are many as the title suggests, onions being yet another love of mine veg wise to the forefront and featuring heavily as this recipe requires a few ounces of boiled onion paste, which you will need to prepare before starting the recipe for real, don’t panic its dead simple… as follows..

Ingredients

3 Medium sliced onions, this should make the 5 oz required for the recipe

3 Bay leaves

3 Black Cardamom pods

Put all the ingredients into a heavy based pan with about half a cup of water, bring it all to the boil, then reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer for about twenty minutes, until the onions are transparent and the liquid has evaporated ; remove the  whole spices and then blend to a smooth paste or puree…the paste will not keep for more than 24 hours  in the fridge, so make only what you need.

Easy really!

That achieved now is the time to dive headfirst into the recipe nothing too complicated here provided that you prepare all the ingredients before you start……

INGREDIENTS…….Khumb Hara Pyaz

600g / 1lb 5oz button (white) mushrooms, stalks removed

150g / 5oz ghee

5 green cardamom pods

1 black cardamom pod

5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick, about 2.5cm/ 1 inch long

All you need

1 bay leaf

150g / 5oz Boiled Onion Paste

25g / 1oz Ginger Paste(Just mash the ginger with a little water)

25g / 1 oz Garlic Paste(Just mash the Garlic with a little water)

1 x 2.5cm / 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon chilli powder

pinch of ground mace

0.5 teaspoon ground coriander

200ml / 7fl oz natural (plain) yoghurt, whisked

300g / 11oz spring onions (scallions), trimmed

salt

Method

Cut the mushrooms in half and set aside.

Heat the Ghee in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat and add the whole spices, that being the cardamoms, cloves Cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and stir fry for a couple of minutes or until they start to change colour .

Now you can safely add the boiled onion paste and stir fry for a couple more minutes,  at which point  add the Garlic and the ginger pastes, and not forgetting after about another

Now is a good time to add the chilli powder, ground mace and coriander stir frying for about 30 seconds or so,……. add  the green chillies and chopped ginger cooking this out for about another 30 seconds or so… phew take a breath,by removing the pan from the heat and stirring in the yoghurt and return to the heat, pour in 125ml water/ or veg stock,SAM_2584 I prefer stock as this gives an extra flavour facet, but truth be told, stocks are not something that feature much in Indian cookery, but thats not so say they shouldn’t. So if stocka ppeals to you usae it!

Bring it all back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes more until the oil separates out. Add the mushrooms and simmer for another couple of minutes before adding the spring onions and simmering for another minute. Remove from the heat adjust the seasoning and serve

Khumb Hara Pyaz for two

Khumb Hara Pyaz for two

A labour of Love….Nimboo Ka Achar (Lime Pickle)

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One of the great pleasures of indian food for me is that explosive combination of Chilli and sweet and this to some extent is found when fruits such as Pineapple and banana are bought into the recipe. The alternative way is to introduce those flavours as chutneys and pickles. My absolute favourite being the following Lime Pickle an acquired taste I suggest but once you get there, there’s no going back and where pickles and chutney’s are concerned there are few better than the blindingly good lime pickle.

lime pic 2

Make no mistake this is a labour of love and in the western world not something your average cook would wish to even attempt. The following recipe is the fiddley version but in India there is a shortened version to this recipe whereby you just bung the ingredients into a big pot with a little jaggery and put it on a nice warm windowsill for 15 days , fermenting and bubbling away and kapow you have lime pickle….unfortunately though at a guess in England with our rather vague weather getting the desired end result may be more than a little trying!

Now let’s be honest who really has the time the patience or the desire to really make Lime Pickle this way… Not me for sure I prefer to go to the local Indian supermarket and buy a Jar…. However knowing the real traditional way to produce something is never harmful so here goes…..

Ingredients
1 KG/2.25 lbs Limes quartered+ Juice of half a lime
125g/4.5oz Salt
30 cloves Garlic
40g/1.5oz chilli powder

For the tempering
100ml Veg Oil
30g/1.25oz cumin seeds
2tbl mustard Seeds
Pinch asafoetida

Method

Mix the Limes Lime juice, Salt, Garlic & Chilli powder into a heat proof bowl and Steam together for about ten minutes, if you don’t have a steamer place the bowl on an upturned saucer and fill the pan with water to just below the base of the bowl with the limes in then cover the pan lose and bring to the boil, keep an eye on things and add more water from a boiling kettle if required.

What you’re trying to achieve here is to soften the limes

Once this is achieved remove from the heat cover the bowl with a muslin or clean cotton cloth and leave in a warm place for at least two days……

Heat the oil for the tempering in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir fry for about a minute, or until it starts to splutter. Add the Asafoetida and mix well.

Pour the mixture over the limes and mix well again. Cover with a muslin and leave for a further two days on a windowsill  where it can remain warm and get lots of sunlight, the mixture should then be ready to bottle into sterilised jars

Notes on Sterilizing Jars

To sterilize a jar and lids it first must me washed in hot soapy water, then rinsed well, with very hot water to pre warm the glass before placing the jars open side up on to a baking tray and transferring to a preheated oven 120C/250F and leave for at least 30 minutes.

Alternatively you can boil for 15 minutes an a pan for 15 minutes

Sarson da Saag…Punjabi Greens

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This is a classic recipe from the Punjab and one of those dishes that is very simple to cook that has a cooking time of three hours, and is stacked through with vegetables that are pretty tricky to get unless you have an Indian grocer to hand. surmount those two problems and the reward is a dish that is a pure pleasure to eat .As with all good cooking like your mum used to make it requires attention and is not the sort of thing that you should just leave unattended. So get yourself a comfortable perch and apply yourself to lavishing the attention this dish requires as in the end it is well worth it and for the vegetarians amongst you a dish that is right up your street, ticking all the boxes and is brilliant with just corn bread(MakkeKi Rotte) to accompany it.Simple food great taste for sure.

Ingredients

750gm(1lb 10 oz) Mustard Greens Chopped

250gm(9 oz) Spinach chopped

100gm(3.5oz) Mooli(daikon) leaves Chopped

30 gm(1.25oz) Amaranthus, washed  well and chopped

8 Green Chillies de-seeded and slit lengthways1 inch of ginger diced

4 tbsp Mustard oil

4 tbsp Basmati Rice

2 tbsp cornflour

225gm(8oz) Butter softened

Salt to taste

Method

put all the ingredientsexcept the cornflour and the butter into a large heavy based pan, season with salt and pour in two litres(3.5 pints) of waterbring it to the boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer for the next 75 minutes.

Remove from the heat and churn or for those of you with a blender, blitz it down to a lovely blended consistency.

Return the mixture back to the heat cover and simmer for another hour, stirring frequently

Remove from the heat after that hor and adjust the seasoning transfer to a serving dish and garnish with oodles of butter!