Tag Archives: vegetarian

Bhare Baghare Tamate (Stuffed Tomatoes)

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SAM_3450 I have been very quiet lately principally I believe if you have nothing to say then do that….. quiet is something that it is very difficult to find in the world that surrounds us all and as such one of the few things that can always one hope be done quietly is eating good food. Todays dish is a traditional one  that is not something you can bring together in ten minutes it will take you at least 90 minutes in the initial preparation and perhaps 30 to 4o minutes in the cooking so don’t undertake this recipe if you are looking for something quick. Its vegetarian all the way and one of those dishes that needs little else to help it along , but if you must have some more protein a fillet of white fish would compliment it for sure

The Whats in it

4 Beefsteak Tomatoes

Salt

For the Filling

Unsalted butter, for frying

150g/5oz (2 cups) chopped mushrooms

250g/9 oz Paneer, grated or crumbled

1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

4 green chillies, slit in half lengthways and de-seeded

24 cashew nut halves

1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

For the Paste

4 tablespoons peanuts, roasted

2 tablespoons desiccated (dried flaked) coconut

4.5 tablespoons sesame seeds

250g/9 oz (2 small) onions

4 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the Sauce

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.5 teaspoons chilli powder

125ml/4.5 fl oz (0.5 cup) vegetable oil

0.5 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

16 curry leaves

150g/5oz (1 medium) onion, sliced

3 tablespoons Ginger Paste

1 teaspoon Garlic Paste

100g/3.5 oz Fried Onion Paste

0.25 teaspoon Tamarind Extract

The How To do It

Blanch the tomatoes by putting then in a large heatproof bowl of boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunging them in cold water.  Remove the skin and slice off the top neatly with a sharp knife, then remove the core, taking care not to pierce the flesh.

To Make the Filling

Melt the butter in a large, heavy based pan over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and lightly fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated.

Transfer to a bowl, then add all the other ingredients for the filling, season with salt and mix together.

Put a portion of the filling in each of the blanched tomatoes and set aside, until 20 minutes before you wish to serve

Place in an oven at 180 degrees for as you begin to make the sauce if you prefer your tomatoes cooked through, then add to the sauce and follow the “sauce” part of the recipe

To Make the Paste

Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, with a little water if necessary, and process to make a paste.  Set aside.

To Make the Sauce

Put the turmeric and chilli power in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons water and stir together.

Heat the oil in another large, heavy-based pan over medium heat

Add the mustard and cumin seeds and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until they start to splutter

Add the curry leaves, stir

Add the onions and lightly fry for about 2 minutes or until they are translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic pastes and stir fry for about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are golden.

Add the ground spice mixture to the pan and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the moisture has evaporated

Add the pastes and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the oil has separated out.

Pour in 750ml/1.25 pints (3.25 cups) water and season with salt.

Bring to the boil then stir in the tamarind extract.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is a thin sauce consistency

Place the stuffed tomatoes in the sauce, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Uncover and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve and enjoy, fantastic with a Naan!

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

Pao Bhaji… Much better than street food

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This is a fantastic little dish regarded by most as street food and as such on the streets of Mumbai one of the foods that feeds a nation everyday.

The recipe fearured here is the most simple version and is open very much to your own interpretations in terms of you can add peas, carrots, sweetcorn, or come to that any vegetable that floats your boat, traditionally on the street it is served with Bread rolls,  called Pav, very good for soaking up the sauce, and as important as the roll in a hambuger or hotdog.

This recipe will serve six and take approx 25 minutes to prepare and about the same for cooking…..

Ingredients

1kg/2.2 lbs potatoes peeled

2 tsp Garlic paste

2 tsp Ginger Paste

180g/6oz Ghee or vegetable oil

360gm/12.5 oz Tomatoes chopped

160gm/5.5 oz Onions chopped

6 Green Chillies de-seeded and choppedpavbhaji

4cm/1.5 inch Ginger finely chopped & peeled

1.5tsp Ground Turmeric

1tsp Chilli Powder

180g/6oz unsalted butter

2tsp Garam Masala

2 Tbsp Chopped Coriander

3Tbsp Lemon Juice

salt to taste.

Method

First things first cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for about twenty minutes, or until soft, drain and allow to cool then mash….

Place the Garlic and the Ginger in seperate bowls and stir in 125 mls of water to each and set aside

Heat the Ghee or oil in a heavy based pan add the tomatoes, onions, chillies, ginger and Turmeric, and stir fry over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat, add the mashed potatoes and chilli powder, salt , then mix thoroughly and continue to cook mash and stirring for another 5 minutes or so.

Add the Garlic and Ginger paste mixtures then increase the heat. Add  4 tablesppons of Butter and mix well, sprinkle with Garam Masala, chopped Coriander and Lemon Juice and stir well……

This dish is best served with the pav being fried to a light golden brown in the remaining butter, but is just as delicious  with a nice crusty loaf or roll……

Shrikand….Yoghurt of the chilled out kind

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This is yet another great secret in the world that is sweet things, Indian food does sweet is usually something that is quite rare , especially if it is if it is done well, and this is one of those recipehung yoghurts that if you are prepared to take your time and to follow the recipe, the end result is better than good, oh yes I like it that much.

There is a tricky element in following the recipe, so lets start right there, one of the ingredients takes a little fiddling around to achieve. The basis of this dish is yoghurt and the Indians, when they use yoghurt in a lot of dishes, like to hang it first, this helps to remove the water and thicken the yoghurt up, this then being called hung yoghurt…..

Its easy enough to do, just place a piece of muslin or cheesecloth in a strainer that is large enough to take the yoghurt that you intend to use for the recipe, and then simply pour the yoghurt into the sieve whilst holding it over the sink. Once the initial flush of water has drained from the yogurt, pull up the sides of the cloth to form a bag and tie it all up nice and tightly to form a pouch, hang that over a container for at least 30 minutes, or until you think that the yoghurt is well drained. The end product you can keep in the fridge for up to a day, noting that the more you cool it, the more solid it gets….Once this step is achieved everything else is simple in this delicious and very tasty recipe.

             Shrikand

Shrikand

Ingredients

This is more than enough to serve six, or three people with a sweet tooth!

1 tsp Saffron

1tbsp Milk

1 Litre?1.75 Pints hung Natural Yoghurt

100Gm/ 3.5 oz Caster Sugar

1 tsp cardamoms

 8-10 Unsalted Pistachio nuts

Method

This is really simple , first off place the Saffron in a small bowl with the milk and allow to soak for a few minutes. Place the hung yoghurt in another bowl and whisk in the sugar a little at a time, then stir in the saffron and milk , sprinkle over the pistachios and cardamoms , place it in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve when nice and chilled that’s the Shrikand not you……

Gulab Jamun the hard whey?

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Unfortunately when you come into the land of puds and sweets generally speaking very little is simple. The west creates pastries and creamy delights for that final dish to complete or end any special meal or banquet; India is no different,  equally as complex, equally as satisfying and equally as sweet. We  human beings just love our sweet things.

It should be remembered that if you visit the majority of indian take-aways, or restaurants that the extent of the sweet menu is farcical, never going much beyond  a bit of Gulab Jamun or Khoya Bonbons in Syrup as the translation goes those most delightful of sweet tasting sugar syrup soaked balls, delicious for sure,but packet made of that you can be certain of in the restaurants. For restaurants the genuine recipe for this dish contains two ingredients most cooks would shrink away from, and for the most part can’t be purchased at the corner store, or supermarket, and restaurants neither have the time market or inclination to make properly, so packet made is what you get and thats not to say that the packet version isnt delicious but….

That said we are not most cooks are we…No of course we are not I hear you say.

So make these tricky things we will….

First of these tricky things is Khoya, a milk reduction that is also found in many other sweet dishes Pinni for example, a quick translation is Bon Bons, and a fair description as in reality it is a sweet ball of sugar, flour, dried fruits, and khoya. You can also find Khoya in a many other dishes that require that concentrated milk taste,and there is a Khoya pudding that is delicious on its own but more of that some other time.

There is only one ingredient in Khoya and that is  whole Milk

2 litres will make 400 gm or 14oz

First of all put the milk into a large heavy based pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and stir every 5 minutes, the object here is to reduce the quantity prety much the same as you would do with any sauce, in this instance reducing by half. You will need to stir constantly and remove the dried layer of milk that sticks to the side of the pan. Carrying on with tkhoyahis reduction until your milk has reached the consistency of  mashed potato. Once you have achieved this you can transfer to another pan and allow to cool…job done in about 90 minutes for the quantity suggested above. It will store in this condition in the fridge for at least a couple of days.

You can also store for a lot longer of you dry it another process that takes a little time but is worth the effort.

Place the paste into a cheesecloth or muslin bag , place it in the sink and weigh it down and leave it for at least an hour, the object being to get as much of the liquid out as you can, the resulting solid can be stored in the refrigerator, and can be grated or crumbled.

The next of the two vital ingredients for the traditional Gulab Jamun is Chhena

There’s one more ingredient here that you will need, besides milk in this recipe

160ml white Vinegar

2 litres milk

This is another milk process but one that relies on the curdling power of the white vinegar and again will require constant attention, with at least an hour of your time, and again your full attention as all good cooking should do!

Again you need to put the milk into a heavy saucepan and bring it to the boil, then immediately remove it from the heat and add the vinegar making sure that you spread the vinegar over the whole surface of the hot milk in a steady stream, and then stir for about three or four minutes, the end result of this should be a curdled milk or whey as it should really ber called.

This should be poured into a muslin bag or into a  cloth placed in a strainer or colander in a sink to allow the liquids to drain away leaving the whey behind.chhena

This achieved you should then start to prod and squeeze the bag until the milky whey starts to Ooze out.

Now comes the fun part whilst the whey is still warm spread it out on to a flat surface and begin to knead it, almost as if it was a bread dough using the palm of your hand and continue to do so until you have mashed out all the granules and it is as smooth as it will go. That’s essentially it.

All you need do now is allow it to cool, wrap it in foil and store in the refrigerator, but use it quick as its only any good for about 24 hours.

Mission accomplished

Well almost. the rest is easy……

So now is the time to make those Gulab Jamun that you have always promised yourself and trust me on this they are far superior to the mix that you can buy!

This recipe is the real McCoy and worth every second of the time it takes, rest assured the results will speak for themselves

 Ingredients

Pinch of Saffron Threads

1 teaspoon Rosewater

300g/11 oz Khoya (See above)

50g/1.75 oz Chenna (see above)

4 Tbsp All purpose plain flour

1tsp Baking Powder

1tbsp Ghee

6 tsp cardamon seedsgulab_jamun_0

12 unsalted Pistachio Nuts

1kg/2.25 lbs Sugar

0.75 tsp Lime Juice

Enough clean oil to Deep fat Fry!

Method

First thing soak the Saffron in a finger sized bowl and soak in the Rosewater until required.

Crumble the Khoya and the Chhena to remove any lumps into a large bowl , add the flour, baking powder and 1 tbsp of Ghee and mix roughly   make a soft dough, you will now need to knead this dough for no less than 5 minutes on a flat surface, you can lightly flour the surface to reduce sticking, or you can use a little ghee or oil to achieve the same result.

Oil your hands and start pinching off and rolling the dough into balls of about 1 inch in diameter.

Heat your deep fat fryer to around 170 degrees and deep fry for about 3 to 4 minutes or until they are a golden brown remove from the fryer and allow to cool and drain on some kitchen roll.

The great pleasure of this sweet is the Syrup that the Gulabs should be soaked in; and as such the recipe that follows for this is traditional but don’t be shy or scared to use any sweet flavouring that takes your fancy, or flavouring that appeals, Vanilla works just as well as Rosewater

However the start of  a good syrup is achieved by filling a heavy based pan with water and adding all the sugar, yes all of it, you don’t need teeth for these pudding delights!

Heating the water gently to start whilst stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Now increase the heat and bring to the boil, continue to boil and remove the scum that floats to the surface with a slotted spoon, until the syrup reaches a one thread consistency, this should be done with extreme caution as this syrup is very hot indeed, but to test allow some to cool slightly on a spoon befor touching and then  take some syrup between your thumb and forefinger and draw your fingers apart, the syrup will then form fine threads, the number of the threads indicates the correct consistency, but please be carefull we do not want any burns here!

Once this is achieved add the Rosewater and infused Saffron to the syrup, stir and then transfer the golden fried Gulab balls to the syrup, and leave for at least 30 minutes for the gulabs to soak up the syrup before serving. It is worth noting that the Gulabs will continue to soak up syrup for many hours and in my opinion are best left for a couple of hours for best results, however some people prefer them completely deliciously gooey. My suggestion is make a batch stick em into soak and eat them over a period of twenty-four hours to find your ideal soak time…..or is that just a bit too greedy for ya?

Funghi Kari

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Just recently my musings seem to have drifted from the thing that is dear to my heart, that being the food,or more importantly the recipes. A particular joy for me are the recipes that create something very quickly that is memorable to the point where you think I will just have to make that again, or develop that. This is exactly that a development recipe, a work in progress so dont be surprised if you see it change.

The principle reason for this is that I love Mushroom and well it curries so well soaking up the herbs and spices that make its eartrhy flavour sing!

This particular dish is a joy for the vegetarians out there, full of flavour and texture I like to get a mix of different mushrooms where I can, as this can add an edge to an otherwise very simple dish serve it on a Naan of some description and it fits very nicely into that niche that is an easy after work dish that is filling satisfying and tasty

Serves 4

Ingredients

4cm (1½in) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

100g (4oz) onions, peeled and chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

450g (1lb) large mushrooms

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon tomato purée

2 teaspoons ground coriander

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

2 tablespoons chopped green coriander

150ml veg stock, or water

Method

Step One Put the ginger, onion and garlic into the Pestle  Mortar and pound them together until you have a smooth paste, if you wish to take the short cut you can use a blender, and if the paste is a little too thick add a tablespoon or two of water

Wash the mushrooms thoroughly cut them into halves or quarters  and put them aside

Put 3 tablespoons of the oil in a non-stick frying pan and set over high heat. When the oil is hot stir fry the mushrooms for two or three minutes, or until the mushrooms no longer look raw

Empty the contents of the pan into a bowl. Wipe the pan.

Step Three Put the remaining oil into the pan and set over high heat. When hot, add the paste from the blender. Stir and fry for 3–4 minutes until it starts turning brown.

Add 1 tablespoon of the yoghurt and fry for 30 seconds.

Add another tablespoon of the yoghurt and fry for 30 seconds. Do this a third time.

Now add the tomato purée and fry for 30 seconds. Add the ground coriander and stir once or twice.

Now put in the veg stock, carefully avoiding flooding the gravy as this should be a lovely unctious consistency.

Now the mushrooms and their juices, salt and chilli powder. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 15 minutes or until the gravy reaches the consistency you like.

Sprinkle the green coriander over the top before serving.

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!