Saturday, October 16, 2010

kele ke Kofte/Raw banana Patties in gravy

I always disliked  preparing Kofta's/Patties ,I somehow had the impression it is very cumbersome and the number of steps involved in the recipes kept me OFF Kofta's/Patties. I remember making Koftas came so naturally to my Bhabi,I always admired her ease with koftas :) I loved eating Malai kofta prepared by her:)

I had not so long ago hosted a pot-luck at my house.One of our friend's offered to bring in Kele Ka kofta. I still very distinctly remember the taste and the color-It was absolutely the BEST !!! I had to take the recipe, which I did,but every time I walked the grocery store and picked my vegetables, I would stand a good 2-3 minutes before the raw banana's, take the bunch ,put it in the cart and then on an after thought would  remove it from the cart and put it back in its spot . Mind You- I did this a good number of times,till probably some people around me actually must have thought I had lost it :) I gave up and always came back without the raw bananas until yesterday. Yippee!!!

Bhabi this one is specially for you,and my dear future readers ( I am hoping some day some one will be reading my blog) I also want to mention that making kofta's is not at all cumbersome,I quite enjoyed myself. Turned on my favorite songs on the ipod and  enjoyed this creation. I normally do not take pictures at every step of the preparation but for this one I changed the rules:) enjoy!

Raw Bananas: 6
Medium Sized Onions: 3 Grated
Tomato's : 2 medium or canned
Ginger : 1 tbsp paste
garlic: 1 tbsp paste
green chilly: 2
Oil : 2 tbsp

Dry Masalas :
Salt: 1 tsp
Turmeric :1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
10 peppercorns,10 cloves, seeds of 4 green cardamoms (roasted and pounded) 1 inch of cinnamon stick.
A pinch of grated nutmeg/Jaiphal
Cilantro for garnish

Pressure cook the bananas in a pressure cooker,with 1 glass of water for 4-7 minutes.
Peel the skin and mash them well.

Add salt to this along with half roasted and pounded garam masala(save the other half for the gravy)  Mix 2 tbsp of grated onion to this.Add fine chopped green chilly. Mix well and make small patties.

Take a frying pan and heat oil for deep frying the patties. When the oil is hot fry the patties till golden brown.Put them on a paper towel.         

Method for gravy;

Take a heavy bottomed pan and add 2tbsp oil when hot add grated onion and fry the onion to caramelize it. Onions are naturally sweet and caramelizing them bring out the sweetness. I normally let the onions stick to the bottom, and then add 2 tbsp of water to get a rich golden brown color. When you have the desired color add paste of ginger and garlic cook for a couple minutes and then add pureed tomato's. You can run them in the food processor. Add all the dry spices and cook for 5 minutes till you get a nice aroma and a rich red color. Turn the flame off. you can add the koftas/patties when you are ready to serve. Garnish with cilantro and love to your loved ones:)
Enjoy !!! Please write to me with your comments !

Stages of caramelizing onion till it gets the desired color

Let it stick to the bottom and keep adding a tbsp of water

This is the color after adding the tomato's

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kala chana,puri,halwa

Chaitra navratri kanjak ashtami, is a very auspicious ritual in India during the 9 day navratri festival. This was probably the only one ritual I liked and followed religiously in India twice every year, in October and April. After relocating to the states,it was not just difficult but practically impossible to get 9 girls to get to eat the halva chana puri in the morning after the ashtami pujan. I had to give up on that aspect of the ritual but I still continue to offer my prayers to mata rani ,and make the halva puri& kala chana on the day of Ashtami. My daughter loves the ,"kanjak" prasad/food. Here is the recipe for Kala chana,halva,puri

Kala Chana/ Bengal  gram
1 pound kala chana/bengal  gram
1 tbsp oil
salt  : 1/4th tsp
cumin : 1/2 tsp
Paprika: 1/4 tsp
water to pressure cook


Soak the bengal gram/kala chana overnight
pressure cook the chana with salt,till the chana is done.
Drain the water and save it, you can use it to kneed the flour( this water is rich in nutrients)
Take a pan add  oil ,wait for couple minutes,add cumin and add the boiled chana. Add the paprika . Check to see if the salt content is OK. The chana will have a glazed texture and the oil gives it a nutty flavor,when you saute it for a couple minutes. Enjoy the piping hot chana for breakfast. It is an excellent source of fiber and protein.

Note: For kanjak I keep it plain. When cooking otherwise I usually garnish it with one finely chopped onion,1 green chilly finely chopped, and juice of 1 lemon. This is a good snack anytime of the day.

Halva/flour pudding


3 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
3 tbsp- 1 each of semolina,wheat flour,besan/gram flour
Sliced almonds
1 cup water
sugar : 3 tbsp


take a pan heat butter/ghee
Add 1 tbsp of wheat flour,1 tbsp of semolina,1 tbsp of gram flour/besan
Roast in butter for 5-7 minutes on very low flame till you get the desired  golden brown color. Add water and sugar and cook till all the water is absorbed and the halwa is not runny .  Cook for some more time till you see the oil appear on the sides. Garnish it with sliced almonds and enjoy with puri and kala chana.

P.S  I eye ball the water, this is a personal choice some people like the halva runny and some prefer it with a grainy and thick texture.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

handi chicken biryani

Biryani is derived from the farsi word,"biryan" and study tells that it originated in Persia and over the years travelled to India Via Afghanistan to north of India. During the Mughal rule ,Lucknow was called Awadh giving rise to the Avadhi Biryani. Lucknow amongst  other navabi cities  remains be the hub for all the avadhi cuisine. Biryani is prepared in many ways depending on the region and its culinary identity. 

 chicken: 2 pounds
 Basmati Rice: 1 1/2 cup
 yogurt: 1 1/2 cups
 Ginger& garlic paste : 1 tbsp of each
 turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
 Paprika powder: 1/2 tsp
 garam masala : 2 tsp
 salt: 1 tsp
 Fresh coriander leaves: a small bunch
 Fresh mint leaves: 10-15 leaves
 Kewra water: 1tsp
Rose water: 1 tsp
kesar: a few strands
Milk: 2 tbsp
1 large onion thinly sliced and deep fried
garam masala sabat/whole : Green cardamoms -7,clove -7,Cinnamon -2 inch piece , black cardamom -2-3, & caraway seeds- 1 tsp


Take the chicken pieces and marinate them in curd along with ginger , garlic paste , turmeric ,salt, paprika, half deep fried onions,some mint leaves & coriander leaves and half garam masala. Leave it for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile take the rice and fry it in ghee/butter/oil for a few minutes.the rice gets a nutty flavor. Then take 4 glasses of water add salt and take all the whole spices and tie them in a Muslim cloth ,and put this in a large open pan with the water. When the water begins to boil add the rice, remove the rice after it is 3/4th done. Drain the water and keep the rice. pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

In a handi/earthenware pot spread a layer of marinated chicken and then a layer of 3/4th done rice. Sprinkle some deep fried onions, with some torn mint leaves,coriander leaves,dissolve kesar in milk and add kevra and rose water to this. Now sprinkle some milk. Again make a second layer of chicken followed by a layer of rice and then sprinkled the remaining mint leaves,coriander leaves,fried onions and kesar, kevra & rose  water dissolved in the milk.  Now keep the pot on heat,when the entire mixture is hot ,place the lid and seal it with dough or aluminium foil and stick it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot from the handi and enjoy with raita.

Note: The pictures you is basically the same preparation cooked in two different mediums Handi and heavy iron pan. Hands down the biryani in the handi was moist and had a tandoor flavor as it was cooked in a preseasoned earthenware pot.

Tilapia Grilled

This is an excellent and super quick preparation. Tastes great with cocktails/drinks and also as a side dish with some lentil soup/daal. I will sometimes do a lentil soup/Daal , grilled tilapia and plain rice for a meal

Tilapia: 1 pound
Hung curd: 1/2 cup
A tbsp of ginger paste
A tbsp of garlic paste
Garam Masala :1/4 tsp
paprika : 1/2 tsp
Salt acc: to taste
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method :

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and marinate the fish in this. Leave it in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit . Take a baking tray, line it with aluminium foil, brush it with oil and spread the fish on it and stick it in the oven for 7-10 minutes on the broil setting. Tilapia does not take very long to cook. Cut a piece with a fork or knife ,the inside should be white and not pale pink,if it is not white leave it to broil for a couple minutes more and voila !!! You are ready to savour this  yummy fish :) Serve it on a bed of lettuce leaves .

Note: If I am in a tearing hurry and I don't find the time or ingredients handy then I will use the Shan chicken tandoori BBQ mix for marination. You do not need ginger& garlic if you are using this. Just add 2 tsp of  shan chicken tandoori BBQ , depending on the amount of spice your taste buds can handle,along with curd. Eliminate the salt ,lime and ginger garlic. The mix has all of these. Marinate it for 2 hours and follow the above method for grilling.

P.S I stick to the shaan mix. So I cannot talk for the other brands.I know there are plenty brands available in the market. BTW this mix has artificial food colors ,the preparation you see in the picture is made with shan chicken BBQ mix.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Palak Pulav / Spinach Rice

My daughter was a fussy veggie eater,I was always inventing ways to camouflage the veggies the best I could. At times I would puree vegetable and knead them with the flour and make her paranthas,which she loved and loves them till date. I know most children are  picky eaters especially when it comes to veggies. The Spinach Rice/Palak Pulav recipe worked wonders with my daughter,and adults loved it too.I hope it works for you& yours:)


Spinach a small bunch washed and boiled
1 large tomato
8-10 garlic pods
2 inch piece ginger
Cumin/jeera 1 tsp
Garam masala 1/2 tsp
salt acc: to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups rice soaked and washed

Grind the garlic & ginger in the food processor .Add boiled spinach and chop big pieces of tomato and add these in the food processor. Make a  choppy mixture not a paste.
Take a big open vessel or an aluminium kadai. Add 3 tbsp oil and wait till the oil is hot. Slide in Jeera and wait till you hear the sizzling sound,then add the choppy mixture along with the dry masalas and cook well till all the liquid dries up and the oil starts to separate. Add the rice and fry it in the mixture for 3-5 minutes. Add a glass and a half of water. Cook on high flame for first 3 minutes,then reduce the flame and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes till you see the grains of rice through these holes/bubbles.Then cover it with a tight lid and leave for 5-7 minutes.

Note: I use the tilda rice. Also make sure the rice is seasoned and not new. I never pressure cook rice,some how I like to have the control when it comes to rice dishes. I also eye ball the water that I add to the rice.

You can tweak the recipe here and there. I sometimes chop the spinach without boiling it and chop the tomato's as well. This comes out equally yummy.
Happy Cooking :)!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Unexpected guests !

I am almost always well stocked on four things.

Onions,Potato's,frozen peas  and tomatos ( canned or fresh) I call these life saviors. It is good to be prepared for last minute plans. I have had to entertain un-expected  guests mind you  ! not un-wanted guests :)

Some quick and easy recipes always come in handy.

Matar Aloo rasse wale :

Ingridients :

Peas- 250 gms

1 potato

1 medium sized onion

2 medium sized tomatos

5-6 pods of garlic

1 inch piece ginger

Corriander powder 1 tsp
turmeric 1/4 tsp
salt acc: to taste
chilly powder 1/2 tsp
Roasted jeera powder 1/2 tsp
garam masala 1/4 tsp
Cilantro for garnishing

Grind or chop onions. In a pressure cooker add 2 tbsp olive oil /canola oil. wait till the oil is hot,then add the onions along with some salt and saute till it gets golden/pink. Grind ginger and garlic and add to the onions. Grind tomatos and add to the onion mixture along with all the dry masala's. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Till you see a nice orange/red color and some oil on the sides. Add frozen peas and chop the potato . Add 1/2 a glass of water and pressure cook for 3-4 minutes. It should not take very long for the potatos to cook.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Enjoy the matar aloo with poori or rice or roti :) Happy cooking !

Tip: If the rassa/gravy  is thin mash some potato with the back of the spoon.

Please do write on my blog and leave your comments . Thanks !

Beans and Aloo

Sindhi cooking normally requires a lot of garlic,ginger,onions and tomatos. Sometimes I crave for simple food ,which does not require all these ingridients.

We were recently visiting our friends in Schnectaty NY, over the columbus day weekend. We had a wonderful time driving to Berkshire with them,the fall colors were still looking very vibrant even though many trees on that stretch have shed their leaves. We ate  lunch at the famous hair Pin Turn resturant- Golden eagle in North Adams MA. I ordered the Ocean catch sandwich with the haddock  along with a bottle of Pino Grigio,which we all shared.

We got back home to my friends house late and in time for dinner. Pulled out some left overs and my friend made this very simple aloo beans. I loved the sabji as it was very different from what I cook at home. I normally use lot of ginger,garlic,and tomatos.

 So today I followed my friends recipe and made the simple & yet very yummy aloo beans at home for lunch. My daughter loved it :) we ate this with garam roti and simple jeere wala raita.

Ingridients :

Beans 500 gms
2 big potatos
2 inch piece of ginger

salt acc: to taste
corriander powder : 2 tsp
chilly powder: 1 tsp
turmeric : 1/2 tsp
garam masala: 1/4 tsp


wash& chop the beans and put them in a glass bowl with very little water and stick them in the microvave for 6 minutes.They should be nice and tender.

Boil the potatos in the microvave till they are all done. I normally poke them with a knife,this was they get cooked evenly and in much less time.

Now after they have cooled down,cut the boiled potato . I keep the pieces big,so I will normally cut one potato into six pieces.

Peel & chop the ginger to very tiny pieces.

Take a non-stick pan or aluminium kadai and add 2 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot add a pinch of asfotedia along with chopped pieces of ginger. Add all the dry spices and quickly add the boiled beans and chopped potatos and stir with a flat spatula gently making sure you do not break the boiled potato.

Cover it for 2 to 3 minutes .The beans and aloo will absorb all the dry spices. Enjoy it with hot rotis's/phulka's and raita.

The beans in this preparation will retain their green color.

Sindhi Recipe-Khumbiyun Ji Bhaji -Mushroom vegetable.

I have to share this with all my readers. My love with cooking started way back when I was barely a teenager studying in 8th class. Also the first thing I ever cooked was Khumbiyun Ji Bhaji .

I was walking in my patch of the garden which I had cultivated after toiling for long hours on Sunday's, and lot of cheering and motivation from my other siblings. We used to live on  a  huge property in Ajmer , India.And my father had assigned a  patch  of land  to  each one of my siblings. We are 4 brothers and sisters,I am the youngest. We were asked to make this piece of  rocky patch fertile and ready to grow vegetables.  I wonder how we got roped in ,something as mundane as growing a vegetable patch since we were all in the age group of 12-18  I guess this is how it was in the 70's with no computers and video games and  Oh yes- Television was a novelty in those days. The doordarshan ( the only channel) would telecast," Krishi darshan ." A programme for farmers on farming techniques. LOL I am amazed how we survived that era, but we were all happy and enjoyed the little activities we did and looked forward to Sunday's when we would all work on our patches,all trying to out do each other. To cut a long story short,we all did quite well and did grow some seasonal vegetables. I converted my patch into a small garden with lawn and flowers. My school friend also helped me put some stakes around the grapevine which was always there,before I started to work on that patch. I was proud of my small garden :)

Suddenly out of the blue after a good monsoon season,I was inspecting my garden and I come across these very appetizing mushrooms. If I remember clearly there were some 4-5 almost in a clump,white and robust.I hurriedly ran to the house to get my father,he saw the mushrooms and smiled and pulled them out carefully,stem intact.He asked me if I would want to cook these,this would be my  very first brush with cooking so I felt very proud and happily accepted the offer. Dad verbally gave me the recipe and a few other tips for safety.

Here goes Khumbiyun Ji Bhaji :


For 1 pound mushroom : You can use button mushrooms.

7-10 pods of garlic
2  inch piece of ginger
3 medium sized tomatoes .
Fresh cilantro half a bunch

Salt acc: to taste
Turmeric 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder 1 teaspoon
Red chilly powder 1/4 teaspoon
Pinch of garam masala


Take a non-stick pan or an aluminum/iron kadai,heat 2 tablespoon of oil and wait till it gets hot. Meanwhile pound garlic and ginger& cilantro( save some cilantro for garnishing) in a mortar with a pastel. Add this to the heated oil and then roughly chop tomatoes and add these to the garlic and ginger. Add all the dry masala's and cook till oil separates. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and make sure there is no soil sticking in the crevices. Chop these roughly in any shape you desire and add this to the ginger,garlic tomato paste. I add these towards the end as my father always preferred his veggies to have that crunch. This is his recipe- Remember !  Now cover it for 3-5 minutes and let it cook on very low flame. You can keep it longer if you like the mushrooms to be tender to the bite.

Add chopped coriander and eat with phulka/roti.

Oh BTW my father loved the preparation and was so happy with my culinary start that he rewarded me with 5 Rs. My daughter calls it 5 Rs dish and this is one of her top favorites. This dish and the 5 Rs got me very motivated and thence started my love with cooking :)

I have just started my blog and  this is my first post but I promise I will put up pictures for every dish I write a post on.

Happy cooking  !!!

P.S I made this dish today and as promised earlier I am putting up pictures for this recipe.Enjoy!!!