Kheer (Rice Pudding)

Kheer

Kheer (Rice Pudding)

Kheer is one of the ancient sweet delicacies found in Indian kitchen. Irrespective of the area, religion, tradition or generation difference, Kheer satisfies every ones palate. With the time there have been innovations in its original form. Traditionally it is prepared with milk and rice.

Ingredients   

  1. 5 packets of 500ml full fat milk (2.5 ltr. milk)
  2. 1 small bowl of rice (katori)
  3. 1 small bowl of sugar (can be increased as per taste)
  4. 2 green cardamoms
  5. 10-15 almonds
  6. 10-12 raisins

Method

  • Soak almonds in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Drain the water and peal of the skin and cut it into small pieces. Keep aside.
  • Wash rice and soak in water for half an hour.
  • Pour the 4 packets of milk into a heavy bottom deep pan bring it to boil.
  • Drain water from rice and add rice to the boiled milk.
  • Open the cardamom and add into the boiled milk and mix.
  • On a low flame keep on simmering the milk.
  • Keep on mixing the malai/cream accumulated on the top of the milk back into the milk.
  • Also remove the malai/cream that sticks on the sides of the pan and mix back into the milk.
  • Constantly stir the milk so that it doesn’t get burnt.
  • Once it starts thickening and rice starts to turn soft add remaining 1 packet of milk.
  • Keep on stirring in between.
  • Cook till the milk gets thicken and in between keep on stirring, mixing the malai/cream and scraping from the sides back into the milk.
  • In between the entire process, increase the flame to high 2-3 times and the let the milk come to a boil. But make sure that you keep on stirring when it is on high flame otherwise the milk will boil out of the pan.
  • Add half of the almonds and raisins.
  • It takes almost one and half hour for the kheer to cook.
  • Switch off the flame once the milk has thickened and rice have mixed in the milk.
  • Add sugar and stir so that it dissolves.
  • Serve it warm or cold the way you enjoy it.

Garnish with almonds and raisins. Sheets of edible gold or silver leaf can also be used for garnishing.

Vermicelli (Namkeen Sewaia)

Vermicelli (Namkeen Sewaia)

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups of vermicelli
  2. 1 medium sized capsicum cut into thin slices
  3. 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  4. 1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
  5. ½ tsp of cumin seeds
  6. ¼ tsp of red chili powder
  7. 1-2 green chilies as per taste
  8. Salt to taste
  9. ½ tsp of garam masala
  10. 1 tbsp of tomato sauce
  11. 2 tbsp of refined oil

  Method

  • Boil 6 cups of water in a pan
  • Add 1 tbsp of refined oil and ½ tsp of salt.
  • As the water starts to boil put vermicelli in it and let it boil on low flame. Stir in between. Take out a string of vermicelli and press with fingers to check if has boiled.
  • Once done strain and pour some fresh water and leave it aside so that the water can strain out completely.
  • Heat the oil in a non stick pan and add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add green chilies and onions. Saute onions till 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and cover the lid. Let it cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add capsicum and cover the lid for 1 minute.
  • Add tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute.
  • And add salt (we have already added some salt at the time of boiling so careful about the amount of the salt to be added at this step of cooking) and garam masala.
  • Add boiled vermicelli and mix gently. Cook for 1-2 minutes on low flame. Stir in between gently.

Serve Hot.

Stuffed Gobhi/Cauliflower

Stuffed Gobhi/Cauliflower
Ingredients
1. 2 small size cauliflowers/gobhi (remove the danthal/stalks)
2. 3 medium sized onion finely chopped
3. 4 medium sized tomato finely chopped
4. 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
5. ½ tsp of cumin seeds
6. 2-3 green chilies as per taste chopped
7. ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
8. ¼ tsp of deghi lal mirch powder
9. 1 tsp of garam masala
10. 1 tsp of coriander powder
11. Salt to taste
12. 3 tbsp of refined oil
13. Refined oil for deep frying
14. ½ cup of fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Method
• Boil water in a pan with 1tsp of salt.
• Wash the cauliflower. Cauliflower has to be used in one piece, do not cut it into pieces.
• Put it into boiling water. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from flame, cover with lid and keep aside.
• Once the water cools down, drain the cauliflower leave aside in a strainer for excess water to drain.
• Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
• One by one deep fry the cauliflower till it starts to turn little golden brown. Do not over fry it.
• Take them out on an absorbent paper leave aside.
• Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan.
• Add cumin seeds and let then crackle.
• Add ginger garlic paste and sauté.
• Add green chilies and saute.
• Add onions and sauté till they become transparent.
• Add tomatoes and drizzle a little water. Cover the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.
• Remove the lid and crush the tomatoes with the help of karchi (spatula).
• Cook on medium flame till the masala starts leaving oil.
• Remove from flame and let the mixture cool down and grind in a mixer. Keep aside.
• Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan.
• Pour the gravy into the pan. Mix well. Pour little water in the mixture so that left over mixture in the mixer comes off and add the same in the pan.
• Add red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt and mix. Keep stirring till the boil comes.
• Place both the cauliflowers into the gravy and with the help of the spoon fill the gravy into the gaps in the cauliflower so that it fully soaks the flavours of masala and also cover the cauliflower with the masala.
• Cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes on low flame.
• Stir very carefully so that the cauliflowers do not break.
• Cook for another 5 minutes or till the cauliflower soaks the masala.
• Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serve hot with chapatti or parathas.

Dry Kale Chanae/Sukhae Chanae (Dry Black Chickpeas)

Dry Kale Chanae/Sukhae Chanae (Dry Black Chickpeas)
Ingredients
1. 1 cup of black chana (black chickpeas) soaked overnight or for 8-9 hours
2. ½ tsp of cumin seeds
3. ½ tsp of ginger finely gratted
4. 1 green chili as per taste chopped
5. ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
6. ¼ tsp of deghi lal mirch powder
7. ½ tsp of garam masala
8. Salt to taste
9. 2 tbsp of mustard oil (sarso oil)

Method
• Wash the kala chana and soak it into the water overnight/ 8-10 hours.
• Pressure cooker the chana for 2-3 whistles with some salt in them. Use the same water for boiling the chana in which they were soaked overnight. After boiling drain all the water and keep aside.
• Heat oil in a pan.
• Add cumin seeds and let then crackle.
• Add ginger and green chilies and saute.
• Add salt, turmeric powder, deghi mirch and garam masala. Mix well (keep a check on the quantity of salt to add at this step as we have already added some salt while boiling the chanae into the pressure cooker).
• Add the chanae to the masala. Mix with delicate hands so that chanae do not get mashed up. Cover with lid and cook for 2-3 minutes on low flame. Remove lid and cook for another 2-3 minutes without lid.
Serve hot with chapatti or parathas.

Baingan Bhajja

Baingan Bhajja
Ingredients
1. One large baigan/eggplant
2. Mustard oil (sarso oil) for deep frying
3. 1 tsp of garam masala
4. 1 tsp of red chilli powder
5. Salt to taste

Method
• Wash the Baingan and dry it
• Cut it into half inch round slices.
• Heat oil in a pan.
• One by one deep fry all the slices of baingan.
• Fry it on medium flame till the slices turn crispy and golden brown on both the sides. Do not over fry as the slices will turn bitter.
• Drain the slices on an absorbent paper.
• On each slice sprinkle salt, garam masala and red chilli powder as per taste.

Serve hot Baingan bhajja with chappati.

Tips
1. Mustard oil makes bhajja crispy but it can be fried in refined oil also.
2. You can either shallow fry or deep fry baingan slices
3. Baingan onces cut into slices quicky turns blackish so slice it just before frying.

Vegetable Dalia Pulao

Vegetable Dalia Pulao (Indian Porridge)
Dalia also known as broken wheat is known for its nutritional value. If you are looking for a high protein and fiber diet with low fat and calories dalia is the best option to go for. It can be used to prepare vegetable dalia pulao or sweet dalia cooked in milk.

Ingredients
1. 1 cup of dalia
2. 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
3. 1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
4. 1 small size potato chopped in small pieces
5. ¼ cup of french beans
6. ¼ cup of peas
7. ¼ tsp of ginger finely gratted
8. 1-2 garlic cloves finely chopped
9. ½ tsp of cumin seeds
10. 1 green chili as per taste chopped
11. ¼ tsp of turmeric powder (optional)
12. ½ tsp of garam masala
13. Salt to taste
14. 1 tbsp of refined oil (ghee can also be used)
15. 1 tbsp of ghee (for roasting dalia)
16. ¼ cup of fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Method
• In a pan or kadai heat 1 tbsp of ghee.
• Add dalia to it and roast till it starts leaving aroma and starts turning golden brown. Switch off the gas as soon as it starts to turn golden brown. Make sure to constantly keep stirring while roasting the dalia. Keep the pan aside.
• Heat oil in a pressure cooker
• Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
• Add garlic and sauté.
• Add ginger and green chilies and saute.
• Add onions and sauté till they become transparent.
• Add tomatoes and drizzle a little water. Cover with the temporary lid on the cooker and cook for 2-3 minutes.
• Remove the lid and crush the tomatoes with the help of karchi (spatula).
• Cook on medium flame till the masala starts leaving oil.
• Add potatoes, french beans and peas and cook for 2-3 minutes with temporary lid on.
• Add salt, turmeric powder and garam masala. Mix well.
• Add dalia and mix.
• Add water to the extent that it just covers the top surface of the mixture.
• Pressure cooker for another 1-2 whistles and cook for another 5 minutes on the low flame. Let the pressure cooker cool down. Open the lid and see if the dalia is cooked properly. In case it is required cook for another few minutes as required on low flame till it is properly cooked.
• Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Serve hot with chapatti curd or chutney.

Bharwa/Stuffed Shimla Mirch

Bharwa Shimla Mirch ( Stuffed Capsicum)

Ingredients
1. 4 small sized capsicum
2. 3 medium sized boiled potatoes
3. 1 medium sized onion finally chopped
4. ½ tsp of ginger garlic paste
5. ¼ tsp of cumin seeds
6. ½ tsp garam masala
7. ½ tsp red chili powder
8. ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
9. ½ tsp of amchur powder
10. 1 tsp of coriander powder
11. 1-2 green chilies (as per taste)
12. Salt to taste
13. 4 tbsp of refined oil

Method
• Mash the boiled potatoes in a bowl and keep aside.
• Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan.
• Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
• Add ginger garlic paste and sauté.
• Add green chilies.
• Add onion and sauté till they become transparent.
• Add turmeric powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, coriander powder, amchur powder and salt. Mix well.
• Add mashed potatoes and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
• Remove from the flame and keep aside.
• Cut the top of the capsicum in a round shape. Keep the tops aside.
• Remove all the seeds carefully and make sure the capsicum does not break.
• Fill the capsicum with the potato filling. Stuff well. Cover with the round lids of the capsicum.
• In a kadai heat 3 tbsp of refined oil. Place the capsicum carefully in the oil.
• Cover with the lid and let them simmer for 5-7 minutes.
• Cook the capsicum till all the sides are roasted well.

Serve hot in main course with chapatti or naan.

Spices

Spices of India

We all have heard the saying “Spice up your life”. That is what spices are they add aroma, taste, nutritional and healing properties to our food. Indian spices are used in cooking as well as in various medicines. As with most of us my cooking also started with basic few spices and with the experience one gathers and more experimental one becomes in cooking the big world of spices start opening for you. Specialty of the spices is that they can be added in different combinations in different type of dishes may be salty or sweet.

Let’s go through the different spices.

1. Asafoetida (Hing)
It is a digestive aid and is particularly used in dals (lentils) and beans. It has a strong odour and only a pinch of it is added to the recipe.
2. Cumin Seeds(Jeera)
3. Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
4. Fennel Seeds(Saunf)
5. Coriander Seeds (Sabut dhania)
6. Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
7. Garam Masala
8. Dry Red Chilies (Sukhi lal mirch)
9. Chilli Powder (Lal mirch powder)
10. Coriander Powder (Dhania powder)
11. Mango Powder, Dried(Amchur powder)
12. Fenugreek Leaves, Dried (Kasuri Methi)
13. Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Dana)
14. Cloves (Laung)
15. Black Mustard seeds (Sarson, Rai)
16. Nigella seeds (Onion Seeds, Kalaungi)
17. Green Cardamom (Choti elaichi)
18. Black Cardamom (Badi elaichi)
19. Cinnamon (Dalchini)
20. Nutmeg (Jaiphal)
21. Mace (Javitri)
22. Melon Seeds(Magaz)
23. Black Peppercorns (Sabut Kali Mirch)
24. White Peppercorns (Miri)
25. Saffron (Kesar)
26. Bay Leaf (Tej Patta, Laurel Leaf)
27. Mint Leaves (Pudina)
28. Sesame seeds (Til)
29. Pomegranate Seeds (Anardana)

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

Ingredients
1. 500 gms of palak (Spinach)
2. 1 cup of square shaped paneer cubes
3. 1 onion finely chopped (medium sized)
4. 2 tomatoes diced into small pieces (medium sized)
5. ¼ tsp cumin seeds
6. ¼ tsp of ginger finely grated/chopped
7. ¼ tsp of garlic finely grated/chopped
8. 2-3 green chilies (or as per taste)
9. ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
10. 2 tsp of kauri methi
11. ½ tsp garam masala
12. Salt to taste
13. 1 tsp of fresh cream for garnishing
14. 3 tsp refined oil
15. Oil for shallow frying the paneer cubes
16. Ice water for blanching the spinach

Method
Blanching the Spinach and making puree
• Remove the stems of the spinach and wash it well.
• In a pan boil 3 cups of water and add a little salt.
• To this add spinach and boil for 5-6 minutes.
• Once it is boiled take a bowl of ice water and transfer the spinach to the ice water.
• Strain the spinach after 1 minute.
• Transfer it to a mixer and grind it to make a smooth puree. No need to add water for grinding the spinach
Frying the Paneer cubes
• Heat oil in a pan for shallow frying.
• Add paneer cubes to it and fry till both the sides turn golden brown.
• Take them out on an absorbent paper.
• I use them as it is but if you want them to be softer then take them out from the pan and put them in water. It will make the paneer cubes softer.
Spinach curry
• Heat oil in pan.
• Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
• Add garlic and sauté.
• Add ginger and green chilies and sauté.
• Add onions and sauté till they become transparent.
• Add tomatoes and drizzle a little water. Cover the lid.
• Cook on medium flame till the masala starts leaving oil.
• Add salt, turmeric powder and kasuri methi. Crush the kasuri methi with your palms before adding.
• Add garam masala and stir well.
• Add spinach puree and mix well.
• Cook till the puree becomes thick and the spinach is properly cooked.
• Add paneer cubes and cook for another minute. Keep aside 4-5 cubes of paneer for garnishing.
• Switch off the flame.
• Take it out in the serving bowl and garnish with fresh cream and cubes of paneer.

Serve hot and enjoy with tandoori naan, butter naan or simple chapatti.

Note:-
1. Frying paneer is optional, it can be added plain also.
2. Cream is also optional.

Shahi Tukda

Shahi Tukda
Sugar coated bread dipped in rabri with crunch of dry fruits is what makes Shahi Tukda heavenly bliss for sweet lover.

Ingredients and Method for Rabri

Ingredients for Shahi Tukda
1. 4 slices of bread(white, brown or whole wheat can be used)
2. ¾ cup of ghee for deep frying
3. 2 tsp of sugar
4. 5-6 almonds
5. 5-6 unsalted pista
6. Sheets of edible gold or silver leaf
7. Rose petals (washed properly)

Method
• Cut the bread into your desired shape. I cutted them into triangle. You can also trim the sides of the bread. I don’t trim them as I like the crispiness they add to the shahi tukda.
• Heat oil in a pan or kadai and deep fry the bread till golden brown.
• Remove the bread on an absorbent paper. Keep aside.
• Add sugar and little water in pan to make the syrup.
• Simmer on low flame till the syrup thickens to one string consistency (ek tar ki chashni). If you are new to the cooking and not able to figure out the string just make sure that the syrup is little thick but not too thick.
• Pour the sugar syrup with a spoon on the bread slices. They can be dipped into the sugar syrup if you want it to be more sugary.
• Arrange the bread pieces into the serving dish and pour the rabri over it.
• Refrigerate for half an hour.
• Garnish with dry fruits and edible gold or silver leaf at the time of serving.

Tips
1.If you don’t like to deep fry the bread it can be shallow fry also.
2.I do not add any dry fruits to the rabri when preparing it for shahi tukda but add it as garnish before final serving.
3.As per once liking shahi tukda can be served warm or at room temperature also.