December 21, 2008

Dal Makhni

Dal Makhni, though complex it may sound, in fact is one the easiest you can make. I've had many people exclaim to me "Oh you know to make Dal Makhni!" and many even go on to tease if I add coconut in it ;)

Make sure that you soak the dals atleast for 4 hours. If you don't have enough time boil water and soak the dal for 1 - 2 hrs.

The best thing about this makhni dal is it gets better with time. So if you can make it and leave it for some hours, it is going to taste better.

  • Whole Urad dal (black lentil) - 1 cup
  • Rajma - 1 fistful
  • Fresh cream - 1/4 - 1/2 cup
  • Onion - 3 medium chopped fine
  • Ginger - 1 inch chopped fine or crushed
  • Garlic - 3 large pods chopped fine or crushed
  • Green chillies - 3-4 coarsely chopped
  • Tomato - 2 medim chopped fine
  • Coriander leaves - 3 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Cumin (Jeera) powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - as required
  • Butter - one chunk (optional)
  • Pressure cook the urad dal and rajma together. Let the water stand 2 inches above the dals. Give one whistle in high heat. Lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes. Once the cooker cools down, add the cream to it and mix well. The liquid will have a sticky texture
  • Meanwhile heat oil, splutter jeera, add chopped onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and salt
  • Saute in high heat till onion turns brown and transparent
  • Add chopped tomatoes and saute till the oil separates
  • Add all the powders and mix properly
  • Add this to the cooked dal
  • Add the coriander leaves
  • Put the butter chunk if required
  • If the dal is too thick or if you want to improve the consistency, you can add some milk to it

December 08, 2008

Aalu Palak (Spinach and Potato)

As a kid I detested eating leaves. My father would tell stories about how Popeye consumed it and grew stronger. And my mom would go technical, why I should be eating a lot of this leafy green. It took me 26 years to consider spinach as a part of my diet. If it sounded anything familiar, I must say spinach can taste great too.

This recipe is my discovery of spinach. The recipe is simple and I make it at least once in 3 weeks or so. But yeah cleaning the stuff might be a little time consuming. There are some handy hints on cleaning palak towards the end of this post.

  • Spinach - Washed and chopped 3-4 cups
  • Potato - 1 Large diced
  • Tomato - 1 Large chopped coarsely
  • Onion - 1 Large - 1/4 chopped fine and 3/4 chopped long
  • Garlic - 8 - 10 pods
  • Green chillies - 3-4
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt and oil as required
  • Crush garlic and green chillies together
  • Heat oil and saute the crushed garlic, green chillies and the onions
  • Add potatoes, turmeric and chilli powders, mix well
  • Add tomatoes, saute for 2 minutes
  • Add spinach, mix well and cook covered. Make sure that no water is added
  • When cooked, heat oil, splutter jeera, saute onion and add to the cooked dish and mix well
  • The easiest way to wash spinach is to put it into a sink filled with cold water. Swish leaves around, drain the water off. Repeat the process thrice.

November 11, 2008

Kadhai Paneer

Kadhai dishes, be it Kadhai Chicken or Kadhai Paneer essentially have Capsicum (Green Pepper) as a main ingredient...I am not too sure if the 'Kadhai' term attributes to making it in a Kadhai (wok) or the inevitable capsicum...

I find this recipe so irresistible that I munch away half the paneer before it reaches the dining table ;)

  • Paneer - 200 gms cut in cubes (the shape is, however upto you, I infact mash a couple of cubes to give it a nice texture)
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic - 5 large flakes - crushed
  • Tomato puree - 4 tbsp ( or 3 small tomatoes halved and grated to get the pulp)
  • Salt - 1 tsp or as required
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Coriander (dhania) powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Capsicum - 1 medium ( or 2 if you need more volume) cut into thin long strips


  • In a kadhai, add oil and when hot add the crushed garlic
  • Add the tomato puree
  • Add salt, sugar, chilli powder, dhania powder, garam masala and mix well
  • Add capsicum and under high heat stir fry until the capsicum turns in colour to a dull green
  • Lower the heat, add the paneer and cook for a couple of minutes until the paneer softens


  • Make sure no water is added. If done properly you will not have to add water. When capsicum is cooked in water, it leaves an unpleasant taste
  • You can derive inspiration for stir frying from any street side fast food guy
  • At the end while Paneer is being cooked, sprinkle some water and cover for a couple of minutes while it softens

November 07, 2008

Do onions make you cry?

NO! You probably haven't dated one yet...

It does make me teary-eyed and here's the explanation why...

When an onion is cut, the ruptured onion cells release enzymes which break down nearby sulphur compounds into oxides and acids. These re-form to make a gas. This gas moves into your eyes and then mixes with your tears to form sulphuric acid.

Check out here for some suggestions to have fewer tears.

October 12, 2008

Aalu Mattar

A little bit of history behind this recipe ;)

When I got married I had the culinary skills of a rat. After a stint with dishes that eventually made way to my garbage, I had a choice either to leave my foodie husband for good or do some serious research and establish myself as a cook. In any case it was too early to give up.

I don't remember where I found this recipe. At that point, I used to browse, gather, print recipes left right and center. It's been 3 years since and this recipe is still very dear to me for it marked my metamorphosis. So let us get going!

For the green peas you can either get them fresh which definitely adds to the taste or settle for frozen peas. In India green peas get cheaper in winter and almost unaffordable in the later months. I store Safal green peas in my refrigerator in all seasons. It definitely comes handy.

  • Oil / Ghee - 4 tbsp
  • Ginger - 1tbsp finely chopped
  • Garlic - 1tbsp finely chopped
  • Onion - 2 medium chopped fine
  • Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin - 1 tsp ground
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Tomato - 2 medium - ripe and firm - finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves - 3 tbsp - fresh -finely chopped
  • Potato - 1 large - peeled and cubed
  • Peas - 2 teacups
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  • In a heavy sauce pan, heat the oil/ghee over high heat until a drop of water flicked into it splutters instantly. Stir in the ginger and garlic, then add the onions and salt
  • Lower the heat to moderate and stirring continuously, saute the onions for 7 - 8 minutes, until they turn soft and golden
  • Add the cumin, turmeric and chilli powders.
  • Stir in tomatoes and 2 tbps coriander leaves. Keep stirring and cook for 5 minutes until most of the liquid in the pan evaporates and the mixture is thick enough to draw away from the sides and bottom of the pan in a dense mass.
  • Drop in the peas and potatoes and mix thoroughly.
  • Stir in the water and bring to boil over high heat.
  • Cover tightly and reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes or until the peas and potatoes are tender.
  • Sprinkle the garam masala and the remaining coriander leaves.
  • Adding salt along with onions helps speedup the process of sauteing. The salt will help to draw the moisture out of the onion, and will make it cook softer. For more details on how to saute onions click here.