Recipes: Tamarind Date Chutney

img_2125I realised when I shared my recipe for chole that I have not yet shared this easy, piquant yet sweet Chutney. This is great when paired with fried food and also makes a great spread for sandwiches. It does take a while to make but is totally worth the effort.

I made this chutney along with my Green Coriander Chutney and Dried Red Chilli & Raisin Chutney when we hosted S’ colleagues for a Diwali open house.

Tamarind Dates Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tamarind
  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Deseed the dates and the tamarind. Make sure there is no fibre also in the tamarind.
  • Soak the dates and tamarind either separately or together in hot water for an hour or so.
  • When the dates and tamarind have cooled off, blend them, along with the water they were strained into a fine paste.
  • Strain this paste through a strainer into a large pot which you can put on the gas. You may need to blend and strain a few times so that you get all the paste in.
  • When everything has been strained, put the pot on the gas and add the salt, rock salt, red chilli powder and cumin powder and let it come to a rolling boil. You can also check spices at this point and add more if needed.
  • Once it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the flame and let it boil for around 5-10 mins. It will start thickening and once it is almost as thick as you require, switch off the flame. It will become thicker as it cools.
  • When cool, remove to a clean container and refrigerate. It should stay well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have access to dates, you can substitute them with raisins. Or you can even do a combination of both dates and raisins. Just use the same quantity as above.

 

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Recipes: Chole

This recipe for Chole (or Chana Masala) is a bit different from what you typically see in recipe blogs. I have not seen something similar below and when I made this last week, I thought, I should share with you all.

This recipe was shared by our Sindhi neighbour aeons ago to my mum and I further experimented with this recipe, with this recipe the final incarnation which I have been making for years!

Chole

  • 1 cup of dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp each of chana dal and yellow moong dal
  • 4 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 pod garlic, chopped
  • 1-inch pieces ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1-2 tsp chole (or chana masala) powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • In a pressure cooker, cook the soaked chickpeas with the turmeric powder till they are soft
  • Cook the dals (chana and moong) separately and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and when warm, add the cumin seeds and when the seeds pop, add the garlic and stir for a few seconds. Then add the ginger and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add half the chopped onions and saute till it becomes translucent.
  • Next, add the tomatoes and a bit of salt plus the red chilli powder and let the tomatoes cook till it becomes mushy.
  • Remove from the flame and keep aside till completely cool.
  • In a blender, blend to a fine paste with the cooked dals.
  • In the pan, pour the blended paste and let it come to a boil. Add the cooked chole and let it blend together.
  • Add the tamarind paste if using, otherwise omit this step.
  • Add the amchur powder and the garam and chole masalas and check for seasoning at this point. Add more if needed.
  • Switch off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with puris or bhature.
  • Sprinkle the remaining chopped onions on individual servings and serve hot.
  • I usually serve it with a sprinkling of chopped onions, followed by a tsp of tamarind dates chutney and some sev.

Notes:

  • You can also cook the dals along with the chole to save time. This is how I usually do it, but this time I did as above and the result was that nobody could say there was dal in the chole and the whole gravy was super thick. Doing it with dal makes the gravy thick and you don’t need to add any thickening agents to the gravy, including blending some the cooked chole as some people are wont to do.
  • I also realised that I have not yet shared the recipe for my Tamarind Dates chutney, so will do that soon. I’ll then link this recipe to that one so you have both recipes in the same page.

Vegetable Korma without Coconut

S has been asking me to make the south Indian version of Vegetable Korma for a few months now. But because of the loads of coconut which the recipe traditionally requires, I was very hesitant. I made this over the weekend with a slightly modified recipe which does not use coconut but instead relies on nuts to give it the creaminess and nuttiness which this recipe is known for.

img_2113.jpg

Vegetable Korma

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (I used cauliflower, carrots, potatoes and peas)
  • 1/2 cup frozen paneer, refreshed in hot water for 20-30 minutes to soften it
  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 bulb garlic, chopped
  • 1.5 inches ginger, chopped
  • 5-6 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Method:

  • Take 2 tsp of ghee in a large bottomed pan and when it warms, add the cumin seeds and then the fennel seeds, stirring for a couple of seconds before adding the other spice.
  • Then add the garlic, ginger and stir for a few seconds each before adding in the cashew nuts and sesame seeds. Saute them for a while and then add the green chillies and let the chillies slightly char.
  • Now add the onions and let the onions become translucent. Then add the tomatoes and a tsp of salt and let the tomatoes cook and then become mushy.
  • Switch off the gas and let it cool.
  •  When cool, blend to a smooth and creamy paste using a combination of water and yoghurt. You can also use the water in which the paneer had been soaked to add to the taste.
  • In the same pan, add the remaining ghee and fry the chopped vegetables and let them cook for a while. Add a bit of salt and some turmeric powder and cover and cook on a low to medium heat until it’s about three quarters cooked.
  • When the vegetables are done (they should be cooked, but still have a bite), add the blended paste and thin it if it’s too thick with some water, yoghurt or a combination of both until it comes to the consistency you need. Check for seasoning at this point and add more salt if needed.
  • Now add the garam masala and let it simmer for a while before garnishing with coriander leaves and serve hot with any Indian flatbread or rice.

Note: This dish is very rich and creamy, so do make it when you want to impress someone special. It also thickens up when cool, so if you plan to make it in advance, thin it when you heat it up before serving.

Pal Payasam

Since yesterday was Diwali, here’s a sweet recipe to sweeten your lives. Happy Diwali folks!

As the name suggests, it is a milk kheer or milk sweet. In its very basic form, this is the simplest of the south Indian sweets and hardly needs 3-4 ingredients to make. It’s fairly easy to make with the only effort being in reducing the milk.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients:

  • 1-litre milk
  • 1 tbsp basmati rice (or any long grained rice)
  • 4-6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • A pinch of cardamom powder (optional)

Method:

  • In a large pan, boil the milk and when the milk starts to boil over and bubble, reduce the heat and continue to boil the milk.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and fry the rice for around 30 seconds.
  • Pour the rice into the boiling milk and keep stirring till it reduces to half the original quantity.
  • When the rice has completely cooked, add the sugar and the cardamom powder (if you are using it).
  • At this point, you can also use a few strands of saffron as well as some fried cashew nuts and raisins.
  • Continue boiling until the sugar gets absorbed into the milk.
  • Switch off the flame and serve hot or cold.

Navratri Recipes: Sweet Corn Sundal

Another Navratri sundal recipe. This one came about serendipitously. I actually wanted to make something sweet that day but became late to make the offering so thought of making something with sweet corn. I made it like any sundal, but changed it up a bit. It also makes a very healthy salad or as a side for your main meal. S loved it so much that he made me make it again the next day.

Sweet Corn Sundal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp broken urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Boil the sweet corn in a microwave for 5-10 minutes seasoned with some salt until the corn is soft and cooked.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and when it warms up, add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. Then add the urad dal and sesame seeds and stir for a while till the urad dal turns a golden brown colour and the sesame seeds start to pop. Don’t let them turn black.
  • Add the asafoetida and curry leaves and let the curry leaves become crisp.
  • Now add the green chilli paste and stir for a few minutes. Then pour in the cooked corn and let it stir for 2-3 minutes.
  • Check for seasoning at this point. If you are making this as an offering, then no tasting, please.
  • Drizzle the lemon juice and the grated coconut and switch off the flame.
  • Serve hot as a side dish or cold as a salad.