Archive | December, 2009

Quick Bhendi

31 Dec

bendi_steamed
Nethi Bendakaya.

This is a quick version of lady’s finger. Okra / Lady’s finger is steamed till just soft but not mushy. A few everyday spices are sprinkled on the steamed okra. It is finished with lemon juice and a dollop of ghee. This version of bhendi is served with hot steamed rice and dollop of ghee.
Makes: 10 Quick Bhendi.

Ingredients:

Bhendi / Okra 10
Red Chili Powder 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp
Dried Curry Leaves 6
Lemon Juice 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Ghee 1/2 tsp

Method of preparation:

Wash thoroughly and remove ends of the okra.
Rub the dried curry leaves between hands to powder it a little.
Lightly crush the cumin seeds and keep aside.

Place the okra in a steamer and steam till the okra turns soft.
Alternatively, pressure cook the okra for 1 whistle with 5 minutes of slow cook time.

Take all the steamed okra onto a plate, add red chili powder, dried curry leaves, crushed cumin seeds, salt, lemon juice and ghee.
Mix well and serve with plain steamed rice and dollop of ghee.
Notes: Make sure bhendi is not overcooked.

Suggestions: If bhendi is not steamed properly, then cook covered on low flame till soft.
Variations: You can also fry the bhendi in little oil before adding the other ingredients. Also swap curry leaves with any dried leaves.
Other Names: Steamed Bhindi, Quick Bhendi, Steamed Okra, Neyyi Bendakaya.

Flat Beans with Besan

30 Dec

chikkudu_besan
Chikkudu Kaya Senagapindi Vepudu.

Fresh flat beans are stringed and chopped into small pieces. They are then boiled in water till just cooked. Oil is tempered with couple of dals and cooked beans are added to it. Finally besan is added along with red chili powder for spice.
Makes: around 3 Servings of Chikkudu Kaya Senagapindi Vepudu.

Ingredients:

Fresh Flat Beans 1 1/2 Cups chopped
Besan / Gram Flour 2 Tbsps
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder a pinch
Salt to taste

Talimpu:

Urad Dal 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves 10
Broken Red Chiles 3
Asafoetida a Pinch
Oil 2 tsps

Method of preparation:

Wash thoroughly and string fresh beans.
Remove both ends and chop fresh beans into inch long pieces.

Heat 3 cups of water in a sauce pot, add flat beans and pinch of salt.
Boil till flat beans are cooked and turn soft but not mushy.
Alternatively, pressure cook with a splash of water for 2 whistles.
Strain the flat beans and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add all talimpu ingredients in order.
When urad dal changes color, add cooked flat beans and fry for a minute.
Then stir in besan, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.
Mix well and cook on low flame till rawness of besan is gone or until a minute or two.
Serve flat beans with besan over plain steamed rice and dollop of ghee.
Notes: Make sure flat beans are boiled till soft before proceeding with tempering.

Suggestions:If flat beans are not soft, add few tbsps of water into the fry and cook covered on low flame till done. Adjust the amount of red chili powder for preferred spice level.
Variations: Fresh Flat Beans with Dalia, Fresh Beans with Coconut, Fresh Beans with Ginger.
Other Names: Flat Beans with Besan, Chikkudu Kaya Senagapindi Vepudu.

Zafrani Pulao

29 Dec

zafrani_pulao
Zafrani Pulao.

Zafrani pilaf is a Hyderabadi special prepared with basmati rice and saffron. Saffron is soaked in warm milk to release all the color and flavor. Rice is soaked for sometime and fried in ghee. It is then cooked along with sugar and saffron milk till soft and fluffy.
Makes: around 2 Servings of Zafrani Pulao.

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice 1 Cup
Raisins 10 – 15
Almonds 10
Cashews 6
Cardamom Powder 1/4 tsp
Milk 1/4 Cup
Sugar 1/4 Cup
Saffron a very big Pinch
Ghee 1 tbsp

Method of preparation:

Wash basmati rice under water and soak the rice in enough water for around half an hour.
Strain the rice and keep aside.
Soak almonds in warm water for sometime and peel off the skin.
Soak saffron in warm milk and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a pan, add cashews and fry for sometime.
Add raisins and fry for few more seconds.
Then, add rice and fry for a minute.
Stir in saffron milk, sugar and green cardamom powder.
Cook for couple of minutes till all the sugar melts, add almonds and 1 1/2 cups of water.
Cover and cook till all the water is absorbed.
Fluff the rice and serve zafrani pulao with gravy curry of your choice.
Notes: Make sure to get the rice right.

Suggestions: If the rice is not cooked properly, add few splashes of water to the rice and cook covered on low flame till done.
Variations: You can also add yellow food coloring for more vibrant color. Variations include adding ground spices to the rice while its cooking.
Other Names: Zafrani Pulao, Zafrani Pilaf, Zafrani Pulav.

Matar Paneer

28 Dec

matar_paneer
Matar Paneer.

Matar paneer is another high calorie dish made with green peas and paneer. Oil is tempered with couple of whole spices and fried onion paste is cooked in it. Peas is then added along with other powdered spices. Paneer is chopped and added to the gravy at the last minute. Matar paneer is traditionally served with naan or any flat indian bread.
Makes: around 4 Servings of Matar Paneer.

Ingredients:

Paneer 10 – 12 Pieces
Peas 1/2 Cup
Onion 1 Large
Ginger Garlic Paste 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder 1 tbsp
Cumin Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder a big pinch
Red Chile Powder 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Green Cardamom 2
Cloves 3
Cinnamon 1 inch Stick
Bay Leaf 1
Caraway Seeds 1/2 tsp
Yogurt 2 Tbsps
Fresh Cream 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Cilantro Few Sprigs
Oil 1 tbsp

Method of preparation:

Peel and slice the onion.
Wash peas under running water and keep aside.
Chop the paneer into small cubes.

Heat a tsp oil in a pan on medium heat, add sliced onion.
Fry the onion till it starts to brown around the edges.
Cool and grind the onion into smooth paste adding enough water.

Heat remaining oil in a pan on medium heat, add caraway seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
Fry the spices for few seconds to release all their flavors.
Stir in ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and red chile powder.
Fry for few seconds, add onion paste, peas, half a cup of water and salt.
Cook covered for around 5 minutes till peas are cooked or becomes soft.
Finally stir in yogurt, fresh cream and garam masala.
Cook for few seconds, carefully stir in paneer pieces and simmer for couple of minutes.
Serve matar paneer with flavored rice or roti.
Notes: Make sure not to overcook once the paneer is added.

Suggestions: Fresh paneer tends to break easily, so don’t overcook. Adjust the consistency of the gravy by water.
Variations: Cashewnuts can also be ground into paste along with onions. Add more red chili powder or add some green chiles for more spice. You can also deep fry the paneer pieces till they are light golden brown and soak them in water until required.
Other Names: Mutter Paneer, Matar Paneer, Mattar Paneer, Peas Paneer.

Jaggery Mango Pickle

26 Dec

bellam_avakaya
Bellam Avakaya.

Bellam avakaya / teepi avakaya is a sweet version of the mango pickle. Salt is either substituted with either jaggery or sugar depending on the preference. All the ingredients are mixed and allowed to sit for around 3 days. The mango pieces are then separated and the syrup is allowed to dry under the direct sunlight till little thick. Finally the mango pieces are mixed back into the thickened syrup.
Makes: around 2 cups of Bellam Avakaya.

Ingredients:

Mango (Chopped) 1 Cup
Jaggery (Grated) 3/4 Cup
Red Chilli Powder 1/2 Cup

Method of preparation:

Wash thoroughly and pat dry the mango.
Chop the mango along with its seeds into big chunks.
Grate or mash the jaggery and keep aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix jaggery and red chilli powder together.
Thoroughly stir in the mango pieces and keep aside for around 3 days.
Then, remove the mango pieces onto a plate from the mixture.

Heat the remaining mixture on medium heat.
Let any remaining jaggery melt and let the syrup thicken a bit.
Once the syrup is little thick (like honey), remove from heat.
Stir back in the removed mango pieces.
Store in a tight jar and serve the jaggery mango pickle when necessary.
Notes: Make sure not to cook the syrup for long time.

Suggestions: If the jaggery mango pickle is too thin, cook for another minute. Add more chopped mango pieces to the pickle if desired.
Variations: You can also swap the jaggery with the same amount of sugar. You can also temper with mustard seeds if desired. The mixture can also be kept under direct sunlight to thicken.
Other Names: Bellam Avakaya, Teepi Avakaya, Jaggery Mango Pickle, Sweet Mango Pickle.