Chana Masala (chickpeas in tangy sauce)

Chana masala or chole is a common dish available in every Indian restaurant. It is very popular among hosts as it is easy to make and loved by one and all.

Growing up in South India I was always fascinated with the north India culture especially punjabi. Everything punjabi from dresses to cuisine is loved by the entire nation and is spread across the world. Indian food is symbolised in India restaurant with majority of punjabi dishes of paneer, tikka masala, paranthas and the list goes on.

Everyone has their own version of chana masala and I was never happy with my  version and hunted for recipes to get that perfect chana masala recipe until one my punjabi friends mom made this dish. I loved the tangy creamy gravy which complimented the bland taste of the protien rich chole. Tried it myself after getting the recipe and quite pleased with the result ! Make this dish when you have guests over and it will surely be a hit !

Ingredients

  • Chickpea (chole or chane )-1 1/2 cup ( soaked overnight and cook in the same water until  soft )
  • Onion- 1 -2 (chopped finely)
  • Tomato-- 1-2 (chopped finely )
  • Potato --1 small ( boiled and mashed )
  • Organic tomato paste --2 tablespoons
  • Kasoori methi--1 tablespoons 
  • Chilli powder--1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder--1/2 teaspoon
  • Everest chole masala (1/2 teaspoon) --optional
  • Masala-- (dry roast on pan and grind it )
  • Coriander seeds--1 teaspoon
  • cloves--3-4
  • Peppers--1/2 teaspoons
  • Shahjeera- 1 teaspoon
  • Jeera--1 teaspoon
  • Dried red chillies--3-4
  • cinnamon stick--1/2

Recipe

Take  a wide pan and add oil to it . Fry the chopped onions, turmeric powder ,jeera powder and fry  until oil seperates, add the tomatoes and kasuri methi. Fry for some time in low heat and add tomato paste along with the masala powder. Fry this for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture is cooked and oil leaves the sided of the pan. Add the chole along with the water, mashed potato and add salt. Cook for another 8-10 minutes and take it off . Add some lemon juice when cool and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

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Baingan Bharta ( smoked eggplant curry)

Baingan Bharta is a north Indian dish famous for its smoky flavor and delicious taste. The "dhaba" food is incomplete without it and so is a restaurant menu in any Indian restaurant. 

I have liked this dish as long as I can remember and always passed it on  to my south Indian friends who had never tasted it. It has been a instant hit  and is very easy to make  with or without the grill. The whole eggplant is roasted on fire, or grilled in oven , mixed with spices and onions thus creating a tasty dish. The eggplant can also be roasted on a charcoal grill if available.

Select a purple long eggplant which is light weight for the bharta. The key is to find fewer seeds in the eggplant and more flesh.

Ingredient

  • 1 Whole eggplant or 2 if smal (apply some oil)
  • Onions--1 cup (finely chopped)
  • Tomato--1 (finely chopped)
  • Green chillies---3-4 (sliced lengthwise)
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing.
  • Lemon juice--1 tablespoo
  • Turmeric powder--1/4 ts
  • Chilli powder-1/4 ts
  • Cumin seeds and mustard seeds-1 ts
  • Salt to tast

Recipe

If roasting on fire -- Put the greased eggplant directly on fire and roast from all sides till it turns black and the skin comes out. 

Oven-- Place the eggplant on aluminium foil and make a small cut in it , out garlic cloves inside the cut, and broil it on high for about an hour until it turns black.

Cool the eggplant and with moist fingers pull off the skin and scoop out the flesh of the eggplant. remove the seeds chunk and mash the rest of the pulp  into a thin paste.

Take a wide pan and heat some oil in it. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds,tumeric powder,chilli powder and green chillies followed by onions. Fry for a minute and add the chopped tomatoes and fry for some time. Add the mashed eggplant paste and mix well. Add salt and saute for about 5 minutes till the oil seperates. Garnish it with fresh coriander leaves and add lime juice. Serve hot with chapati or roti.

Note-You can also add 2 tablespoons of yogurt and skip and the lime juice.

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Spicy corn curry (Bhutte ka kees)

Corn or bhutta reminds me of the monsoon in India..the beautiful  smell of fresh earth, carts selling corn roasted on red hot coal sprinkled with spices   .. they tasted awesome ! We got this outside our school only during the rainy season  and ate this standing with our shoes in water with no worries about germs or anything else in the world!  Now corn is available year round in India and there are so many varieties with "American Corn" topping the list ! 

Bhutte ka kees is a rajasthani recipe which I tasted during our visit there and I was in awe of  food and culture of this royal state. This is a simple and flavorful recipe made with fresh corn.

Ingredients

  • Corn --4 ( Grated)
  • Coriander powder--1 teaspoon
  • Cumin (jeera) powder--1 teaspoon
  • Chilli powder--1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder--1/4 teaspoon
  • Hing (asafoetida) --1/4 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Take oil on a pan and heat it. Add the grated corn along with all the spices above and  stir it for 2-3 minutes. Now add around 4 cups of water and cook it for around 15 minutes stiring occasionally. Cover it for another 5-6 minutes and cook it till the oil leaves the sides of the pan. Add salt and switch off the gas. Add lemon juice and serve it with fresh coriander leaves sprinkled on top. It tastes great with chapati, poori or rice.

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Stuffed Okra (Bharleli bhindi)

Okra is one vegetable I hated as a child ,as it is slimy and sticks to the fingers. But then I tried this version of okra with spices stuffed inside and a little crisp texture from outiside and  I loved it. We make it at home all the time when fresh okra is available in market or in the garden. Okra is rich in dietary fiber and is a good source of vitamin C,K and potassium. In India students prefer to eat  okra before competitive  term exams  because it is said to be "good for the brain and memory" !! I am not sure about that ,but it certainly is healthy and delicious when blended with the right spices ..

Ingredients

  • Okra(Bhindi) --1 pound
  • Stuffing
  • Groundnut powder--2 tablespoons
  • Coriander powder--1 teaspoon
  • Jeera powder--1 teaspoon
  • Saunf powder--1/4 teaspoon
  • Amchur powder--1/2 teaspoon
  • Bharwan Masala (available in grocery stores) --1 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

Recipe

Mix the stuffing well in a bowl. Take the okra and wipe them clean with a moist paper towel. Cut both the ends and slit lengthwise. Fill the stuffing inside all the okra with a spoon .Cut them into small pieces as it saves time and effort. Take some oil in a pan and add the stuffed okra to it. Sprinkle some drops of water and cover it for around 8 to 10 minutes occasionally turning over the okra. Now remove the cover and fry the okra for tender crispiness for about 2-3 minutes. Serve with roti or rice.

Note-- You can make this in Oven with very little oil sparayed on it and baked at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes depending on oven power turning occasionally , broil for about 5-6 minutes until crisp.

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