The Indian Spice Box

The ‘Indian Spice Box’ as it is so called is a prized possession in every Indian kitchen. It holds together all the spices that are required while seasoning. The Indian Spice box has seven tiny containers with tiny spoons to hold the various spices. Most Indian recipes begin with heating the oil first and the spices or condiments are added in quick succession. The kind of spices stored depends upon the kind of Cuisine one makes on a daily basis. The temperature of the oil has to be just right so that the spices pop without burning. Hence the commonly used spices are stored in the container together for easy access.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Beresta/Crispy Fried Onions Recipe

Crispy Fried onions used for Biryani and as a base for gravy are called Beresta. Dum Biryani, especially the Hyderabadi one is generously sprinkled with Beresta. Since fried onions are very flavourful, they impart their fragrance to any dish that they are added to.

Ingredients :
3 large onions
Corn flour as required

Method :
Peel the onions and wash them. Dry them thoroughly and slice them thinly and uniformly. These slices have to be of the same thickness, to prevent the thin slices from getting burnt. Sprinkle as much corn flour on the slices as required to coat them well. Mix thoroughly. Heat oil in a pan. Reduce heat and deep fry the onions, in small batches till golden brown and crisp. Drain on a paper towel and, store in air tight container. Use as required.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Chana /Black Chickpeas Saar Recipe

The water drained from the Chana/ Black Chickpeas after it is pressure cooked is seasoned either with Garlic or with mustard and curry leaves. Akin to a soup, it can be had as is or served over hot rice. I prefer mine seasoned in home made Ghee with Garlic and dry red chillies. You can use the Black Chickpeas to make a variety of dishes.

Ingredients :

  • 250 gms Chana /Black Chickpeas
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsps Ghee /clarified butter
  • 10 flakes of garlic
  • 4 dry red chillies

Method :
Wash and soak the Chana for eight hours. Pressure cook to a whistle, lower heat and allow it to simmer gently for half an hour in 1.5 litres of water with a little salt. After the pressure cooker has cooled down, drain the water into a vessel and adjust salt. Boil well. Crush the garlic gently and break the dry red chillies into bits. Heat the Ghee in a pan. Add the garlic and, roast to a rich golden brown. Drop in the chilly bits. Toss. Pour the seasoning into the boiling Chana Saar. Simmer for two minutes. Switch off and keep aside for ten minutes to allow the flavours to infuse before serving.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Tomato Saar – 2 Recipe

There is nothing more soothing than a bowl full of Tomato Saaru to sip on, or to pour over your rice. The earlier one I posted was with a garlic seasoning. This one is flavoured with Asafoetida and Curry leaves.

Ingredients :

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Chilly powder
  • 3 tbsps Ghee/clarified butter
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 4 sprigs Curry leaves
  • A kidney bean size of Hing/asafoetida powdered
  • Coriander leaves
  • 1 litre of water.

Method :

Wash and quarter the tomatoes. If they are large, cut them into eight pieces. Tip them into a pan with a litre of water. Add the salt, jaggery and tamarind paste. Cook the tomatoes well. Heat Ghee in a pan. Drop in the mustard and after it splutters add the powdered Hing. Toss. Drop in the curry leaves. Toss and pour the seasoning into the boiling Saaru. Switch off. Garnish with Coriander leaves.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Aloo Matar/Potato and Peas in Gravy Recipe

Aloo Matar is a North Indian dish and every household has their own little twist added to it. Some use boiled potatoes, while some prefer to fry them. They may be peeled or left with the skin on. Whatever way it is made it is a delicious and easy to make dish, which goes well with Roti. I love mine with hot Basmathi or Jasmine rice too.

Ingredients :

  • 2 medium sizedpotatoes
  • 150 gms shelled peas
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • Coriander leaves
  • 2 heaped tbsps Coriander powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp Kashmiri Chilly powder
  • A large pinch of Haldi /Turmeric
  • 5 tbsps oil
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
  • Salt

Method :

Pressure cook potatoes. Deskin and mash one of them. Chop the other into large pieces. Slice onions. Grate the ginger. Chop tomatoes fine. Boil the peas separately with a little salt. Heat oil in a pan. Add the Cumin seeds, and after they splutter add the onions and ginger. Roast till translucent. Drop in the coriander powder, chilly powder, salt and turmeric powder. Toss for a few seconds. Add the mashed potato, boiled peas and the chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer on a gentle flame. In another pan heat a little oil and roast the pieces of chopped potatoes till they turn a golden brown. Drop them into the boiling Aloo Matar. Mix gently, allow to boil for a couple of minutes, switch off and garnish with coriander leaves. Keep aside for about fifteen minutes for the flavours to infuse before serving.

Note: No Garam Masala has been used in this preparation. You may add a little if you wish to, though I prefer mine without it.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Fried Yam Kismuri – 2

This is yet another type of fried Yam Kismuri that is made, the difference being that the coconut is ground here along with other condiments. It goes well with Rice or Rotis. Easy to prepare as the Yam can be fried and kept ready before hand!

Ingredients :

  • 250 gms Yam
  • 1/4 of a large coconut grated
  • 9 roasted red chillies
  • 2 tbsps coriander seeds
  • 1tsp Tamarind paste
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 1 green chilly
  • Salt
  • 2 tsps Coconut oil
  • Oil for frying the Yam.

Method :

Deskin and wash the Yam well. Chop into extremely small pieces as shown in the picture above. Apply salt and keep aside for ten minutes so that it releases water. . Heat the oil in a pan. Squeeze out all the water from the Yam. Fry it in batches till crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside. Chop onions, fine. Grate the ginger. Chop the chilly fine and crush with a little salt. Grind the coconut, roasted red chillies, coriander seeds, tamarind and ginger to a semi coarse paste with a little water. Tip it into a bowl. Add the chopped onions, crushed green chilly, coconut oil and the fried Yam pieces. Mix well. Allow the Kismuri to stand for half an hour before serving in order to allow the Yam to absorb moisture from the Masala.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Fried Yam Kismuri – 1

Fried Yam, Bitter gourd and Okra are three of the items that are a must have when having live in guests. They come in handy in making a variety of dishes. One can use fried Yam in making Koota, two varieties of Kismuri and a pickle too. Posting a simple Yam Kismuri today which goes well with Rice and Dal.

Ingredients :

  • 250 gms Yam
  • Onions
  • Coconut
  • 2 tsps Coconut oil
  • 3 green chillies
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying the Yam.

Method :

Deskin the Yam and wash it thoroughly. Chop it into extremely tiny pieces as shown in the above picture. Apply some salt and keep aside for ten minutes. You will notice that it releases water. Heat oil in a pan. Squeeze out the Yam and fry it in batches till crisp. Remove and drain on a kitchen towel. Chop onions the same quantity as the fried Yam. So also the grated coconut. Mince the green chillies. Crush them with a little salt. Mix the grated coconut, chopped onions, crushed green chillies, fried Yam and coconut oil. Mix thoroughly. Serve after half an hour as the Yam pieces require awhile to absorb the moisture of the onions and coconut. Goes well with hot rice or even with Roti.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Teasel gourd/Kantola Subzi Recipe

Teasel gourd is a seasonal vegetable and a variety of dishes are made from it when it is in season. Fritters, stir fries, Kismuri, and also coconut based preparations are made and relished with hot rice or Phulkas. Posting a tangy recipe today which is absolutely delicious!

Ingredients :

  • 300 gms Teasel Gourd
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilly powder
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsps jaggery syrup
  • Salt

Method :

Wash and slice the Teasel gourd. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and after they splutter add the Teasel gourd, salt and chilly powder. Toss well for a couple of minutes. Add the tamarind paste and jaggery syrup. Mix well. Pour half a glass (125ml) of water, cover and cook till done.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Happla/Chilly Papad Kismuri Recipe

Chilly papads are the spicier version of the regular Papad. Chilly powder and, Asafoetida are added and they go well with Dal rice and the ones with less spice are even served as fryums. Posting a Kismuri that is served with rice and dal as a side dish.

Ingredients :

  • 6 Chilly papads
  • 2 onions
  • Grated coconut the same quantity as the chopped onions
  • 1 green chilly
  • Salt
  • 2 tsps Coconut oil

Method :

Fry the chilly papads and crush them roughly. Chop the onions extremely fine. Mince the green chilly and crush it with a little salt. Drop the grated coconut, green chilly and a little salt into the onions and mix thoroughly. Drizzle with oil and keep aside. Add crushed chilly papad to it just before serving.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

Ivygourd Subzi Recipe

This is a typical Gujarati Subzi which makes use of their traditional Masala. I got to learn quite a few dishes from my Gujarati neighbour who would send some over knowing my passion for cooking. Posting a simple yet delicious Ivygourd Subzi which goes well with both Roti or Rice.

Ingredients :

  • 250 gms Ivygourd
  • 1 large Potato
  • 2 tbsps Dhania/ Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Jeera /Cumin powder
  • 1 heaped tsp Chilly powder
  • 1/3 tsp Haldi /Turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

Method :

Wash and snip the ends of the Ivygourd. Slice lengthwise. Deskin and wash the potato. Slice it lengthwise too. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard and jeera. After they splutter add the chopped Ivygourd and potato. Drop in the chilly, turmeric, coriander, jeera powders and salt. Add a glass of water, cover and cook over a slow flame till done. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Copyright © 2018 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.