Himachali Kadhi Pakoda

This Himachali Kadhi pakoda is not to be lightly dismissed as the usual Besan kadhi or the Kadhi Pakoda made with chickpea flour and onions. This Kadhi does involve a bit of work when compared to the other Kadhis which can be prepared in a jiffy. The result of the efforts can be seen when the family takes a second and third serving of this delicious and fragrant kadhi. Make sure you have a pot full of Basmati or Jeera rice and a bowl full of kuchumber or raita ready whilst making this Kadhi. This amazing recipe was shared by my friend Rachna Mallya and it’s a must try!

Ingredients:

For the Pakoda:

1/2 cup/ 125 gms Chana dal/ Bengal gram dal

1 large onion chopped fine

10 garlic cloves

4 green chillies

1 inch piece of ginger

1 tsp Chilly powder

1 tsp saunf/ fennel seeds

Salt

Oil to fry the Pakoda

Other ingredients:

1 cup thick curds

1 inch piece of ginger

4 green chillies

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

Salt

2 tbsps finely chopped coriander leaves

Water as required

For the tempering:

1 tbsp oil

1 large onion chopped fine

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 dry red chilly broken into two

1 inch piece of ginger jullienes

Method:

Soak the Chana dal for five hours. Drain. Grind it to a coarse consistency without adding any water along with the garlic, green chillies, ginger, fennel seeds, chilly powder and salt. Tip this ground mixture reserving two tablespoons in the mixer itself, into a bowl. Add the finely chopped onions and mix well. Heat oil in a pan. Drop small portions of this mixture into the hot oil and fry to a golden brown. Drain and keep aside. When cool enough to handle, prick the pakoda all over with a tooth pick .

Into the reserved mixture add the ginger, green chillies, curds, salt and turmeric powder. Grind to a smooth paste. Add two glasses of water to this paste, mix and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds. After they splutter add the broken red chilly bits, onion and ginger and roast on a high flame for about two minutes. Pour the ground paste into the seasoning in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Simmer gently for ten minutes. Drop in the pakoda and simmer for five minutes. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Moong curry

This is one curry which is ready in no time. Moong/ Green gram needs no prior soaking like other lentils do. A couple of extra whistles of the pressure cooker and it’s done. This preparation goes well with Roti, Paratha, poori or even with hot Basmati rice. My heartfelt thanks to my friend dear Rekha Shenoy for this lovely recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup or 125 gms Moong/ whole Green gram

1/4 cup coconut

1 large onion roughly chopped

1 large tomato roughly chopped

15 sprigs of coriander leaves

1 Star anise

4 cloves

2 cardamom

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

2 tsps Red chilly powder

3 tbsps oil

Method:

Wash and pressure cook the Moong with a little salt to five whistles. If you have soaked it the previous night just a couple of whistles is enough. Allow the pressure to release naturally. In the meantime, powder the cumin, star anise, cardamom and cloves. Add the grated coconut, tomato, onion and coriander leaves. Grind to a fine paste along with the turmeric powder.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the ground paste and the chilly powder and roast it on a gentle flame till it leaves the sides of the pan. Drop in the cooked Moong . Check salt. Adjust consistency of the gravy by adding water. Do remember that Moong tends to absorb water so add enough water to make a gravy of pouring consistency. Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Serve hot .

Serves four

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Garlic Kulcha

Kulcha is a soft bread which though traditionally made with Maida/ all purpose flour, is now made with wheat flour which is healthier. One can make a variety of Kulchas, plain and stuffed, but the most popular is the Garlic Kulcha which is fragrant because of the roasted garlic. I thank my friend Krithiga Sathya Narayanan for this lovely recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cups wheat flour

Salt

1/2tsp baking soda

3/4th tsp baking powder

4 tbsps curd/ yoghurt

Other ingredients:

25 garlic cloves chopped fine

5 tbsps coriander leaves chopped fine

2 tsps Black sesame seeds or Nigella seeds. Either one can be used.

Ghee to brush the Kulcha.

Method:

  1. Mix the baking soda, baking powder, salt and the wheat flour in a bowl. Tip in the curd and adding a little water at a time, mix all the ingredients to a smooth and soft dough.
  2. Cover with a cloth and keep it aside for two hours as it has to rise.
  3. Knead the dough again and pinch a medium sized ball of dough. Roll it into a little thick circle of about six inches in diameter. Apply a little water on the surface of the Kulcha facing upwards and sprinkle chopped garlic, coriander leaves, and the Nigella or sesame seeds. Run the rolling pin once over them so that they adhere to the Kulcha.
  4. Heat an iron tava/ skillet. Gently place the Kulcha over it . Sprinkle a little water around it and place a lid over it. Cook over medium flame for a few minutes. Flip. Apply a little ghee. Roast the other side too and serve hot with a blob of butter.

This proportion makes 7 Kulchas.

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Chole Palak/ Chickpeas with Spinach

This recipe is a really old one , dating back to the times of undivided India. People from Punjab (Lahore, Karachi which is now in Pakistan) used to relish this dish, and even though it is still loved, it’s kind of forgotten as it has been replaced by the more popular Chole Bature. I thank my friend dear Rama Ananth for sharing this traditional recipe with me.

Ingredients:

2 cups Chickpeas/ Kabuli chana

3 tbsps of Yellow Split peas

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder


1 bunch Spinach


2 tsp of Lemon juice


2 Onions chopped fine


3 Green chillies chopped fine


12 cloves of Garlic, chopped fine


1 inch piece of Ginger chopped fine


1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder


Salt

1/4 tsp sugar


1 tsp Garam Masala

Ginger jullienes for garnish.

For tempering:


3 tsps oil


1 tsp of Cumin seeds


1 small Bay leaf

1/2 inch piece of Cinnamon

3 Green Cardamom crushed

Method:

Pressure cook the Kabuli chana and the split peas with turmeric and salt to four whistles or till they are done.

Boil sufficient water in a pan and add the spinach. Blanch it for just half a minute. Drain and transfer it in a bowl filled with cold water or running water (this helps to retain the green color of the spinach)

Drain water and drop the blanched spinach in a blender along with salt, sugar, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and grind it to a fine puree.

Heat oil in a pan. Drop in the cumin seeds and whole spices. Toss. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Toss. Drop in the onions and roast till translucent. Add the spinach puree and the remaining lemon juice. Drop in the cooked chickpeas and the garam masala.

Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Switch off and keep aside for about ten minutes for the flavours to infuse before serving.

It goes well with Parathas, Roti and any Bread.

Serves six.

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Shahi Tamatar/ Tomatoes in a rich gravy

This recipe of Shahi Tamatar was shared by a friend Bharti Ahuja Dar and it is right royal as it’s name suggests. She had used the regular tomatoes and snipped off the upper end for the juices to sink in. I had cherry tomatoes with me, so just pricked them with a toothpick and used them. This preparation goes well with both Roti and Basmati rice.

Ingredients:


4 Medium sized Tomatoes or 25 cherry tomatoes

2 tbsps Peanuts


2 tsps White sesame


2 tbsps grated fresh coconut


2 Green chillies chopped fine


1/4 tsp Hing / asafoetida


1 tsp Kashmiri lal chilly powder


1 tsp Cumin seeds


3 tbsp oil


1 large onion sliced

1 inch piece of ginger grated

5 cloves of garlic grated

2 dry red chillies, each broken into 2


1 cup beaten Curd


1 cup water or as desired


Salt


1 tsp Garam masala powder


10 Curry leaves

A large pinch of Haldi/ turmeric

3 tbsps oil

Method:


Dry roast coconut, Peanuts and sesame seeds to a golden yellow.
Grind them with chopped green chillies and a little water to make a smooth paste.
Pour in rest of the water in the mixer jar, to make a thin paste of the remnants and keep it aside.
Cut the head of the Tomatoes, and prise the top from 3-4 places. Keep aside.
In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, Hing and the dry red chillies.
Once the cumin stops crackling, add the sliced onion, grated ginger and garlic and saute till the onions turn brown.
Add salt, garam masala, Kashmiri lal chilly powder and the turmeric.
Drop in the curry leaves ,toss and then add the ground paste.
Bring to a boil, keep on low flame and cook till the gravy thickens.
Add little more water if required. You can use the thin water kept aside at this point.
Add the beaten curd and mix well.
Bring to a boil, add tomatoes, cover and cook on low flame till the tomatoes are soft, but still retain their shape.
Turn off heat, and transfer to a bowl.
Serve hot with paratha or boiled /steamed rice.

Serves four.

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Spicy Potato and Tomato subzi/ curry

This is an easy to make, simple yet delicious recipe, that one can make with just two vegetables. I thank my friend Roopa Prabhu for having shared this recipe with me. The best part is it’s ready in no time!

Ingredients:

3 potatoes quartered and diced fine/ or you can use the boiled ones too.

3 tomatoes finely chopped

2 green chillies minced

1 tsp Jeera/ cumin seeds

A large pinch of Hing/ asafoetida

A large pinch of Haldi/ turmeric powder

1 tbsp Kasuri methi

2 tbsps finely chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp Kashmiri Chilly powder

2 tbsps oil

Salt

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the Jeera and Hing. Once the Jeera splutters add the chillies, toss and drop in the tomatoes, salt, turmeric and Chilly powders. Saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add the potatoes and a glass of water . Bring to a boil, cover and cook till the potatoes are done. Crush the Kasuri methi with your fingers and drop it into the subzi. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. Switch off and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve with Poori, Paratha or even Dal rice.

Serves four.

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Amritsari Chole

I have tasted Chole prepared by quite a few of my Punjabi friends and each one was different from the other. Though each one was extremely tasty, yet it lacked that ‘something’ which makes the Chole found in the dhabas in the North a class apart. I always wondered if it was the vegetable oil that they used that gave it it’s distinct taste and flavour. It was by chance that I got to know from my dear friend Simran Kaul that it is Anardana ( dried pomegranate seeds) which takes Chole to the next level. The other is a tadka / seasoning of garlic, green chillies, chilly powder and garam masala which adds flavour to the Chole.

Ingredients:

1 cup Chickpeas soaked overnight.

Potli:
2 tsps tea leaves
2 dry red chillies
2 cinnamon sticks of an inch each
6 cloves
6 cardamom
2 Bay leaves
Tie all the above mentioned spices in a muslin cloth. This is referred to as a Potli.

Choley Masala:

To be ground together to a fine powder.

1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Anardana
1 tsp Kasoori methi
1/2 tsp Black salt
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Chilly powder
1/4 tsp Dry Mango powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala

For Chole Gravy

To be ground to a paste:

3 onions
3 tomatoes
1 inch piece of ginger
6 cloves of garlic

Seasoning:

4 tsps of Ghee
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Chilly powder
4 green chillies

Other ingredients required:

4 tsps Ghee
3 tsps oil
Salt
Coriander leaves for garnishing.

Method:

Pressure cook the Chickpeas with a little salt and the Potli in enough water for six whistles on a medium flame or for ten minutes in the Instant pot with natural pressure release.
Once cooked discard the Potli. Reserve the stock or water in which the Chickpeas have been boiled.
Heat a mixture of four spoons of Ghee and three spoons of oil . Drop in the ground paste of the gravy to make Chole and roast it till the oil separates. Drop in the Chole masala, and roast for a couple of minutes. Add the Chickpeas and the reserved stock or water in which the Chickpeas have been boiled.Simmer on a very gentle flame for half an hour. This releases the flavours . Mash a tablespoon of chickpeas for thickness. Finally heat the Ghee for seasoning in a pan. Drop in the garlic cloves and roast to a golden brown. Drop in the green chillies, garam masala and chilly powder. Immediately pour the seasoning into the chole to avoid burning of the spices. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with Basmati rice, Kulcha, papad, lime pickle and a bowl of salad.

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Palak/ spinach and Baby corn Masala

Dig into this heavenly Palak and baby corn masala and savour the fragrance of the mildly aromatic spices. Best served with either hot Basmati rice or Roti, slices of cucumber and onions, a dash of lime and a Boondi raita, this is my idea of a soul soothing meal on a cold afternoon.

Ingredients :

1 medium sized bunch of Palak

9 baby corns

2 medium sized onions

1 large tomato

2 inch piece of ginger

5 green chillies

5 cloves of garlic

1/ 4 tsp of Garam masala

A pinch of Haldi/ turmeric

Salt

A few sprigs of coriander leaves along with their tender stems.

Seasoning:

1 tbsp of Ghee/ clarified butter

2 tbsps of oil

1 tsp Jeera/ cumin seeds

Garnish:

1 heaped tbsp fresh cream.

Method:

Wash and blanch the Palak. Immediately dip it into ice cold water. Remove and keep aside. Cut the baby corn into bite sized pieces and boil them with a little salt till they are done. Slice the onions, ginger, garlic , green chillies and tomatoes roughly. Heat the ghee and oil mixture in a pan. Add the cumin seeds. Once it crackles, drop in the sliced onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Roast till translucent. Add the tomatoes, garam masala, salt and turmeric. Saute for a couple of minutes. Remove from flame and allow to cool thoroughly. Tip in the Palak, the roasted onion tomato mixture and coriander leaves into a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Tip it into a pan. Add the boiled baby corn and bring to a boil. Simmer for a minute and finally tip in the cream. Switch off and serve hot.

Copyright © 2021 by Vinaya Prabhu. All rights reserved.

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Sweet corn in gravy

This is a delicious curry which I learnt from my friend Sandhya N Kamath. Pieces of sweet corn swimming in a pool of a flavourful gravy. This curry goes well with Roti or even with Basmathi rice. The corn which absorbs all the flavours tastes absolutely delicious!

Ingredients :

2 Corn cobs

4 medium sized tomatoes

5 medium sized onions

2 inch piece of ginger

7 cloves of garlic

2 green chillies

1 heaped tsp Chilly powder

1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder

A big pinch of Turmeric powder

1 tbsp Coriander powder

2 tbsps Ghee/Clarified butter

3 tbsps Oil

1 Bay leaf

1 heaped tsp Cumin seeds

7 pepper corns

2 inch piece of Cinnamon

2 Cardamom

3 Cloves

Salt

4 tbsps finely chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Chop the corn into 10 pieces. Pressure cook with a little salt till tender. Make a paste of the onions. Grind the ginger, green chillies and garlic to a smooth paste. Puree the tomatoes. Powder the pepper corns, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Heat the Ghee and oil mixture. Drop in the cumin seeds and Bay leaf. Immediately lower heat and drop in the onion paste. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add the ginger, green chilly and garlic paste. Keep sautéing for a couple of minutes. Drop in the powdered spices, coriander, chilly and turmeric powders. Toss well and add the tomato puree. Keep roasting till the puree changes colour. Add the water in which the corn was boiled. Bring to a boil. Add salt as required. Drop in the pieces of corn and simmer for about five minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

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Moong /Green Gram Subzi

This healthy sprouted Moong subzi goes well with both rice and roti. Sprouting increases the nutritive value of lentils and most Indian homes consume sprouts atleast once a week. Lentils like Green gram, Black chickpeas, moth bean are sprouted and used to make a variety of salads and subzi.

Ingredients :

125 gms Moong sprouts

2 large onions sliced

1 potato peeled and grated

2 large tomatoes chopped fine

7 cloves of garlic

2 inch piece of ginger

2 green chillies

1 heaped tsp chilly powder

A large pinch of Haldi /Turmeric powder

1 heaped tsp Everest Kitchen King Masala

3 tbsps oil

1 tsp Jeera /Cumin seeds

Salt

4 tbsps finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing.

Method:

Remove the peel of the Moong sprouts and boil them in enough water till half done. Blitz the garlic, ginger and green chillies to a coarse paste in the mixer. Heat oil in a pan. Drop in the Jeera and after it crackles add the onions and the ginger, garlic, green chilly paste. Add salt and roast till the onions are translucent and the raw flavour of the ginger garlic is gone. Add the tomatoes, Everest Kitchen King Masala, chilly powder and Turmeric powder. Roast till the tomatoes are slightly mushy. Drop in the sprouted moong and grated potato. Add two glasses of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook till the sprouted moong is done but firm to touch. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with a wedge of lime.

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