Kaddu ka khatta/ tangy pumpkin curry.

Kaddu ka khatta is a sweet and sour pumpkin curry made with tamarind, jaggery and variety of spices . It is served as a side dish with hot steamed rice. It is also enjoyed with a fermented wheat roti unique to the Himachali cuisine. This preparation does not use onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.

Ingredients:

500 grams Pumpkin cut into cubes

2tbsps tamarind paste

4 tbsps oil

4 tbsps powdered Jaggery or sugar

2 tsps Cumin seeds

2 tsps Coriander seeds

2 tsps Kashmiri red chilli powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds

2 Bay leaves

1 inch piece of cinnamon

1 Black cardamom

2 dry red chillies

Salt

3tbsps finely chopped coriander leaves.

Method:


Wash and peel the pumpkin. Scoop out the fibers and seeds. Here I have not peeled the pumpkin because it was very tender. Cut into cubes about two inches in size. Do not chop them into small pieces.
Make a coarse powder of the fenugreek and coriander seeds. Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, dry red chillies and black cardamom. Sauté till bay leaves change color.
Add the cumin seeds crushed fenugreek and coriander seeds. When they begin to splutter immediately add the diced pumpkin cubes. Stir fry on high heat for two to three minutes.

Tip in the tumeric, red chilli powder and salt. Mix gently taking care to coat all the pumpkin pieces and cook for about five minutes on a gentle flame.
Add the powdered jaggery or sugar. Mix well, cover and cook on low heat stirring occasionally till the pumpkin is tender and holds its shape.
Add the tamarind paste, stir carefully as the pumpkin will start to break easily at this point. Add a quarter cup of water, cover and allow it to come to a boil. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Keep aside for about fifteen minutes for the flavours to infuse.

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Jaisalmeri Kala chana.

Jaisalmeri kala chana is a traditional Rajasthani dish where black chickpeas are cooked in yogurt-based gravy. It is served with rice, papad and pickle.

Ingredients:

100 gms Kala Chana (Brown Chickpeas) soaked overnight and pressure cooked.

1 cup Curds

2 tbsps Besan/ gram flour

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Coriander Powder

1/4 tsp Red Chilli powder

1/2 tsp Garam masala

Salt

Ingredients for the seasoning:

1/4 tsp Cumin seeds

1 Green Chilli chopped fine

1 tsp Ghee/ clarified butter

Method:

Tip into a large pan the Besan, curds, two cups of water, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and whisk it well till it forms a smooth paste without lumps.

Place the pan on medium heat and bring this mixture to a boil.

While the mixture is boiling, keep stirring it continuously, so it becomes smooth and creamy Continue to stir till it begins to thicken and the mixture is smooth.

At this stage add the kala chana into the mixture.

Simmer for a while. The more you simmer, the tastier the preparation.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds and once they begin to crackle add the green chillies. Toss and pour it on top of the Jaisalmeri kala chana. Serve hot with rice, papad and pickle. .

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Mahni – Raw mango sweet and sour chutney.

Coming from the hills of Himachal Pradesh, Mahni is a delicious semi liquid sweet and sour curry made with raw mangoes that you can enjoy with plain rice. It is usually prepared during special occasions.

Ingredients:

2 medium sized raw mangoes

1/2 cup sugar

1 medium onion chopped fine

4 tbsps mint

2 green chillies

1 inch ginger

1 tsp roasted cumin powder

A large pinch of red chilli powder

1 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped

Salt.

Method:

Wash and pressure cook the raw mangoes to one whistle.
Once cool remove the pulp in a bowl and mash it to a smooth paste with a masher. Do not use a blender to mash the pulp. Blend the mint leaves, ginger and green chillies with the sugar and salt on pulse mode in the mixer. Alternatively you can use a mortar and pestle. Tip it into the chutney. Add the onions, coriander leaves, red chilly and cumin powder. Adjust consistency by adding water to make a semi liquid chutney. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate. This chutney is served chilled. .

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Himachali dry mango chutney.

This recipe is made with Aam papad which is sun dried jelly made out of mango pulp mixed with concentrated sugar solution.

Traditional Aam Papad is sweet, although it is available in different varieties. The sour variety of mangoes too is used to make Aam papad. This sour variety is preferred while making chutney . Aam papad can be preserved for months as it has sugar as a preservative.

Ingredients:

1 cup Aam Papad /Sun Dried Mango Jelly

3 sprigs of Mint leaves

1/2 cup Coriander leaves

3 Green chillies

1 tbsp powdered jaggery or sugar

Salt

Hot water .

Method:

Soak the dry raw mango pieces in boiling hot water just enough to cover them, for fifteen to twenty minutes so that they become soft and tender.

When it has cooled, tip the raw mango pieces, mint leaves, coriander leaves, green chillies, jaggery, salt and the water in which the mango pieces were soaked and blend them to a fine paste. Check for salt and Jaggery. Add more if required. Serve the chutney with rice or Paratha.

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Tangthur

This recipe comes from the Ladakh region of North India. The staple food of Ladakh is barley and wheat which is consumed during the winter months. Rice which earlier used to be a luxury item is now part of the Ladakhi diet and is consumed during the summer months. Tangthur is made of buttermilk or yoghurt added with some green vegetables for taste. It is usually served with Paba a porridge made of roasted barley flour for breakfast during summer… It can be served with rice as well.

Ingredients:

250 ml thick yoghurt

A small bunch of mustard greens

A small bunch of chives or the greens of spring onion

Salt

1 tbsp mustard oil or ghee

Method:

Wash and boil the mustard leaves till they are soft. Drain and chop. Keep aside. Whisk the yoghurt and add 250 ml water to it. Add salt and the chopped mustard greens. Heat the oil or ghee in a pan. Drop in the chives or finely chopped spring onion greens and roast for a couple of minutes. Drop it into the yoghurt. Mix thoroughly and serve with Paba or rice.

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Gahat ka Shorba.

The traditional food of Himachal Pradesh, Gahat ka Shorba is a delicious soup made with Himachal’s native Gahat grains or what is known as Horsegram/ Kulith. It is flavoured with garlic and garnished with coriander leaves.
Horsegram is rich in antioxidants and high in protein and calcium. Enjoy this Pahadi version of the soup.

Ingredients:

250 gms Horsegram, washed and pressure cooked in enough water till mushy.

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

A large pinch of asafoetida

3 tbsps coriander leaves

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 medium sized onion chopped

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp garlic chopped

10 garlic cloves roughly crushed

2 inch piece of ginger grated

1 large tomato chopped

Salt

2 tbsps Ghee

Method:

Tip the cooked Horsegram in a pan and allow it to cool. Heat one tablespoon ghee in a pan. Add mustard and after it splutters add the cumin and coriander seeds, ginger, garlic, and onion. Roast till transparent. Add the asafoetida and when it starts releasing flavour, add the roughly chopped tomato and coriander leaves. Toss for a minute, remove and keep aside to cool. Blend the cooked Horsegram and the seasoning to a fine puree. Add enough water to bring it to a soupy consistency and strain it. Bring it to a boil and add salt as required. Heat the remaining tablespoon of Ghee and add the crushed garlic cloves. Roast till they turn golden brown. Tip this seasoning into the boiling soup and simmer for a couple of minutes. Switch off and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

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Tandoori Gobhi.

Tandoori cooking is a popular method of cooking in a tandoor or a clay oven which is fed with fire wood. Today smaller versions of the tandoor made of steel are available which are convenient to use and space friendly.

A “Tandoori recipe” typically describes dishes containing meat or vegetables that are marinated in yoghurt and spices. You can cook them in an authentic tandoor which you will find in most homes in Northern India or mimic the method at home using an oven.

Ingredients:

20 cauliflower florets

Salt

Boiling water to blanch the cauliflower.

Ingredients for the Marinade:

1 Cup curds/ yoghurt

1 tsp ginger, garlic paste

½ tsp roasted cumin powder

1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder

1 tsp Amchur

1 tbsp Kasuri Methi

½ tsp Shahi Garam masala

2 tbsps oil

Salt .

Method:

Clean, wash and cut the cauliflower into bite size florets.
Boil water in a pan with salt. Add the cauliflower florets in the boiling water and cook for five minutes and blanch them.
Drain the water and transfer the florets on to a strainer. Allow them to cool.
In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Whisk well to form a smooth, lump-free marinade.
Add the cauliflower florets to the marinade. Mix thoroughly so that each piece is coated evenly with the marinade.
Marinate the cauliflower florets for a minimum of one hour . I prefer marinating them for about four hours . Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a baking tray with a teaspoon of oil. Arrange the cauliflower florets on the greased tray. Bake for twenty five minutes or till they turn brown and crisp. You can even roast them on a tava/ griddle. Drizzle about two tablespoons of oil and grease the tava all over. Place the cauliflower and allow to roast. Keep flipping gently till all the pieces are evenly browned and crisp. Serve Tandoori Gobi with green chutney.

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Kala chana chaat.

Kala Chana Chaat, is a nutrition packed Black Chickpea Salad made with black chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, potato and spices. This refreshing salad has fresh and tangy flavors, and can be enjoyed as a great protein rich breakfast or snack. You can add your own variations to it by adding mint chutney or even the tamarind- jaggery chutney if you like it tangy.

Ingredients:

200 gms Kala Chana /Black Chickpeas soaked for six hours and pressure cooked with a little salt

1 boiled potato chopped

1 large onion chopped fine

1 Tomato chopped

3 tbsps of finely chopped cucumber

1 green chilly finely chopped

1 tbsp Mint leaves finely chopped

1 tbsp Coriander leaves finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

¼ teaspoon Black salt (Kala namak)

¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilly powder

1 teaspoon Chaat Masala

½ teaspoon Dry Mango powder /Amchur

Salt.

Method:

Tip the boiled black chickpeas into a bowl. Add the finely chopped onion, boiled potato cubes, tomato, green chilly, cucumber, the coriander and mint leaves, lemon juice and the other dry spices to it. Toss.
Taste and adjust salt as required.

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Aloo ke Gutke.

A traditional vegan recipe, Aloo Ke Gutke from the cuisine of Uttarakhand is prepared with mustard oil and a spice powder mix. The potatoes may be pressure cooked or cooked in an open pot. Here I have used vegetable oil and cooked the potatoes al dente.

Ingredients:

4 Potatoes

2 tsps oil

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 tsp Coriander Powder

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

2 Dry Red Chillies

A large pinch of Asafoetida

Juice of lemon as per preference

Salt

2 tbsps finely chopped coriander leaves.

Method:

Peel the potatoes and chop them into chunks. Cook them till they are 80 percent done. In a bowl mix coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder with 2 teaspoons of water. This is to prevent the spice mixture from burning. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida and red chillies. Toss. Add the mixed masala and salt. Toss for about half a minute. Tip in the potatoes and coat well with the masala. Allow the potatoes to cook well in the spices. Once it is done, switch off and garnish with lemon juice and finely chopped coriander leaves.

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Spicy Arbi fry.

Arbi fry is an Indian stir fry made with taro root, also known as colocasia. The arbi is coated in spices and shallow-fried over a medium flame till it is golden and crisp. It is popular both in North and South India. The spices used vary in both the regions.

Ingredients:

500 gms Arbi /taro root boiled, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

4 tbsps Oil

¼ tsp Carom/ Ajwain seeds

3 tbsps Red chilli powder

1 tsp Cumin/ jeera powder

1 tsp Amchur/ dry mango powder

Salt

Method:

Wash and boil the arbi in a pan for about fifteen minutes. A toothpick pierced into the arbi should go in smoothly. Drain water. Allow to cool. Peel and chop or slice as per preference.
Heat oil in a pan. Add ajwain and when it starts sizzling add
the arbi and roast for a few minutes or until it becomes slightly crisp. The roasting should be on a gentle flame throughout with a quick toss in between. Taro roots are slimy in nature so they have to be roasted until crisp to get rid of the slimy texture.
Add salt, red chilly powder, cumin and Amchur powders. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes on low heat. Serve hot with rice.

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