Bharwan Bhindi

Bhindi Masala

Bharwan bhindi is a spicy curry from Hyderabad. Bhindi is cooked with salan like gravy made with ground nut, sesame seeds, tamarind paste, and spices. Tamarind is an important part of my family recipes. I remember my mom keeping a stock of tamarind water and ground peanuts and sesame seeds always. This gravy goes well with capsicum, tomatoes, and even potatoes. Add tamarind water/paste based on your taste and the sourness of tamarind.

Bhindi Masala

Cooking bhindi is a tricky (and sticky) job. Placing a plate filled with water on top helps the vegetable cook evenly without getting burnt. It makes the cooking process quicker too.

Bhindi Masala

You can make the gravy in advance and freeze it too. Add vegetable (steamed) of your choice and you can have a curry ready in jiffy. This curry tastes best with phulka or paratha. You can try it with rice too.

Bhindi Masala

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 15-18 okra (bhindi)
  • 3 tbsp ground nuts (mung fali)
  • 1 ½ tbsp sesame seeds (til)
  • 2tbsp tamarind paste or tamarind water
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tbsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil

Recipe

Wash bhindi in water and let it dry completely. Cut both the ends of the bhindi. Cut each bhindi into 2-3 pieces and make a slit in each piece. Roast and grind the ground nuts and sesame seeds. Heat oil in a kadhai or a non stick pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add chopped bhindi. Mix well and cover the pan/kadhai with a plate. Add water in the plate. This will help the bhindi cook evenly and it will also not let the curry burn.

Carefully check the bhindi every few minutes. 6-8 minutes should be enough. Once the bhindi is almost cooked, add the ground nuts and sesame seeds, tamarind water, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Mix well. Add little water (1/4 – ½ cup) if the gravy looks too dry. Let it cook till oil floats on top (2-3 minutes). Add chopped coriander and served hot with rotis or rice.

Paneer Capsicum Masala Restaurant Style

Paneer is a must order curry for most of us when we eat out and it is also one of the most cooked dishes in my kitchen. I have done innumerable experiments (some were successful too) to cook restaurant style capsicum paneer gravy and never came as close as this one. Got this recipe from a friend and who in turn got it from a chef (connections you bet). This comes closest to the Paneer capsicum at the restaurants and that too without an overdose of butter.

I prepare the gravy in advance and use it with paneer, peas, capsicum, corn and even sandwich fillings when required. You can substitute oil with butter if required but it really does not alter the taste much. Fresh paneer tastes the best and if you are using frozen paneer,  do dip it in hot water for few minutes before using it.

You can have this curry with roti and rice both. I have even tried it as a sandwich filling with whole wheat bread and it tastes superb!

Kadai Paneer

Ingredients

Serves 4-5

  • 4 tomatoes quartered
  • 1 big onion quartered
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts broken
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 ½ tsp kitchen king masala
  • 1 small capsicum diced
  • 1 cup paneer
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 2 tsp kasoori methi (lightly roasted and crushed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cream for garnishing (optional)

Recipe

Boil tomato, quartered onions, and cashew nuts for around 8-10 minutes. Drain the water and let the onions, tomatoes, and cashews cool down completely. Grind them to a fine paste and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped onions and capsicum. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes. Add paneer and mix well. Add the ground paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder, kitchen king masala, and salt. Mix well and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Add little water (2-3 tbsp) if you find the gravy too thick. Add honey and kasoori methi and mix. Cook for one more minute and switch off the heat. Garnish with a dollop of fresh cream and serve hot with roti or jeera rice.

Ker Sangri

Ker Sangri

Ker sangri is one of the most popular dishes from Rajasthan.  Ker sangri are dried berries and beans which are found in abundance in the desert. They do not look edible at first look but you have to taste this curry to know why it is so popular in Rajasthani cuisine. It is a part of almost every Rajasthani wedding menu. There are different ways to prepare this curry. This is the recipe which is cooked at my place.

You need to soak ker sangri overnight. Some people soak this in buttermilk too but plain water works fine. It swells to more than double in size. Make sure to wash it well under running water to get rid of any impurities.

If you do not have dry mango powder, you can use tamarind water to add the sourness. This curry is ideal for travelling too as it stays good for 2-3 days without refrigeration. This curry tastes best with puri, missi roti, paratha, and rotis.

Ker Sangri

Ingredients

Serves 2-3

  • ½ cup ker sangri
  • 8-10 cashewnuts broken
  • 10 raisins
  • 2 dates chopped
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • 2 dry red chillies broken
  • ¼ tsp asafetida (heeng)
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt as per taste

Recipe

Soak ker sangri in water over night. Wash it well under running water.  Bring 4-5 cups of water to boil and add the ker sangri, cashews, dates, and raisins. Let them boil for 8-10 mins or until they are tender. Drain the water.

Heat oil in a deep pan or kadhai. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida, and dried red chilli. Once the seeds pop, add the boiled ker sangri, cashews, and raisins, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, sugar, and dry mango powder and ¼ cup water. Mix well. Cook for 10-12 mins till the oil floats on top. Serve with puri, roti or parathas.

 

Rajasthani Dana Methi Sabji (Dried Fenugreek Seeds Curry)

Rajasthani Dana Methi Sabji (Dried Fenugreek Seeds Curry)

Dana Methi ki sabji or Fenugreek seeds curry is an authentic Rajasthani curry made with dry fenugreek seeds, dried fruits like dates, cashews, and raisins, and sugar or jaggery. People in Rajasthan depend a lot of dried foods like fenugreek seeds, and ker sangri due to the hot weather and unavailability of fresh vegetables. These curries are both tasty and nutritious. This is my mom’s recipe of the dana methi sabji. This is kind of fixed curry for festivals and it is also a good option for travelling as it does not need refrigeration.

Fenugreek seeds have a very sharp, bitter, and pungent flavor. It is very important to soak them and wash them well to get rid of the yellow water and bitter taste. My mom’s tip that works everytime for me is to soak the seeds in warm water and wash them thoroughly in a colander under running water. Some people say you shouldn’t touch the seeds while soaking or they will taste bitter. I am yet to try this tip though.

There are different versions of this curry. You can make it sweet and sour (like this one), spicy version without sugar and dry fruits and with papad, with papad and moong dal dumplings called mangodis. You can substitute sugar with jaggery  if you want to make this healthier.

This curry tastes good with puri or whole wheat parathas. You can serve it cold or hot.

Rajasthani Dana Methi Sabji (Dried Fenugreek Seeds Curry)

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • ½ cup dried fenugreek seeds (dana methi) soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1-2 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-12 cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 10-12 raisins
  • 2-3 dates chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped raw mango (replace with 1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur) if raw mango is not available)
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Drain the water from methi seeds and put them in a strainer. Wash them under running water for 1-2 minutes to drain out the bitter taste.  Keep washing till the water that you drain from the seeds is clear (it should not be yellow)

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or kadhai. Add curry leaves, dry red chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and cashewnuts. Once the cashews are light brown, add the soaked methi seeds, raw mango pieces, salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, raisins, and dates. Mix well and cook for two minutes on low flame. Add sugar and 1 tbsp water. Mix well and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat. Over cooking this curry will spoil its taste. Serve hot with parathas or puri.

Hyderabadi Baghare Baigan (Brinjal Curry)

Hyderabadi Baghare Baigan (Brinjal Curry)

Brinjal curry or Baghare Baigan as known in Hyderabad is a local delicacy. Brinjals are cooked in sour and spicy gravy made of sesame seeds, groundnut seeds, tamarind paste and coconut. There are lot of variants of this recipe but this particular one is my mom’s recipe. Though I don’t like brinjals but this is one of my favourite gravies. This tastes best when eaten with hot rice.

Choose brinjals that are small and round. Make two slits in the brinjals for them to absorb the gravy well. Since I do not like brinjals, I have substituted brinjals with tomatoes or capsicum on many occasions and I loved those variants too. You can also try using fresh green chillies (non-spicy ones) instead of brinjals.

The gravy is the key to this recipe. Groundnut and sesame seeds are used a lot in Hyderabadi cuisine. It is important to roast the ingredients separately and on low flame. You can substitute the jaggery with sugar if jaggery is not available. People also add poppy seeds to this gravy. I love the combination of sambhar, rice, and this gravy. This curry tastes best with hot rice. You can also serve this with parathas.

Hyderabadi Baghare Baigan (Brinjal Curry)

Ingredients

  • 5 brinjals (small ones work best)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic grated
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste

For the Masala

  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (I used the dry desiccated coconut)
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 ½ tsp jaggery
  • 4 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • Little oil to fry the onions

Recipe For the Masala Dry roast the coconut, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds and peanuts separately on low flame. Fry the onions till brownish using little oil. Combine all the ingredients for masala and grind them to a smooth paste. Add little water if required. Keep the masala aside. For the Curry Make two slits in the Brinjals. Do not cut them completely but just a deep cut like a plus sign. Heat oil in a kadhai or non-stick pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter add ginger and garlic. Sauté for 10-15 seconds. Add the Brinjals and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the masala paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and one cup water. Mix well and cook on slow flame till the Brinjals are cooked and oil floats on top. Keep mixing in between. Serve with hot rice and sambhar or with plain parathas.

Rajasthani Saag Rotla

Rajasthani Saag Rotla

Rajasthan’s cuisine is as rich, colourful, and royal as the place itself. One of my sisters in law is from Jaipur and she introduced me to this winter dish called Saag rotla. It is a cauliflower and peas curry cooked in pure ghee and orange juice. It is served with thick rotis (called rotla) made of whole wheat, ghee, and milk. If you feel like indulging, you can try this dish. This dish is perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon. I surely feel sleepy after eating this.

I am not a cauliflower lover. But after tasting this dish, I have made an exception. Since this curry does not use any water, you need to cut the cauliflower very finely (it should look almost finely grated) so that it can be cooked quickly.

The essence of this curry lies in the slow cooking of vegetables in spices and orange juice. You can add as much spices and ghee as you can tolerate. I have not tried cooking it in oil yet. Cook it on the lowest flame throughout and keep mixing in between. If you feel that the curry might burn add little more orange juice but no water.

The rotla that accompanies this dish has ghee too. Knead the dough for rotla with only milk. No water again. Roll out the rotla thick and small. Cooking it on a clay tava will add to the taste. But fret not if you do not have a clay griddle. Cook it on a low gas on normal griddle and then cook both sides on open flame like normal phulka is made. Again with the ghee, drizzle as much as you can tolerate. Serve this with fresh cut onions and green chillies.

Rajasthani Saag Rotla

Ingredients

For Rotla

  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (you can double the amount of ghee if you want softer rotis)
  • Milk to knead the dough (appx ½ cup is sufficient)
  • Salt to taste

For Saag

  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 4 green chillies
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup peas (If you are using frozen peas, thaw them in advance)
  • 2 cups finely chopped cauliflower
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (you can increase this if you like the curry spicier)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Recipe

For the rotla

Mix all the ingredients for rotla and knead a firm dough. Cover and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 10 portions. Roll out each portion into small and thick rotis and cook on a hot griddle just like phulkas. Drizzle each rotla with around 1 tsp or more of ghee.

For Saag

Grind the ginger, garlic, and green chilly to fine paste. You can add 1 tbsp water if required. Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chilli paste. Cook on slow flame for 3-5 minutes mixing in between. Add the onions and sauté. Cook till onions start browning. Add the peas, cauliflower, salt, red chilli powder, garam masala, and turmeric. Mix well.

Add the orange juice and cover cook on slow flame for 3-5 minutes. Remove the cover and cook till the cauliflower is cooked and you see ghee on top. (appx 10-15 minutes)Keep mixing in between. Serve with hot rotla, fresh green chilli and cut onions.

Paneer Capsicum Masala

Paneer Capsicum Masala

Paneer is one of the favorite vegetarian curries at the restaurants. This Indian version of cottage cheese is full of protein. It is a different story that the rich and heavy gravy they prepare at the restaurants almost negates the health benefits. I have tried making restaurant style paneer curry at home many times and this recipe comes closest. For me paneer and capsicum are the best combination. Fresh paneer and capsicum are key to a yummy curry.

I do not get fresh paneer here and I rely on frozen paneer when I have guests at home. Put the frozen paneer in hot water for 3-5 minutes and you have soft paneer ready to cook. Now comes the tricky part. Restaurant style gravy but in a slightly healthier version. I leave out the butter for sure. Second substitution I make is, to reduce the quantity of cashew nuts to half and add melon seeds.

I prepare the gravy in advance and freeze it in batches. Every time I want to cook paneer ki sabji, I just take one batch of gravy and defrost it and cook it with panner and the vegetables of my choice. I have the curry ready in minutes.

This curry can be served with hot roti, naan, or with jeera rice. Do not forget fresh cut or pickled onions and some fresh non spicy green chillies.

Paneer Capsicum Masala

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 ½ cup paneer
  • 1 cup mixed bell peppers chopped into square medium sized pieces
  • 1 small onion chopped

For Gravy

  • 1 big tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion roughly  chopped
  • 20-22 cashew nuts
  • 3 inch piece of ginger chopped
  • 4 cloves of roughly garlic
  • 1 green chilli
  • 2 tbsp melon seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp kasoori methi
  • 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh cream (optional)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tbsp oil

Recipe

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a kadhai or a deep pan. Add green chilli, ginger, and garlic. Once the garlic is lightly browned, add onions and saute. Cook till onions are translucent. Add cashews and melon seeds and cook till the cashews are lightly browned sauteing in between. Add the tomatoes, salt, and red chilli powder and mix well. Cook till oil separates and tomatoes are mushy (2-3 minutes). Switch off the gas and let this mixture cool. Once it is cool, grind this to a fine paste and keep aside.

You can store this gravy in the freezer for future use too.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds pop, add onions and cook till they are translucent. Add bell pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add paneer and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the gravy and mix well. Add little water if the gravy is too thick. Cook for 3-4 minutes or till oil separates. Garnish with fresh cream and chopped coriander and serve with hot rotis or rice.