Thursday, 16 July 2015

5 Unique Indian Curries You Shouldn't Miss!

I've been thinking Indian food. And I have been thinking curries. Indian curries have been stereotyped as tomato and cream-based with lots of curry powder or garam masala. Honestly, if we ate like that everyday we'd be a nation with a lot of health problems.

India is a land of diversity even in it's food and curries. We make so many different types of curries with different bases and different spice mixes. Here's a compilation of my favourite curries which you may not have even heard of!

1. Laal Kaalwan (Maharashtrian Red Fish Curry)

The recipe can be found here.

Laal Kaalwan (Maharashtrian Red Fish Curry)
Laal kaalwan is the latest entrant on my list of favourite curries! It's a spicy, tangy curry with an underlying flavour of coconut and onions. It's best served with plain steamed rice and is a must-eat for seafood lovers who are tired of the same old chicken curries.

2. Pink Guava Curry

The recipe can be found here.

Pink Guava Curry
Yes, that's right! It's a curry made of pink guavas. Fruity with hints of spice, it's curry like you many have never had (or even heard of!) before! This curry is great for days when  you don't feel like having the same old vegetables. Pair it with some wheat paranthas (like these) and you're good to go!

3. Papad ki Dahiwali Sabzi

The recipe can be found here.

Papad ki Dahiwali Sabzi

Run out of vegetables in the fridge? Don't worry, this curry is here to save the day! This curry is a unique experience of roasted namkeen papads cooked in a lightly spiced rich yogurt gravy. Pair it with some phulkas or steamed rice and relish fresh!

Kerala Style Vegetable Stew

The recipe can be found here.

Kerala Style Vegetable Stew
A medley of vegetables slowly cooked in coconut milk with whole spices. The fragrance of the spices seeps into the curry giving it a gentle taste without being overpowering. This beautiful dish pairs best with steamed rice to make a great one-dish meal. Or you can eat it with some appams if you know how to make them or get your hands on some good ones.

5. Vendakka Moor Kolumbu (Okra in Yoghurt Gravy)

The recipe can be found here.

Vendakka Moor Kolumbu (Okra in Yoghurt Gravy)

Sauted okra is cooked in a creamy yoghurt gravy with a South Indian tempering of curry leaves, mustard seeds and onions. A rich yet light curry, this one is greatly satisfying for the taste buds and the stomach. It is best had with parathas or phulkas.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Quick Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe

A few of hubby's friends had decided to meet up at our local Starbucks a few days back. I thought, "Why?!" I asked him to just invite them home! Since the wedding I've been looking out for chances to show off my cooking and inventing skills. I jumped at another chance to do so!

Quick Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe

Since it was evening time just before dinner and we had not made dinner plans, I thought chaat would just be perfect for this time! I also had the chutneys ready. But I had only a half an hour head's up so I couldn't boil potatoes and make the regular tikkis. I needed something quick.

Quick Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe

That's when I this idea came to me. Hubby and I had had this amazing chaat at a friend's wedding in Bangalore where the aloo tikki was a shallow fried patty of grated potato. Since I love tikkis made this way, I thought why not try it at home?! They're very easy to make, need only 3 ingredients that are always in our pantry, and don't take much time... pretty much a great combination of things for me!

The chaat was a quick cooking affair. The tikkis were made in about 20 minutes. I had made and stocked the chutneys from before like I always do. And I quickly chopped an onion for topping. It took less than half and hour and was more-so satisfying because because it got hubby's and his friends' thumbs-ups! It is a great recipe to put in my quick party starters brain file.

Quick Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4


200 gms potatoes
2 tsps red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Oil for shallow frying

For Serving

2 cups yoghurt
1 tsp red chilly powder
6 tbsps date and tamarind chutney (recipe here)
4 tbsps green mint chutney (recipe here)
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
4 tbsps sev
2 tbsps corriander leaves


Peel and grate the potatoes with a grater of medium thickness.

Squeeze the potatoes a couple of times with your hand to remove the starchy water in them. There is no salt added yet, the potatoes will give out water even before salt is added.

In a shallow frying pan, heat the oil.

Lower the flame. Take a handful lump of the grated potato and press onto the pan. It should be like this.

Quick Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe

Press down with the help of a spatula. Make 5-6 such tikkis in one go.

Sprinkle salt and a pinch of red chilly powder on each tikki.

Quick Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe

Let the tikkis cook on one side till golden brown. Keep pressing with a spatula every 30 seconds or so to make sure it binds together. It takes about 5 minutes on a medium high flame to cook it to golden brown.

Quick Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe

Flip and cook the other side by pressing it again and again till it's golden brown.

When it's done on both sides, remove from the pan.

Quick Aloo Tikki (Aloo Tikki Chaat Recipe)

To serve, take a tikki. Top it with yoghurt, date and tamarind chutney, green mint chutney, onions, sev and corriander leaves.

Relish it with great delight! 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Cooking 101: Tempering

Tempering is an essential part of Indian cooking. It is used in almost all vegetable, rice, meat and lentil dishes in India. Known as 'tadka', 'baghar', 'vaghar', 'fodni', 'chaukna' in various Indian languages, tempering can be used at the beginning of cooking the dish or also as a garnish.

Image Source

Tempering begins by heating a small quantity of vegetable oil in a kadhai (if it is used at the beginning of making a dish) or a small tempering spoon/ vessel (if used as a garnish). Whole spices like mustard seeds and cumin seeds are then added and allowed to crackle, If needed other tempering ingredients like asafoetida powder, curry leaves, dried red chillies, garlic, ginger, etc are added last.

Tips for Tempering

Heat the Oil Enough

Make sure the oil is heated enough. Ideally the mustard and cumin seeds should start crackling about 30 seconds after they're put in. This takes some practice to get right, but don't worry after 5 or 6 tries, you'll get it!

Be Safe

When adding the mustard seeds and cumin seeds or whole spices, lower the flame so the hot oil doesn't splatter all over you. Also stand as far away as possible and move back immediately after you add in the spices.

Curry Leaves in Tempering

Curry leaves tend to make hot oil splatter even more than seeds. Well, that's simply because after you wash them, the water stays on them. When water is added to hot oil, it's a splatter explosion! Dry the curry leaves a little and it won't splatter as much. And yes, stay as far away as possible.

Recipes To Try out Tempering:

1. Tuvero no Bhaath
2. Dal Fry
3. Pink Guava Curry