Instant Khaman Dhokla

Khaman Dhokla is a very popular Gujurati snack item. Almost everybody in my family likes it.

Let’s check out how I make it.

Ingredients Used:

  1. Besan (Gram flour) – 2 cups
  2. Curd – 1 cup
  3. Green chili – 2
  4. Ginger – 1 inch
  5. Fruit Salt (Eno) – 1 sachet
  6. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  7. Sugar – 2 tsp
  8. Salt – 1/2 tsp (can be adjusted to taste)
  9. Water – 1 cup approx
  10. Oil – 1 tbsp
  11. Dry roasted sesame seeds – 2 tsp (optional)

For tempering:

  1. Mustard seeds – 1 Tbsp
  2. Asafoetida (Hing) – 1/4 tsp
  3. Curry leaves – 8 to 10
  4. Green chili – 1 (cut into small rounds)
  5. Water – 1/3 cup  DSC04099

Method of Preparation:

  1. Wash green chili and ginger. Peel ginger and grind it along with the chilies to make a coarse paste.
  2. To the gram flour, add curd and mix properly.
  3. Then add water little by little till the mixture comes to a thick pouring consistency (like cake batter).
  4. To the batter add ginger-green chili paste, turmeric, salt, sugar and oil. Give a nice and gentle mix. DSC04101
  5. Now keep this batter aside for at least 20 minutes.
  6. In the mean time, add water to the pot we are planning to steam in.
  7. Here I am steaming the dhokla in an idly pot. Keep a stand in the pot in order to separate dhokla pan from the bottom of steamer. And switch on the flame.
  8. Now grease the pan, in which you are planning to make the dhokla, with few drops of oil.
  9. Just before pouring the batter into the pan, add the eno fruit salt to it and mix gently to avoid any lumps. After adding fruit salt, the batter becomes plump and light. It helps the dhokla to rise.
  10. Now pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the roasted sesame seeds on top of batter. Carefully place the pan in the steamer where the water is already boiling.
  11. Close the lid and let it be baked on a medium flame for minimum of 20-25 minutes.
  12. After 20 minutes, open the lid and check if the dhokla is cooked properly by inserting a toothpick in it. If the toothpick comes out clean, then our dhokla is cooked properly. If not, then close the lid again  and let it be steamed for another 4-5 minutes.
  13. Now take out the dhokla pan and let it cool down for about 15 mins. Then put it carefully on another plate upside down and demould  the dhokla with gentle taps on the pan.
  14. With the help of a knife, cut through the yellow sponge to make small squares.
  15. For tempering, heat a small pan on flame. To it, add oil. Once oil is hot enough, add mustard seeds. Let the mustard seeds splutter. Then add curry leaf, asafoetida and green chili cuts. After that add 1/3rd cup of water and bring to a boil. Let it boil for one minute. DSC04132
  16. Then add that seasoned water on top of our dhokla with the help of  a spoon so that all the pieces are moist.
  17. Let the pieces soak the moisture for few minutes and then relish the dhokla sponges. 🙂 DSC04133

My Curry Paste

Meal prep is very essential for any person who manages work and cooking along with other household things. Meal prep not only saves a lot of time during cooking, but also reduces the effort of doing the same thing again and again over the week. Preparing the curry paste beforehand and keeping it ready while cooking makes it easier for me during weekdays.

The curry paste is prepared using onion and tomato. Some may add ginger and garlic to it. But I use ginger and garlic paste separately. So I do not add those to my curry paste. There are two ways to prepare the paste. First one is sauteing the cut veggies with oil and required spices and then grind everything together to a paste. Second method is grinding the cut veggies to a paste and then sauteing it with oil and spices. I have tried both and prefer the second one. With the first method, the curry gravy comes out to be silky and smooth but storing the paste prepared by first method looses its colour and flavour over the period of time and does not stay good for long. On the other hand, paste prepared by second method retains its colour and aroma. Also it remains fresh for longer.

Read on to know how I prepare my curry paste.

Ingredients:

  1. Onion (medium) – 5
  2. Tomato (medium) – 3
  3. Oil – 3 tbsp
  4. Salt – 4 to 5 tbsp
  5. Coriander powder – 2.3 tbsp
  6. Cumin powder – 2 tbsp
  7. Garam Masala – 1.5 tbsp
  8. Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp (can be adjusted to taste)
  9. Turmeric – 3 tsp

Method of Preparation:

  1. Roughly cut onions and tomatoes.
  2. Put all those pieces in blender and grind to paste. 
  3. Now add coriander  powder, cumin powder, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala, little salt to the onion-tomato paste. 
  4. Heat a pan and add oil to it.
  5. Once is heated, carefully add the mix to it. There are chances of the mix spluttering outside the pan. 
  6. Let it cook for around 20-25 minutes under medium flame with occasional stir in between. Take care not to burn the mix from bottom. Also cover the pan in order to take care of the spice mix splutters.
  7. Let the moisture evaporate completely from the mix. Once oil starts separate, switch off the flame.
  8. Let the spice mix cool down completely. 
  9. Now add rest of the salt. This will act as our preservative.
  10. Our curry paste is ready. Store in a glass container. This can be kept refrigerated for 8-10 days. 
  11. Note: Do take care not to add any salt while preparing curry with this paste as we have already added loads of it to our paste.

Chilli Babycorn

Chilli Babycorn is an indo-chinese dish. The recipe is the basic recipe used for preparing any chilli based indo-chinese dish named chilli paneer, chilli soyabean, chilli veggies etc. 

So, here babycorn can be replaced with any of the ingredients mentioned above. The original recipe calls for deep frying the Babycorn with a thin coat of corn flour batter. But as I have mentioned in my earlier blogs, I limit usage of corn flour and refined flour in my kitchen. So here I am replacing it with rice flour and shallow frying it instead of deep frying.

Ingredients:

  1. Baby corn (peeled and cut into pieces) – 200 gms
  2. Rice flour – 2 tbsp
  3. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  4. Green bell pepper or capsicum (small) – 2 (cut into small pieces)
  5. Onion (medium) – 2 (slit length wise)
  6. Garlic – 4 cloves (cut into small pieces)
  7. Salt – as per taste
  8. Chilli powder – 2 tsp (can be adjusted to taste)
  9. Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
  10. Soya sauce – 1 tsp
  11. Tomato sauce – 2 tsp
  12. Green chilli sauce – 1 tsp (optional)
  13. Water – 3 to 4 tbsp

Method of Preparation:

  1. Make a thick batter of rice flour, salt and half of the chilli powder. Put the Babycorn pieces in the batter and coat those properly. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the coated babycorns till a nice crunchy coating. Remove the pieces and place on kitchen paper so that excess oil will be absorbed by the paper. 
  3. Now to the same oil, add garlic, capsicum and onion pieces. Add rest of the chilli powder, salt. Saute the veggies till they sweat.  Keep those crunchy. 
  4. Now add the fried Babycorn pieces and mix. Add black pepper powder, soya sauce, green chilli sauce and tomato sauce. Mix everything well. 
  5. Let it be cooked for few minutes till raw smell of the sauces goes away. 
  6. Now hot chilli babycorn is ready. It’s generally served as a starter. 

Gobi 65

Gobi 65 is a popular restaurant dish in India. It can be served as a starter or snack item. 

Read on for the ingredients and method of preparation.

Ingredients:

  1. Cauliflower florets – 150 grams
  2. Rice flour – 2 tbsp (can be replaced with all purpose flour)
  3. Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  4. Turmeric – 1 tsp
  5. Salt – as per taste
  6. Kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves – 2 tbsp
  7. Coarsely ground white sesame seeds (optional)
  8. Onion (small) – 1/2 (cut into small pieces)
  9. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  10. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  11. Hung curd – 3 tbsp
  12. Oil (for frying) – 3 tbsp

Method of Preparation:

  1. Soak the cauliflower florets in water mixed with little turmeric powder for 15 minutes. This will help in discarding toxins if any. 
  2. Make a thick batter by mixing rice flour, salt, half of turmeric, chilli powder. Coat the cauliflower florets in this batter. 
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry the coated cauliflower florets. Remove those on a kitchen paper towel so that excess oil will be absorbed. 
  4. Now add coriander powder,  rest of the salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder to the hung curd. Mix well.
  5. In another pan heat 1 tsp oil. Add cumin seeds. Once those splutter, add in the curd mixture. Keep the flame low. Add little water (around 2 tsp). 
  6. Add in the deep fried cauliflower pieces to the curd gravy and mix everything well. Make sure that the florets are well coated and there should not be any liquid remaining.
  7. Remove from heat and garnish with coarsely ground white sesame seeds and small raw onion pieces.
  8. Enjoy while it’s still hot. 

Whole Wheat Bread

After numerous failed attempts and wasting ingredients, finally I am able to successfully bake a bread… Yes, home made brown bread 🍞 🙂

I always avoid use of refined flour in my as well as my family’s diet. So I baked this bread with whole wheat flour only.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. Whole wheat flour – 400 grams
  2. Instant dry active yeast – 1 tsp
  3. Lukewarm water – 1 tbsp
  4. Salt – 1 tsp
  5. Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  6. Water – 300 to 400 ml
  7. Unsalted Butter (melted) – 1tsp
  8. Milk – 1 tbsp

Method of Preparation:

  1. Take wheat flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Place instant active dry yeast in the well and pour lukewarm water over it. Let it sit for one minute. 
  2. Once the yeast starts bubbling, add rest of the water little by little and knead to a soft dough. Knead the dough for nearly 10 minutes on a flat surface. Dust flour lightly if required. 
  3. Apply oil on the dough and give round shaped. Place in a well greased bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel.
  4. Let it sit for around 45 minutes. It will become almost double in size. 
  5. Then knead it again on flat lightly dusted surface for five more minutes. This will release the air from it. 
  6. Again give round shape after kneading and cover with the same damp cloth, on the flat surface.
  7. Rest it for 15 minutes.
  8. Then roll it lightly and give a rectangular shape as shown in the image. ( Fold both vertical edges and then roll it from the horizontal side) 
  9. Keep the dough log in bread tin and put the tin inside a plastic bag. Keep it aside for 30 minutes for the dough to proof and rise. 
  10. After 30 minutes the dough would have risen to cover the bread tin. Brush milk on top surface of the dough log.
  11. Now bake it in a pre-heated oven at 200°c for 35 minutes. 
  12. After 35 minutes, take the tin out and cool on a cooling rack. Brush melted butter on top surface of the bread.
  13. Slice the bread once it cools down. Enjoy.  

Dahi Baingan

Dahi Baingan (fried eggplant in tempered yogurt) is an authentic popular Odiya side dish. You will definitely find this item in almost all functions. 

Read on to know the recipe of our beloved Dahi Baingan.

Ingredients:

  1. Eggplant (big) – 1 cut length wise
  2. Yogurt – 1 cup
  3. Onion (small) – 1 (cut into small pieces)
  4. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  5. Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  6. Salt – as per taste
  7. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  8. Oil – 2 tbsp
  9. Panch phoran – 1 tap
  10. Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  11. Curry leaves – 8 to 10
  12. Water – 1 cup

Method of preparation:

  1. Cut the eggplant length wise and chop the onion into small pieces.
  2. Toss the eggplant pieces with salt, half of both turmeric and red chilli powder taken. 
  3. Heat 1 and 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the eggplant pieces. Cover and let it cook. 
  4. Take yogurt in a bowl. Add to it salt, coriander powder, rest of the turmeric and red chilli powder. Beat well. Add water as per desired consistency. I used one cup of water. 
  5. Once the eggplant pieces are nicely done, add those to the yogurt mixture. 
  6. For tempering, heat oil and add panch phoran to it. After they splutter, add asafoetida, curry leaves and onion. Sweat the onion and then add 3-4 tbsp water. Let the water boil and switch off the flame. 
  7. Add this tempering to yogurt and eggplant mixture. Stir gently. 
  8. Dahi Baingan is ready to be served.  

Zucchini Noodles – My way :)

Zucchini noodles or zoodles are great low carb replacement for normal noodles. It’s way healthier as compared to the refined flour noodles.

Here are the ingredients and method of preparation for zoodles.

Ingredients:

  1. Zucchini – 1 (spiralizes as noodles)
  2. Paneer – 150 gms (cut into pieces)
  3. Small onion – 1 (cut length wise)
  4. Small tomato – 1 (cut length wise)
  5. Shezwan sauce – 2 tsp
  6. Salt – as per taste
  7. Oregano – 1 tsp
  8. Red chilli flakes – 1 tsp
  9. Unsalted butter – 1 tbsp

Method of preparation:

  1. With the help of a vegetable spiralizer, cut zucchini in the shape of noodles. 
  2. Wash the zoodles.
  3. In a pan, add butter. Once the butter melts, add cut onion, tomatoes and paneer pieces. 
  4. Fry till those become little brown. Add salt, oregano, chilli flakes and shezwan sauce.
  5. Mix nicely. Then add the zoodles to it. 
  6. Saute nicely. Let the water (if any) be evaporated. 
  7. Our zucchini noodles or zoodles is ready. Serve hot. 

Chena-pani Ambila

Chena-pani Ambila is a famous side dish in western parts of Odisha. It’s prepared with chena-pani (whey) as base. Whey is the water left after separing the solids (paneer) from split milk. 

Ambula or karadi (long and thin cut bamboo shoots) is generally used as the souring ingredient in this recipe. It also has many green vegetables. This dish goes well with hot white rice. 

Ingredients:

  1. Chena-pani (whey) – 2 cups
  2. Yogurt – 2 tsp
  3. Rice flour – 1 tsp
  4. Mixed vegetables of your choice (tindli, bean, pumpkin, okra, radish, raw papaya, egg plant etc) – 1 cup- all veggies should be cut length wise
  5. Bamboo shoots (thin) – 2 tsp
  6. Salt – as per taste
  7. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Water – 2 cups
  9. Panch phoran ( combination of mustard seed, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji) – 1 tsp
  10. Curry leaves – 8 to 10
  11. Dried red chilli – 2
  12. Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  13. Oil (preferably mustard oil) – 1 tbsp

Method of Preparation:

  1. Keep the whey in a bowl at room temperature overnight.
  2. Next day add yogurt and rice flour to it. Keep aside.  
  3. In a pan, take water. Add salt and turmeric. Let it boil and then add the veggies (if using okra, then fry it separately. Don’t boil it.) Cover and let it boil till the veggies are tender. 
  4. Then add the whey mixture and bamboo shoots to the veggies and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Switch off the flame.
  6. Now we need to season the soup.
  7. Heat oil in a seasoning pan. Add panch phoran once the oil is hot. Let those crackle. Now add asafoetida and curry leaves. Let it splutter for few seconds and then add to the vegetable soup. 
  8. Our ambila is ready.  

Oats and Banana Smoothie

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But in our busy lives we tend to ignore breakfast most of the times in a hurry. 

What if we have some recipes those can be prepared in a jiffy without much hussle and that way we will get our much needed energy punch to sustain throughout the day. 

This oats and banana smoothie is one of such breakfast items which has the much needed nutrients in order to kickstart our day.

Read on to know the ingredients for this power packed smoothie.

Ingredients:

  1. Lightly roasted oats – 2 tbsp
  2. Banana – 1
  3. Almonds – 8 to 10
  4. Flax seeds – 2 tsp
  5. Milk – 1.5 cup
  6. Honey (optional) – 1 tbsp
  7. Pinch of cinnamon powder

Method of preparation:

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a juicer grinder. 
  2. Pour in a glass.
  3. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder on top.
  4. Enjoy. 

Chicken Biryani

This post has been contributed by my dearest friend Sasmita. Thank you Sas for this sweet gesture of sharing your delicacies with us 🙂

Read on to know Sasmita’s version of Chicken Biryani in her own words.

Chicken Biryani is one of the most popular and most liked cuisines in India. More so, every state in India has its own version of Biryani. Hyderabadi, Luckowi, Mumbai, Kerali and so on. Mind you.. every home in India also has its own version of biryani 🙂 “apne ghar ki biryani“, “mummy ke haath ka biryani“…list goes on.

Here, I share with you, my style of Hyderabadi Dum Biryani cooked in the same process but in pressure cooker instead of a handi or pot. It’s not pressure cooked though.

P.S. The container used is pressure cooker because it has a thick base and a lid which can be easily used for dum cooking. It’s cooked on Neff electric stove.

Ingredients (For 4 persons):

  1. Basmati Rice (long grain rice) – 250 grams
  2. Chicken – 250 grams
  3. Onion –  2 big or 3 medium
  4. Garlic – 4 to 5 cloves
  5. Ginger – 1 inch
  6. Tomato – 2
  7. Yogurt – 1 cup
  8. Cumin – 1 tsp
  9. Bay leaves – 4 to 5
  10. Indian whole spices – Green cardamom (2), clove (4), black cardamom (1), cinnamon (2 small sticks), black pepper (5)
  11. Curry powder – 1 tsp
  12. Biryani masala – 2/3 tsp
  13. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  14. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  15. Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  16. Dried basil leaves – 1 tsp
  17. Turmeric powder – 2 tsp
  18. Salt – 2 tsp (can be adjusted to taste)
  19. Unsalted butter – 1 tbsp
  20. Olive oil – 3 tbsp
  21. Fresh mint and coriander leaves
  22. Hard boiled egg – 1 (cut into halves)
  23. Dough (from wheat flour) for dum

Whoaaa.. that’s a whole long list of ingredients 🙂

Method of Preparation:

Marinating Chicken:

  1. Wash, drain and dry the chicken pieces and keep those on an open plate.
  2. Add half of the ginger-garlic paste, salt, cumin and coriander powder, 1 tsp biryani masala and yogurt.
  3. Sprinkle dried basil leaves on it. Also add 2 tsp olive oil on top of it and mix well.
  4. Keep it marinated for good 20-30 minutes.

Cooking Rice:

  1. Soak rice for 20 minutes before cooking.
  2. Boil about double the water as compared to your rice in rice cooking container. Put cardamom (green and black), cinnamon, black pepper and cloves in the water along with 3-4 drops of oil (Keep some of the whole spices to add while cooking chicken).
  3. Cover the container lid (this will retain the authentic smell of the Indian whole spices) and boil for few minutes.
  4. Now drain the soaked rice and add to the boiling water.
  5. Typically, almost all kinds of Basmati rice easily gets cooked within 10-15 minutes.
  6. It is advisable to cook the rice 80%-90% only and drain the excess water.
  7. Leave it to dry in a sieve of flat plate.

Cooking Chicken:

  1. Heat pressure cooker for 3-4 minutes and add unsalted butter and remaining oil to it.
  2. While the oil heats up, add cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves. Then add cut onions (of one onion), ground onion paste (of rest 2 onions) and rest half of the ginger-garlic paste (the other half would have been used for marinating chicken).
  3. Saute till golden brown and curry powder as specified in the ingredients section.
  4. Add turmeric, cumin and coriander powder. Also add cut/grated tomatoes (2).
  5. Saute till the mixture turns into fine silky gravy.
  6. Then add marinated chicken with all it’s contents. Cover and keep stirring occasionally.
  7. After around 5-7 minutes of adding the chicken, add biryani masala, yogurt and stir well. Let the chicken be cooked in the gravy. Do not dry up the gravy content. It’s good to have medium gravy till completely cooked.
  8. Then add freshly cut coriander and mint leaves to it and take off the heat.

Layering for Dum Biryani:

  1. You can use the same pressure cooker and apply butter to the base.
  2. Heat it for 1-2 minutes and sprinkle some cumin seeds.
  3. Now layer first layer of rice. Then second layer of chicken with gravy spread evenly over first. Then repeat the same.
  4. On the top most layer, sprinkle freshly cut coriander and mint leaves and garnish with boiled eggs cut into halves.
  5. Optional: For colouring rice into various shaded and making biryani more attractive, you can use beetroot or turmeric

Hope your neighbors can smell biryani from your window now 😉

Dum using dough

  1. After layering the rice and chicken, cover with any lid and apply a dough lining along side the lid.
  2. Let it cook slowly on low flame for 5 minutes.
  3. Now the flavours would have percolated through all layers.
  4. Switch off flame. Serve hot biryani through a cross section of the layers.