Category Archives: Flat breads

Maharashtra Puri Bhaji Thali

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This was one of the earliest posts I did. The state of Maharashtra. This was one of the easiest one as well, since I blindly followed Pradnya’s post, combining it with her rural Maharashtra thali and changing a thing or two here and there.

In India, you are not a mom, if you can’t make pooris. And in my case, it’s not as a mom I have been failing, but as a wife. My son doesn’t like poori, but it’s the man’s favourite food.

And with this thali, the pooris came out brilliant for a change. So the man was indeed happy!

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Pradnya had made a sweetish dal with the thali. I went for a different version, a simple non sweet basic dal.

Varan-bhath (rice with dal) is a meal combination all over India and this is just one version.

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Masale bhath is a spicy flavoured rice. Coconuts, cashew nuts, gherkins all go into this dish. This, apparently, is a regular item in the wedding feast menu.

I found these two write ups about food from Maharashtra quite interesting, A Cook at heart and Food For Thought.

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Meal Idea : The Pumpkin Farm

Read some sweet write ups about food @ A Cook at heart and Food For Thought

  • Puri                 :  Deep fried whole wheat bread
  • Batata Bhaji :  A simple potato preparation, semi-gravy style that goes along with poori or roti
  • Shrikhand    :  Sweetened thick yogurt preparation
  • Varan Bhat  : Plain rice and dal (lentil) combination
  • Masale Bhat : Spiced rice with ivy gourd and nuts, a regular wedding menu item
  • Capsicum Zunka : Capsicum cooked with gramflour, quick and easy recipe
  • Mattha           :  Spiced butter milk

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Filed under Flat breads, Rice, Pasta, Side Dishes, Thali

Jharkhand – Chilka roti & Chana Dal ki Chutney

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Once upon a time in a small town, there lived a woman who knew only one breakfast to prepare. Arisi upma. And everyday she prepared it with a lot of love for her husband. But after eating it day in and day out, the husband was bored with the dish. He decided to take her to a restaurant nearby to show her that there are dishes beyond upma.

So off they went to a fancy restaurant. He ordered a porridge/pudding from the menu. And with great expectations, they bit into their lovely looking, all dressed up porridge.

….and the wife blurted out,”Upma!”

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The scene above is not unlike my experience with this chilka roti and chana dal chutney. I didn’t believe Jharkhand dishes would taste like our everyday South Indian recipes. But one bite into this roti and I blurted out,”Ada dosa!”

And a bit of chutney had me shouting,”Parippu thogayal!

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It’s amazing that people in two different zones of the country have come up with very similar dishes. Our South Indian Adai dosa has a combination of lentils and this chikli roti has only chana dal.

The chutney tasted really close to our thogayal which is made of a toor dal and chana dal combination. Though this chutney goes well with the roti, I felt it would pair well with rice and a more gravy-ish chutney would be suited for the roti. This is again because my taste buds are tamed to that way of eating. No other reason.

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The Menu:

  • Chilka Roti : A dosa/pancake like preparation. Rice and chana dal (split gram) are soaked and ground together for the batter.
  • Chana dal ki Chutney : A thick chutney prepared with chana dal, coconut and red chillies.

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Delhi: Paratha and Bedmi Poori Thali

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For the fourth day of the month-long marathon, we are visiting the capital city.

Delhi is a historical city and we have planned to visit the place multiple times. Once we planned a trip to Rajasthan via Delhi. But because of heavy rains, the train was delayed by more than 24 hours. So we cut short the Delhi part and went directly to see the Taj. The rest of the trip was fine, but Delhi has been elusive since.

Now that I know about their street food, I am definitely planning a trip sometime soon!

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Apparently the street food totally rocks in Delhi. Read more about it here. There is a ‘parathe wali gali’ itself. And there are innumerable varieties of chaats and other food.

Boy! That’s the place I should have been born!!

I tried making the paratha thali here, but without that plate where they serve the parathas, it just looks spread out and incomplete. My original menu was onion paratha, aloo curry, tamarind chutney, mint chutney and chole.

Then when I was digging Vaishali’s blog (she is from Delhi), I saw a refreshing kulle ka chaat recipe and also one for bedmi poori. These two were new to me,  so I cut out the chhole and added the chaat and bedmi poori to the menu. The aloo curry is also from her space, it turned out absolutely fantastic. Scroll down for the recipe links.

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The kulle ka chaat was so easy to put together and tasted so fantastic. Like Vaishali, I too served it chilled. It has very basic ingredients, all you need to do is cook your chana and chill it. Serve them later in chilled vegetable or fruit ‘baskets’ (carved out veggies like potato, sweet potato, tomatoes or fruits like bananas, orange or apple) topped with pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, chaat masala and coriander leaves. It’s best served chill.

When you add that bit of lemon juice and a pinch of chaat masala, this simple combination waves a great culinary magic.

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Bedmi poori has urad dal paste in it and the dal can be prepared as a stuffing or the paste can be mixed with the dough and made as pooris. I followed Vaishali’s recipe and made it as a filling.

The filling really resembled our South Indian Vada to some extend, which is also made with urad dal.

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The menu:

  • Bedmi Poori : Deep fried pooris with urad dal filling. Served with aloo curry
  • Aloo Subzi : A potato based curry that pairs well with bedmi poori and the paratha
  • Onion Paratha : Parathas with onion filling
  • Pudina Chutney : Grind a cup of mint leaves with an onion, 2 pods of garlic, 2 green chillies, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt. Add a bit of lemon juice for retaining the green colour.
  • Tamarind chutney : Sweet, sour and spicy tamarind chutney enhanced with dry fruits and nuts.
  • Kulle Ka Chaat : A chaat with cooked chickpea, pomegranate pearls and a fruit/vegetable basket.

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Vegetable Omelette

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I said I send fruit as snacks for my son – I didn’t say he finishes it off everyday. On the days the snack comes back half full, I present them as fruit pancakes the next day.

Luckily for me, he has been quite a good kid snack-wise for a while now. So the apple pancakes will just have to wait.

Let’s turn our attention to this vegetarian omelette, which is also a good mess less lunch box choice. It makes a great quick fix evening snack/tiffin as well. The best part of this recipe is that it was sitting in the drafts folder, waiting to be used straight away!

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Recipe Source: Veg Recipes of India

Ingredients:

  • Gram flour/besan                :           1 cup
  • Onion                                         :           1 small, chopped finely
  • Tomato                                     :            1 small, chopped finely
  • Green Chillies                        :             1, sliced into thin rounds (optional)
  • Ginger                                       :             1/2″, chopped fine
  • Coriander leaves                  :            a handful, chopped finely
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • Salt
  • Oil for making the omelette
  • Water                                          :            approx. 1.5 – 2 cups

Method:

  1. Clean and chop the onion, tomatoes, chilles and coriander leaves.
  2. Add the chopped vegetables to the besan. Tip in the salt, garam masala and turmeric powder. Add water and mix until you get a lump free batter. The consistency will be neither too thick nor too thin.
  3. Heat a tawa and add a tsp of oil. Pour the batter like you would make a dosa/pancake. Add a spoon of oil around the omelette.
  4. Wait for the top side to cook (the batter will become dry and the bottom will start to brown) and flip over and cook the other bottom.
  5. I served this stuffed between two slices of bread with a bit of mayonnaise, but this omelette tastes good on its own as well.

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This recipe is linked to Blogging Marathon #34 under mess free lunch box theme. Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see the other participants and their entries.

The post also goes to Mireille’s Taste of Tropics – Chillies.

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Aloo Kachori – Mess free lunch box

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Deep-frying? Not my thing.

Eating deep-fried food? Now, that’s my thing!

A friend fried these for me once and ever since that I have been planning to make these at home.

And finally it’s happened this week. And I can’t believe it either!

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This is no way healthy, but yet it keeps the kid happy. So it will be finding its way to the lunch box pretty soon. It is served usually with spicy garlic chutney. Now that is something we cannot serve the kid.

We are better off with ketch up or no side dishes here.

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Makes : 4-6 small kachoris

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • Whole wheat flour      :       1 cup
  • Ajwain (omam/carom seeds)  :   1/2 tsp
  • Oil                                   :           2 tbsp
  • Water, as required

Filling:

  • Potatoes, boiled and mashed    :   2 medium
  • Onion                                                  :   1 chopped fine
  • Turmeric powder                          :   1/4 tsp
  • Coriander powder                         :   1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder                                   :   1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala                                 :   1/2 tsp
  • Aamchoor (optional)                   :   1/2 tsp
  • Oil                                                        :    1-2 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Jeera (cumin seeds)                      :      1/2 tsp

For Kachoris:

  • Oil, to deep fry

Method:

  1. Make the dough first. Mix the flour, oil, ajwain seeds and add enough water to form a non sticky dough. Keep aside to rest.
  2. Wash, clean and cook the potatoes. I usually pressure cook them for 2-3 whistles. Peel, mash and keep aside.
  3. Chop the onions finely. Heat oil. Add jeera and once it splutters, add onions. Once its brown, add the mashed potatoes. Mix and then add the spice powders. Add salt and taste test once. Adjust seasoning if required. Take off the heat and let it cool
  4.  Assembling: When its time to prepare the kachoris, heat oil for deep frying. Divide the dough into small gooseberry sized balls.
  5. Roll out one ball of dough into a 3” circle lightly. If the dough sticks to the rolling-pin, add 1/4 a spoon of oil to the surface and then roll out. 
  6. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle. Bring up the sides of the circle around the filling and enclose it completely, pinching the dough on top. Flatten it a bit and roll into a thick small circle of the size of your palm. Use a bit of oil to help with rolling out the dough. Be careful while doing this, as the filling will split out if you use too much of force while rolling them.
  7. Deep fry in medium to low heat until golden. Serve with chilli garlic chutney.

Chilli – Garlic Chutney

  • Grind one bulb garlic (I left the skin on the pods) with 2-3 green chillies and salt. Squeeze a lemon’s juice and serve. It stays for about a week and tastes milder a day after.
  • The chutney is extremely spicy and 1/2 a tsp per kachori would be fine. And don’t even think of serving this to the kids!

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This post is linked to Blogging Marathon 34. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other participants’ entries.

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Mess free lunch box

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Humor was my forte. My son was my muse.

Words were my strength. This space was my slate.

And now the words just don’t come. The right ones are elusive when you need them the most.

That’s when pictures help! So browse through these set of lunch ideas. There are five sets and all of them are mess-free.

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My son’s lunch has to be mess free everyday. Else it comes right back untouched. So what I have clicked here is more or less what I send him on a regular basis. 

Snacks is almost always a fruit. And the main lunch is idli, dosa, bread, chapati, poori or in these lines. IMG_4301  

Dosa is a favorite for lunch. I sometimes make dosa sandwich with peanut butter or Nutella.

Life’s problems melt away when you open a bottle of nutella. I wish I could make some people dissolve away too ;-).

Just wishing!

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Fruits is my choice for his snacks. The varieties usually range from apple  to pomegranate to oranges to bananas. Dry fruits and nuts are also a good choice. 

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Poori is a favorite, but since I am still learning the art of deep-frying, this is not a regular one. I guess I am doing OK at the moment.

Ingredients:

Makes 6-8 pooris

  • Whole wheat flour, atta     :        1 cup
  • Salt                                              :       1/4 cup (optional)
  • Water for kneading into a dough
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. In a big bowl, mix the atta and the salt.
  2. Add water slowly and knead till you get a smooth, but stiff dough. For poori, you shouldn’t have a very soft dough – It should be a not to dry, not too wet kind of dough. If you want you can add 1 tbsp of hot oil (from the oil for deep frying) while kneading the dough.
  3. The dough shouldn’t be allowed to rest as it soaks up oil (that’s what everyone says). Pinch 6-8 small balls to make the pooris.
  4. Heat oil for deep frying. Roll out the balls of dough into a circle of 5-6″ diameter. I prefer oil to help with rolling than using wheat flour. The poori should not be too thin, it will be crisp if that’s the case. It should be thin tp medium and of even thickness, else it will not puff up.
  5. When the oil is hot, gently slide the poori into it. It will go down and then surface up again. If the thickness of the poori is right (even through out), then it will puff up nicely. Flip over and fry the top as well. Take off the oil, let it sit in a kitchen napkin and then serve hot with potato masala.
  6. Here I have just packed it as lunch for my son. He prefers to eat it just like that or pair it with jam now and then.

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Jam/Nutella/Peanut butter and  sugar are mostly the side dishes for the main dish (idli/dosa etc). Rice is reserved for evening when he comes back from school and is too hungry to argue. 

Yet he argues everyday!

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Bread is a savior. It’s easy to pack and keeps the kid happy. Peanut butter and jam is the usual combination, nutella too if it’s still there! 

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Raisins and apricots (I know!) are his favorites. I am yet to develop a taste for apricot though.

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Packing roti subzi (chapati with vegetable curry) is a distant dream of mine and doesn’t seem happening anytime soon, yet I try every now and then.

May be one day I will succeed!

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This post goes to Blogging Marathon 34. The theme is mess free lunch box. Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see the posts from the other participants.

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Pesarattu Upma

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The below is a piece of writing, and not real. The story is my entry for the theme ‘Food with fiction’ for Blogging Marathon.

“You would make me the happiest person on Earth if you accept my proposal (of marriage). I want to be with you for the rest of my life. Can we start a new life together?  “, he asked her almost 2 years back. She had said yes, but he wasn’t sure whether he was the happiest person on earth now. He wasn’t even sure he was happy.

“Two years of working together, one year of friendship, four months of whirlwind romance …And now its fights everyday! About everything! What went wrong?! I used to be crazy about her, but now she drives me crazy.” He thought dryly.

A year into marriage, he realized the whole thing was not what he expected. The tiny demure woman he loved is now a raging demon he avoids as much as he can. “If I drive, its rash driving. If I watch TV, then I am neglecting her. For anything and everything, there is a way of doing things and it’s always HER way. Everything should be done a certain way and its the end of the world if it doesn’t.”

“It’s end of the world for me anyway”, he thought as he drove aimlessly. After today’s fight, he was sure she would have left their home. May be he should not go back to check!

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He knew not how, but he was there in the beach now. He parked his car and walked towards the waves. For a second he considered walking right into the ocean. “It’s too big. It will drown out all my problems.”

He sat there watching the waves. Not thinking anything. Just looking at the waves.

He had no idea how long he was there. It was dark when his phone beeped. It was a message from his wife.

“You would make me the happiest person on Earth if you accept my apology. I want to be with you for the rest of my life. Can we start a new life together please? “

He couldn’t help but smile. He took the phone out. He knew it was going to be a long call. He knew they had a lot to talk. And he knew it was better over the phone than in person.

And above all, he knew that everything was going to be fine now.

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And while they sort out their problems, let us have a look into the protein rich dosa kind of pancake here. Pesarattu is an Andhra specialty and its served with upma.

Though ideally it’s cooked in a lot of oil, you can skip/reduce it when using a non stick pan. Now that makes it healthy, a good source of protein and a perfect dinner for sports enthusiastic kids. I am sure Pradnya would agree with me.

Sending this over to Pradnya’s place where she is serving Nutritious Food for Sports Enthusiasts for Valli’s Kid’s Delight, this month.

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Recipe Source : Cook’s Hide out. You can check out the recipe for Upma there. I will be updating it later here.

Ingredients:

  • Green gram dal, whole  :  2 cups
  • Rice                                       :    1/4 cup
  • Green chilies                     :    4-5
  • Ginger                                  : 2″ piece
  • Cumin seeds                      : 1tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil
  • Onion                                  :    1, chopped fine
  • Jeera , to sprinkle on top

Method:

  1. Soak whole green gram dal overnight or for 4 hours at least.
  2. Grind it along with the chillies, 1 tsp jeera, ginger and salt. Make the batter as smooth as you can, though it will still be a bit coarse.
  3.  Heat a tawa. Add a ladle full of the prepared batter and spread it like a dosa. Sprinkle a bit of jeera and finely chopped onions on top. Press lightly with a spoon .
  4. Take one tsp of oil and pour all around the pesarattu. Cook till the bottom is done and flip over and cook the other side.
  5. Serve hot with chutney of your choice.

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Pesto Chapati

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I am never short of words. I always have more than one person’s share to talk. But there are times, even for people like me, when the words just don’t seem to come. I am going through such a phase when it comes to writing here in this small space of mine.

My son is growing up fast, I am not able to catch up with him or run along with him (literally and philosphically). He says things, which I enjoy at that moment and then totally forget it later because he has done some other new thing. I am not able to capture those here, so I have just decided to enjoy the moment. Whenever he says something funny, my mind unwinds and a smile comes in my lips despite my trying to be stern. Little things in life really makes it worth living!

It is definitely a blessing when the only worry in your life is ‘What to cook for dinner tonight?’. A real blessing, actually!

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Valli makes even the toughest question of the day (What to cook today) easy with her BM themes. This week its stuffed breads, so here is a chapati with a different version than usual. A chapati with an Italian pesto filling!

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for more themes and more recipes from other participants.

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour : 2 cups (makes about 6-8)
  • Water to make the dough
  • Salt
  • Mint Pesto, about 2 tsp per chapati

Method:

  1. In a big bowl, make the chapati dough. Add water in quater cup fulls to get a stiff yet pliable, soft dough. Keep aside for 15 minutes
  2. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 lemon sized balls. Roll into 2″ circles, keep the pesto filling. Close from the edges so that the filling is sealed inside. Roll again into round chapatis. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  3. Heat a tawa, cook the roti on both sides till brown spots appear. Serve with Green Peas Masala.

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Linking this to Valli’s Kid’s Delight, for this month’s theme : Healthy Lunch Box Recipes hosted by PJ of Seduce your Tastebuds.

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Vegetable Stuffed Naan

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‘You will forget, Mommy! I will write it in a paper and give it to you.’ That’s kiddo’s dialogue now a days. I guess thats his way of accepting that I have a pathetic memory!

So when kiddo and hubby sat together and made the dinner list for the week, they put it down on a paper, so that ‘Mommy won’t forget!’ (The list hasn’t helped much, but we are still trying to make him eat.)

For Thursday, its dosa per the list, but I served him rice and dal. Kiddo, who now checks before he eats,  took his school ID card - checked his dad’s number from there and called him.

Imagine my embarassment and my hubby’s surprise when he gets a call from kiddo, saying :’Mommy is not making me the dish from the list. She has forgotten to check it again, Daddy!’.

A minute after the call, I was back to where I was the week before. Making dosas, and serving them hot.

And I am doing the same in the blog. Serving you the same naan I made a week back, for the Restaurant theme. For this week’s Blogging Marathon, I have chosen ‘Stuffed Bread’ as the theme. And the naan fits the bill well :)

I modified the recipe at Experiments at Kailas Kitchen.  I added 3-4 tbsp of yogurt and used all purpose flour for the naan. I added some crushed garlic too to the dough. I will update the recipe here later.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for more recipes and more themes.

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Bhindi Masala & Dal Fry

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Day three of Blogging Marathon 24 and I have put together a meal from the take away menu of India House Veg Restaurant. There is a dish each from their Hari Bhari Subjiyam (Dal Fry), Hamari Pasand (Bhindi Masala) and Koyle Ki Khan Se (Stuffed Garlic Naan). I skipped the Breakfast section, since it wouldn’t suit with these dishes.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page  to see whats cooking up!

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Bhindi Masala : This curry was a bit of a let down after all the work that went in it. It tasted OK, but nothing like what you get in the restaurants. It may be because I didn’t deep fry the bhindi. Anyway, this is what I did!

  • Wash, clean and pat dry 500 gms of ladies finger. Coat them in a tablespoon of oil and microwave for 5-6 minutes, without lid.
  • Saute one chopped onion, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 2-3 green chillies in a tablespoon of oil. Add one chopped tomato once the onion turns pink. Add 1 tbsp coriander powder, salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. Mix and cook for two minutes. Check the seasonings. Take off the heat, cool and grind into a paste. This is a standard paste for all curries and can be made in advance and frozen for making life easy!
  • For the curry, saute an onion in a spoon of ghee or oil. Add the cooked bhindi and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Donot mix too much since the okra might break, but do stirring it now and then carefully. Add half a tomato, chopped to this mix, followed by the prepared paste. Let everything come together and check and adjust seasonings if required.
  • Add 2 tbsp coriander leaves, 1 tsp of garam masala and mix. Take off the heat and serve hot with chapatis/roti/naan.

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Dal Fry Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Moong dal                 :              1 cup, cooked
  • Onion                         :              1 medium, chopped
  • Tomato                      :              1/2 of a medium one, chopeed
  • Ginger                        :              1 tsp, shredded
  • Red chilies                :              1-2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder    :              1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala         :              1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves     ;              2 tbsp
  • Jeera seeds              :              1 tsp
  • Ghee/Oil                   :             2-3 tsps
  • Water
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Wash and clean half a cup of moong dal and pressure cook for 4 whistles or till done. Mash and keep aside.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan, add the jeera and red chilies. Once jeera splutters, add the onions and cook till pink.
  3. Add tomatoes and after a minute, add the dal, turmeric powder and salt. Mix and add half a cup water if its too thick. Once you add water, ensure that you mix everything together and the water doesn’t form a separate layer on top. You might have to add more water, if the dal is too thick.
  4. Add the coriander leaves. Let it boil. Keep mixing at regular intervals, though I do this out of habil than of need :D. Do a taste test and adjust seasonings. I sometimes add red chili flakes if I want a bit of spice. You can add chilli powder or green chillies or more red chillies at the beginning itself.
  5. Take off the heat, serve hot with rice or chapatis.

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I will be sharing the recipe of the naan later! The naan and the daal fry compensated for the OK tasting bhindi. The naan esp. took the meal truly to a restaurant level.

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