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Cover: Some like it hot

Recipes with garlic

31Jul 12

Peas Pulao

Peas PulaoThis tasty vegetarian Peas Pulao can be served for lunch or dinner, as the main meal, or even as a side dish. The rice and peas make it quite substantial, so I usually serve it as the main course. (Also try this chicken risotto with green peas.)

According to my mother, who taught me how to cook this dish, the secret to preparing an unforgettable Peas Pulao is getting the right balance of spices. Not everyone puts garlic in their Peas Pulao, but my mother insists on it. She says it balances out the rice nicely. My personal favourite spice to go with basmati rice is ginger. To me there is just nothing like the aroma that ginger can add to an Indian rice dish.

If you have time to let it sit for about 30 minutes, covered, before serving, the flavours will blend together even better and it will taste even stronger. It is one of those dishes that in fact tastes better the next day.

You can prepare this lovely recipe with regular butter, but I use ghee because it provides a unique flavour.

Peas Pulao
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This tasty vegetarian Peas Pulao can be served for lunch or dinner, as the main meal, or even as a side dish.
Ingredients
  • 2tbsp Ghee
  • 3cm of Ginger, crushed finely
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed finely
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 1tsp Cumin Powder
  • 3 Cardamoms
  • 3cm Cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 200g Green Peas
  • 2tbsp Cashew Nuts, chopped
  • 1,000g White Basmati Rice
  • 1,500ml Water
  • Pinch of Salt to taste
  • 2tsp Coriander leaves, chopped finely, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Melt the ghee in a large pan and stir in the crushed ginger and garlic.
  2. Slice onion finely.
  3. Stir in the onion, cumin, cardamoms, and cinnamon.
  4. Stir and fry all ingredients until the onions turn transparent. You do not need to brown the onions for this recipe.
  5. Stir in the peas and cashew nuts.
  6. Lower the heat and let simmer until peas are cooked.
  7. Add in uncooked rice and stir a bit.
  8. Add in the water.
  9. Cover and cook on a high flame for 5 minutes.
  10. Lower heat to the lowest setting and let simmer for 20-25 minutes more.
  11. Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves.

 

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19Jul 12

Spinach Vada

Spinach Vada
Vadas
are crispy Indian treats that you can enjoy for breakfast or as a snack. These fried pastries look a lot like mini-doughnuts, since they are round and have holes in the centre. However, they are a good deal healthier than doughnuts, because instead of being made with regular dough, they are made with ground up legumes.

Different Vada recipes will call for different legumes; normally, mung daal, urad daal, or channa daal will be used. “Daal” basically means legumes that have had their hulls, or outer shells, removed.

Legumes in general are very low in fat and healthy. Many Indian vegetarians cook with legumes a lot because they are so high in protein. Since they are also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they really pack a nutritional punch.

There are a wide variety of different Vada recipes, but today I am going to tell you how to make Spinach Vada. If you are a vegetarian, spinach is a great way to get your iron.

However, this is not to say that Vada are extremely healthy snacks. They are, after all, deep fried treats. That is why I do not prepare them very often. But I find that once in a while, a little indulgence goes a long way!

They remind me a bit of falafel, which is made out of chickpeas. Usually they are also fried, but you can try this oven-baked falafel recipe for a healthier version.

Spinach Vada
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Vadas are crispy Indian treats that you can enjoy for breakfast or as a snack.
Ingredients
  • 400g Mung Daal
  • 200g Channa Daal
  • 1tsp Water
  • 2cm fresh Ginger
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 1 bunch Spinach
  • Pinch of Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Put the mung daal and channa daal together in a large bowl and cover with water. Leave them soaking overnight, or for at least 5 hours.
  2. Drain the daals and put them in blender. Add a bit of water, but since the daals have been well soaked, you don’t need to add too much.
  3. Blend on high until the daals become a thick paste.
  4. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli peppers and mix again.
  5. Chop the spinach and add it with salt into the blender.
  6. After well-combined, remove the paste from the blender and put it in a large bowl.
  7. Heat up oil in a large pan.
  8. Take a small handful of this paste and form a round ball. Poke a hole in its centre.
  9. Gently lower each vada ball into the oil.
  10. Fry until they are golden brown on one side, and then gently flip.
  11. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil before serving.

 

 

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10Jul 12

Zesty Green Chutney

Zesty Green ChutneyGreen Chutney is perhaps the simplest chutney to make, and it is also the most versatile. The combination of  coriander, lemon juice and mint make this chutney extremely zesty. It goes very well with all kinds of samosas or even Viatnemese spring rolls. Samosas and Bondas are finger foods, which is why this Green Chutney makes the perfect dip. Since it is so flavourful, you could also pour it over something a bit more subtle such as cottage cheese, as you see in the photo.

Not everyone makes Green Chutney with mint. However, I find mint to be very refreshing, and it balances the spicier ingredients perfectly.

I have a friend who once tried this with dried mint herbs she bought at the supermarket, but she told me it just was not the same. When mint dries, it loses its zesty flavour, and that really takes away a lot from the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 500g fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 250g fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilli peppers
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2tsp ginger powder
  • 20g grated coconut
  • 1/2tsp sugar
  • 5tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt to taste

Preparation Method:

  1. Thoroughly wash the coriander and mince it as finely as you possibly can. Put it into the liquidiser or food processor.
  2. Clean the fresh mint and mince it. Add it to the liquidiser or food processor. Do not blend these ingredients yet.
  3. Take the 2 green chilli peppers and cloves of garlic and chop them as finely as possible. Add them to the blender.
  4. Add the ginger powder, grated coconut and sugar to the blender. These sweet ingredients will balance the spicier ones (such as the green chilli peppers and the garlic).
  5. Blend these ingredients thoroughly.
  6. Now add in the lemon juice and blend a bit more.
  7. Finally add a bit of salt to taste. Do not add too much, as this is overall a sweet and refreshing chutney. However, a bit of salt makes all flavours more intense, even sweet ones. So add just a pinch to bring out the flavours.

Makes: Enough for 20 servings

Takes: 30 minutes

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07Jul 12

Mild Lentil and Tomato Stew

Mild Lentil and Tomato StewThis Mild Lentil and Tomato Stew is a vegetarian stew that is very substantial and filling, without being fattening at all. It is perfect for a cold or rainy day and is similar to this red lentil and potato bake, except a bit spicier.

Cardamom is a zesty Indian spice that you can buy at your local Indian grocery store. Since cardamom tastes slightly like lemon, it goes very well with the lemon juice. Both the cardamom and lemon juice are added at the very end as a final touch.

Ingredients:

  • 800g Lentils
  • 2 litres Water
  • 1/4tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/4tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • ½tbsp Turmeric
  • 1/2tbsp Ginger powder
  • 5 large Tomatoes
  • 1/2tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1tbs Paprika
  • 1 clove Cardamom, ground
  • 3tbs Lemon Juice
  • 5tbs Olive Oil

Preparation Method:

  1. Wash the lentils thoroughly and put them in a bowl. Cover the lentils and leave them to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Drain the lentils and put them in a pot with 2 litres of water. Heat them until they come to the boil, then lower the flame and leave them to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat up the olive oil in a pan. Once small bubbles start to form in the oil, it is hot enough to begin frying the spices.
  4. Now add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. You should not grind them beforehand. Careful! They will start to pop and crackle. You should not be wearing short sleeves when you do this, as you will get burnt.
  5. Chop the onion and garlic very finely.
  6. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. With the flame on low, stir briskly. Fry these ingredients for about 4 minutes.
  7. Add in the turmeric and ginger powder and stir briskly.
  8. Mince the 5 large tomatoes very finely.
  9. Add the minced tomatoes to the pan and stir them well.
  10. Add the cayenne pepper and paprika and stir.
  11. Gently put this mixture into the pot where the lentils are and stir thoroughly. Let the lentils and the tomato mixture simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  12. Grind 1 clove of cardamom with a pestle and mortar. Slowly sprinkle the ground cardamom in.
  13. Stir in the lemon juice.
  14. Let simmer for 5 more minutes.
  15. Serve hot.

Makes: Enough for 10 servings
Takes: 1 hour (plus 8 hours soaking time)

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03Jul 12

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Spicy Tomato ChutneyChutneys are a clever and delectable way to consume your daily intake of fruits and veggies. You can use them in all sorts of dishes to jazz them up or create an interesting twist on the flavours, or simply enjoy on top of  a hunk of bread with a side of cheese.

 

I suggest you try my recipe for tomato chutney, as it is a very versatile chutney that goes well with rice and with tandoori chicken kebabs. This is a great recipe for the summer when tomatoes are in season.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 red chilli peppers, whole
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Channa Dal nuts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 2 green chilli peppers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cashew nuts, chopped
  • 10 large, fresh tomatoes, chopped into 2 cm by 2 cm cubes
  • 4 curry leaves
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil

Preparation Method:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Be careful because they pop, and you don’t  want to get burned.
  3. Add the red chillies and fry them for 20 seconds. Since they are whole, the seeds won’t come out of the pepper, and so the chutney won’t be too hot.
  4. Fry the cumin seeds.
  5. Now add the Channa Dal and fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Slowly add the onion and garlic. Add a pinch of salt so that the onion “sweats” a little. Cook this for about 4 minutes until the garlic and onions are softer.
  7. Add the ginger powder. It should sizzle in the pan.
  8. Add the green chilli peppers.
  9. Chop the cashew nuts (but not too small as we’re going to put this all in the blender anyway) and put them in the pan.
  10. Add in the tomatoes and curry leaves. You do not need to chop the curry leaves.
  11. Cover the pot and let it simmer for an hour on a very low heat. You should check it every so often and slowly stir it. You can actually let this simmer for up to 2 hours, and it will be even tastier.
  12. When finished, pour everything into the blender for 30 seconds. You do not want to blend for much longer as you want there to be some chunks of whole tomato left.
  13. Return to the pot and stir slowly. Add salt to taste.
  14. Serve on bread with cheese or as part of a meat dish. You could also store it in glass jars for future use.

Takes: 2 hours
Makes: Enough for 10 servings

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26Jun 12

Chicken Biryani

Chicken BiryaniChicken Biryani is a tasty Indian dish made with a layer of marinated chicken and a layer of basmati rice. Some people alternate and do four or even six different layers, but in my house we always prepared it with just one layer of chicken and one layer of rice.

I have always made this with ghee, which is Indian butter. Ghee can be bought at many speciality Indian grocery stores, or you can try my ghee recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Chicken
  • 100ml Yoghurt
  • 1 Green Chilli Pepper
  • 8 Cloves Garlic
  • 5tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1/2tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 500g Basmati Rice
  • 1l Water
  • 300g Ghee
  • 2tbsp Whole Garam Masala
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 4 Medium Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 30ml Milk
  • 1/2tsp Saffron
  • Pinch of Salt to taste

Preparation Method:

  1. Chop the raw chicken into medium-sized cubes.
  2. Mix the yoghurt, finely chopped green chilli pepper, ginger powder, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder in a big bowl.
  3. Add the chopped chicken.
  4. Let this mixture marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  5. In a bowl, cover the basmati rice with water. Let it soak for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the rice from this water and rinse it in a strainer.
  7. Fill a pot with 1 litre of water. Add the rice. Bring it to the boil. Once it is boiling, let it cook for 2-3 minutes. You should only cook the rice halfway at this point. You are going to finish cooking it later. Take it off the stove and set it aside.
  8. Melt the ghee in a pot.
  9. Add the garam masala and gently roast it. It will pop in the pot, so be careful not to get burnt.
  10. Chop the onion and 4 cloves of garlic finely and add them to the pot. Fry the onions until they are golden brown.
  11. Add the finely chopped tomatoes to the pot and cook for 3 more minutes.
  12. Add the marinated chicken to the pot and stir all these ingredients.
  13. Make sure all the ingredients in the pot are level and flat by patting them with a wooden spoon. Now add the layer of basmati rice by putting all the half-cooked rice on top.
  14. In a separate pan, heat up the milk and add the saffron. Let them cook together for one minute.
  15. Sprinkle this milk and saffron mixture on top of the rice.
  16. Cover the pot with a very tight lid. Let this simmer on a low flame for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

Makes: Enough for 8 servings

Takes: 2 hours (plus 4-6 hours to marinate the chicken)

Note: Although not Indian, I recommend this hot and spicy chicken with almonds recipe. It´s another tasty chicken and rice option!

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20Jun 12

Lamb Biryani

Lamb BiryaniLamb Biryani is a dish consisting of a layer of marinated lamb and a layer of basmati rice. It is quite tricky to cook both the marinated lamb and the rice to perfection. When you first cook the rice, it must only be half-cooked. When you add it to the pot later with the marinated lamb, it will finish cooking. If you want to get the flavour just right, you must use basmati rice.

Once you get the hang of making sure the lamb and the rice are both cooked perfectly, you might want to try my Chicken Biryani recipe. But just love lamb? Give this lamb roast with garlic and rosemary a go.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Lamb
  • 100ml Yoghurt
  • 2 Red Chilli Peppers, 1 chopped and 1 left whole
  • 1/4tsp Garam Masala
  • 2tsp Ginger Paste
  • 2tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1tsp Chopped Mint
  • 1/4tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 3 Large Onions
  • 500g Basmati Rice
  • 1l Water
  • 1/2tsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Salt to taste
  • 200g Ghee

Preparation Method:

  1. Chop the raw lamb into medium-sized cubes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the yoghurt, red chilli peppers, garam masala, ginger paste, garlic paste and mint.
  3. Now slowly stir in the cubes of raw lamb.
  4. Add the turmeric powder and stir.
  5. Peel and chop the onions.
  6. Heat the ghee in a pan on a medium flame and add the chopped onions. Fry the onions until they are crispy and light brown. Do not fry them for so long that they get caramelised.
  7. Remove the onions and place them on a plate with a kitchen towel or paper towel below them. You want the ghee to drain away so that the onions are crispy.
  8. Let the crispy onions cool. Then, add them to the marinade.
  9. Put the bowl in the fridge and let the lamb marinate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  10. Soak the rice for 20 minutes in cold water.
  11. Wash the rice and put it in a pot with 1 litre of water. Bring the water to the boil, then lower the flame and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and set it aside.
  12. Heat the ghee in the pot on a medium flame.
  13. Add the marinated lamb—with all the marinade—to the pot.
  14. Add the basmati rice on top of this.
  15. Squeeze a little lemon juice onto the rice.
  16. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
  17. Cover the pot. Allow it to cook on a high flame for about 15 minutes. Then lower the flame and let is simmer for about 1 to 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender and fully cooked.

Makes: Enough for 6 servings
Takes: 2 hours (plus 6 hours to marinate the lamb)

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18Jun 12

Coriander Mint Chutney

Coriander Mint ChutneyChutney is such an amazingly versatile food, and it goes well with so many Indian dishes. This Coriander Mint Chutney is a lovely, refreshing chutney recipe I got from my Mum. She likes to serve it with samosas. It is refreshing enough to offset the spicy taste of my Chickpea Samosas or my Vegetable Samosas.

This Coriander Mint Chutney is not as spicy as my Tomato Chutney is. In fact, it is rather light and zesty, thanks to its combination of mint, coriander, lemon and lime.

Mint is highly digestive. For many of my English friends, the hot spices of Indian food are rich and delicious – but make for difficult digestion. That is why I like to serve mint chutney along with many dishes. It really does help your stomach.

Mint also goes very well with lamb, so this chutney can garnish your favourite lamb dish, such as this Lamb Mussaman.

Ingredients:

  • 200g fresh mint leaves
  • 100g fresh coriander (leaves and stems)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 10g ginger
  • ½ small onion
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp lime juice
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation Method:

  1. Pick the mint leaves off the stalks and stems. Wash and set aside.
  2. Remove the coriander roots. Remember, unlike with fresh mint, you can actually include the stems of the fresh coriander. Wash it and put it in the blender.
  3. Wash the garlic and ginger thoroughly and add to the blender. You do not need to slice the garlic or grind the ginger beforehand.
  4. Cut the onion into about 4 pieces and put in blender. Putting the ingredients in one at a time helps avoid overworking the appliance.
  5. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the lemon juice and lime juice. This will provide a zesty flavour.
  7. Once everything is well-mixed in a purée form, you can now add the mint. The mint is added at the very end so as to not blend it for too long.
  8. Taste the chutney and then add a pinch of salt to taste. Do not add too much salt as you want it to taste refreshing and tangy.
  9. Give it one last blend and it should be ready.

Makes: Enough for 8 servings.
Takes: 20 minutes.

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04Jun 12

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka MasalaSome people may feel intimidated when entering the realm of Indian cooking. The words are difficult to pronounce at first, and the menus in restaurants can’t describe in great detail every ingredient or step in the cooking process.

In this post I want to share a recipe for the classic Chicken Tikka Masala. Tikka is a piece of meat that is marinated and cooked on a skewer in a clay oven called a tandoor. Masala is the name of a mixture of spices all mixed together that forms a paste. Putting those two words together means that in this recipe, I am going to marinate the chicken in a Masala sauce, cook it in the oven, and mix it with a tomato cream sauce over rice. You can also try a similiar process in with lamb in Masala Nu Roast Gos.

That’s not too difficult, right? Let’s go step-by-step.

Ingredients:

  • 900g of chicken, cut into 3 cm cubes

For the marinade:

  • 245g yoghurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger

For the sauce:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • Salt and pepper
  • 240ml double cream
  • 20g fresh coriander

Preparation Method:

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Cut the chicken into cubes and put on skewers, coating them with the marinade and setting them in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, take out the chicken, discarding the marinade. Place the skewers to cook in the oven for around 8 minutes until cooked throughout.
  4. As they are cooking, you can start the tomato cream sauce. Using a bit of olive oil, sauté the garlic, onion and spices for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the contents of the tomato can, including the extra juices.
  6. Partially cover and stir every once in a while for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Add the double cream and stir for another 5 minutes.
  8. Remove the chicken from the skewers and place them in the tomato sauce, letting them gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Mix in the coriander and a bit on top for garnish. Serve with rice.

Makes: 4 servings
Takes: 20 minutes for the marinade, 1 night to soak, and 90 minutes for cooking

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29May 12

Palak Paneer

 

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is a delightful spinach and cheese dish. In my opinion, there is just nothing that can compare to the combination of spinach and cheese. These two ingredients perfectly complement each other and bring out each other’s best qualities. Paneer cheese is the cheese used in this particular traditional Indian recipe. It can be found at your local Indian speciality foods shop.

I find this Palak Paneer recipe quite rich and creamy. However, the good news is that this dish is very easy to digest. Many people are under the mistaken impression that Indian food is always very rough on the intestines. While it may be true that if you eat spices you are not used to eating, you could possibly have difficulties digesting your meal, you must also keep in mind that many people find vegetables easier on the stomach than meats and fish. And this Palak Paneer recipe, which I learned from my mum, is entirely vegetarian.

Also, it is not very hot or spicy, which makes for light digestion. Palak Paneer is best served with naan bread or with basmati rice, making it a complete and filling meal. I often make this for dinner on chilly days as it is so filling. It will leave you full but not stuffed.

Vegetable Samosas make a tasty accompaniment to this spinach and cheese dish. (And for more spinach options, try this spinach and lentil soup.)

Palak Paneer
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Palak Paneer is a delightful spinach and cheese dish.
Ingredients
  • 1000g Spinach
  • 4 Onions, medium sized
  • 4 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 80ml Water
  • 7tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 400g Paneer cheese
  • Pinch of Salt to Taste
Instructions
  1. Bring water to the boil in a pot and add spinach. Cook until soft.
  2. Drain the spinach and put it in the blender. Blend well until it is puréed.
  3. Chop and sauté the onions.
  4. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the pan with the onions and stir.
  5. Chop the chilli peppers and add them to the pan.
  6. Add in the puréed spinach and the water and bring it to the boil.
  7. Lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Chop the paneer cheese into small cubes.
  9. Fry the cubes of paneer cheese until they are slightly browned.
  10. Slowly stir the paneer into the purée.

 

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