Khichdi aur Till ka Khatta

Khichdi always reminds me of my childhood when on every friday afternoon, by the time my father would come home for lunch from the masjid after the Jummah Salah, my beloved Ammi would prepare and serve Khichdi piping hot along with its accompaniments. The beautiful aroma of Khichdi used to fill the house provoking our taste buds. This dish is uniquely tasteful and very comforting, and we all used to enjoy the meal to the last morsel.. Sweet old memories!

Split Red Lentils-Masoor dal and Basmati Rice

This dish is also sometimes prepared at breakfasts in Hyderabad, especially when someone is invited for a brunch or a breakfast. Khichdi is most usually enjoyed with accompaniments such as Khatta (see below for its recipe), Qimah, Mango Pickle/Keyri Ka Achar, Papad, Qageena and Cilantro and Mint Chutney/Hara Dhaniya aur Pudine ki Chutney or the Till ki Chutney. Everyone is allowed to help themselves with whatever he/she likes as an accompaniment with Khichdi. My grandmother/dadi used to loved it along with the chutney the most. It is also very delicious when had as it is with no accompaniments. The ginger garlic paste and onion are the main flavor ingredients and give the dish a sweet-pungent flavor.

Khichdi is best for upset stomachs and diarrhoeas. Add a little water to the prepared Khichdi and pressure cook it a little more so that the rice is very soft. Mash it lightly with the back of a wooden spoon. Have it along with yogurt. You will definitely feel good as it is easy to digest and very nutritous.

Khichdi – Red Lentil Rice

I like my Khichdi piping hot. As soon as it gets prepared I serve it along with its accompaniments. So I prepare the accompaniments well before the khichdi is to be prepared, so that everything can be served all at once. Warm Khichdi is so very comforting in these wintery days. It gives immense gratification to the soul.

Khichdi – Red Lentil Rice

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Masoor Dal/Red Split Lentils – 1/2 cup
Canola Oil/Ghee – 4 tbsp
Cinnamon stick – 1 inch stick
Cardamom – 2, whole
Green chillies – 3, each slit into two
Yellow Onions – 2, medium size, finely sliced
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 heaped tbsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Water – 4 cups

Method:

1. In a big bowl, wash together the split red lentils and rice very well. Soak them in surplus fresh cool water for about 30 minutes.
2. In a heavy bottomed deep non stick saucepan at medium high heat, pour oil and let it warm up.
3. As soon as it gets warm, throw in the sliced onion and stir fry them till they are all light brown in colour.
4. Meanwhile drain the soaking dal+rice in a strainer and keep aside.
5. Now add cinnamon stick, cardamom, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, green chillies, salt to the frying onions and reduce the heat to medium. Fry the spices along with the onions for a minute or two. Add the water retaining 2/3 cup water to add later. Increase the heat to high and let it come to a boil. Once boiling add the drained dal+rice to it and gently mix it all well and let it come to a boil once.  Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and cover with a lid, and let cook until the rice has absorbed all water, 2-4 minutes. Add the remaining water and mix gently. Cover with a lid and lower the heat to minimum and let cook until the water has almost all been absorbed and the rice is almost soft. Close the heat and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. During this time nice steam will be built up and the rice will all be cooked further to perfection. Serve hot along with above suggested accompaniments. Enjoy.

Suggested Accompaniments: It is had along with Khatta (see below for its recipe), Qimah, Mango Pickle/Keyri Ka Achar, Papad (I love Lijjat Papad), Qageena and Till ki Chutney or Hara Dhaniya aur Pudine ki Chutney

I am sending this as an entry to ‘Think Spice, Think Turmeric‘ event being hosted by Sudeshna.

Updated-Nov 07, 2008:

On the request of a few readers of my blog, I am updating this post with the recipe for ‘ ‘Till ka Khatta’. Roasted sesame seed paste is added to the thin tamarind water and then tempered along with aromatic spices. This thin soup is then used to wet the khichdi. Here’s the recipe:

Til ka Khatta – Sesame seed flavored Tamarind Water

Ingredients:

For the Tamarind water:

Tamarind paste – 4 tbsp
Water – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Cilantro/Dhaniya – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint leaves/Pudina – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Yellow Onion – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1/3 tsp
Dry roasted Sesame seed paste (or blanched Almond paste) – 1 tsp

For Baghaar:

Canola oil – 2 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves – 4-6
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Small green chilli – 1, fresh, slit into two

Method:

1. In a bowl mix all the ingredients under the heading – ‘For Tamarind water’.
2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan, and add curry leaves, cumin seeds and chopped green chillies. Fry for a minute. Immediately add the above prepared tamarind water and let it come to a boil. Cover with a lid and remove from heat. Serve along with Khichdi.

And it is not the end, I have another pleasing information to share with you all, Priya of 365 Days of Pure Vegetarian and Lubna of A Hyderabadi Foodie’s Cookbook, have again presented me with the Nice Matters Award, Thanks Dear. I’m honored!

Luv,
Mona

Hyderabadi Khushka

Khushka is Plain Basmati Rice. The word Khushka comes from the term ‘Khushk‘ in Urdu, which means Dry, or Plain. Khushka is also called as Saada Chawal in some households, which means Plain Rice. The rice is lightly salted while boiling and drained. The procedure is very simple, and it is as the name says about it, a plain basic rice which can be had along with any side dish.

Having this Rice while it is warm is so comforting, but if you wish to serve it later and want to prepare it ahead of time, just microwave reheat the cooked rice covered for 1 or 2 minutes adding a few drops of water in a microwave safe bowl. You can store left over rice in a microwave safe bowl for easy reheating in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It stays good and is as good as fresh when reheated in a microwave just before having it.

Khushka – Basmati Chawal (Plain Basmati Rice)
Serves – 4

Ingredients:

Long grained white rice – 2 cups
Water
Salt – 2 tsp

Hyderabadi Khushka,
served along with a dry chicken curry

Method:

1. Wash the rice well and soak it in 4 cups of cool fresh water for about 10-30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, pour in 5 cups of fresh cool water and add the drained rice and salt. Mix well. Bring it to a boil, then simmer, uncovered until the rice is done. Keep checking if the rice is done, take a few grains from the boiling water and press between your thumb and index finger if the rice is soft, or taste a few grains for softness. Do not overcook the rice and make it mushy.
3. Once the rice is done, close the heat and drain off all the water in a wire mesh strainer in your sink and return the rice back into the saucepan. Working quickly, clean the sides of the pan with a rubber spatula and level the rice properly. Cover with a lid, and leave it for 5 minutes to finish cooking on dum (till a nice steam has been formed). Serve it hot, or you can even have it later.

I am so happy to recieve the Nice Matters Award from the beautiful sisters Zainab and Hameeda, of Arabic Bites.

“Nice Matters Award is for those bloggers that are just nice people , good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!

Thank You Guys! This is my very first award, and I’m delighted to receive it. If I didn’t have to send it to only a few of the selected bloggers, I would have sent this award to each and every blogger in the blogging world, as each one of us are so dedicated to our love of sharing our knowledge across places. HoweverIi had to cut short the list, so, I choose to pass on this Award to Asha, Amna, Lubna, Daagh, Sailaja, Indira, PriyaJai and Bee, Meena, Nabeela, Rahin, Seena and MJ. Everyone of you all bloggers are deserving for this award and very nice.

Luv,
Mona

Mirchi Ka Salan

Talk about Hyderabad’s cuisine, and Hyderbadi Mirchi Ka Salan is sure to become a topic of interest there. This is one of the classic Hyderabadi curries with its characteristic lightly tangy and very subtly spiced creamy gravy.

Green Chillies /Hari Mirch – stems kept intact – slit and seeds shaken off

The masalas in this curry are all braised/bhun-na until oil floats on top, which is a critical procedure to draw out flavors from the various spices added to the gravy, and only in the last stages, water is added to give it a gravy consistency.

I have used spicy medium sized thick green chillies for this curry as shown in the picture, which are the usual kind favored. The chilies preferred for this curry should have smooth skin, not wrinkly, medium thick, straight and long and fresh with stems intact.

white poppy seeds/khus-khus

Do not be be under the misconception that as green chillies are being used in this curry, the curry is going to be fiery hot. Do not worry~due to the addition of spices like poppyseeds, sesame seeds, groundnuts and coconut, the gravy has a mellow and creamy attribute which is utmost delicious. Furthermore, the seeds from all the green chillies, which are main reason for the hotness of the chillies, are discarded before being added to the gravy, hence they are mild after being cooked.

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan – Green Chillies in Sesame Seeds Sauce

The procedure to prepare Baghare Baingan and Tamatar ks Salan is also almost the same as this curry. Also, you can also add any firm fish fillets (Red snapper, Haddock, Cod, etc) to the gravy instead of green chillies to make it a fish curry/Machli ka Salan . There is no difference, except for the fact that in Baghare Baingan, brinjals are used; in fish curry, fish fillets are used; in Tamatar ka Salan, tomatoes are used and in this curry, the green chillies are used.

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan – Green Chillies in a Tangy-Sesame Seeds Sauce

Ingredients:

Green chillies (thick and long, as shown in the picture) – 250 gms in weight
For dry paste/masala:
Khus Khus/White Poppy seeds – 1 tbsp
Till/Sesame Seeds – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Groundnuts/MoomPhalli – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Dry desiccated Coconut – 3/4 cup/50 gms
Dry roasted Coriander seed/Dhania powder – 1 tsp
For gravy:
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Yellow Onions – 3, large, sliced slightly thick into semi circular rings
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 1/2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric/ Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/ Kothmir – 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Thick tamarind pulp – 3 tbsp
For baghaar/tempering:
Cumin seeds/ Zeera – 2 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves/ Kariyapaak – 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds/ Rai – 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds/ Kalaunji – 1/3 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/ Methi dana – 1/8 tsp

Method:

1. Wash, drain, then pat dry and slit the green chillies. Shake the seeds off the chillies to remove the extra spiciness (use gloves while you work with chillies to avoid your hands getting burnt with its chemicals). Keep the stems intact. Keep aside.
2. Heat a small non-stick frying pan at medium high heat and once it is hot, dry roast the desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, khus khus, peanuts, coriander seeds and 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, all one by one separately for just 2-3 minutes until they are a few shades darker and remove them into separate bowls. Do not burn the spices. Once cool, rub off the skins of the peanuts. Grind them all separately in a spice grinder to a fine powder or a smooth paste without adding any water and keep aside.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan at medium high heat, and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions. Let the onions sweat and keep stirring them until they are just starting to brown up in color as shown in the picture below. Once the onions are soft and lightly browned in color, remove them to a platter and keep aside. Once the dry roasted onions are cool, puree them in a grinder until smooth. Keep aside.
4. Pour oil in a cooking pot and once hot enough, carefully add the green chillies and cover with a splatter screen. The oil spits as soon as you add green chillies, so be careful. Stir fry them till blisters form on the skins. Using a slotted spoon remove the chillies to a platter and keep aside.

Clockwise from top – Fried green chillies, roasted desiccated coconut, roasted peanuts,
roasted sesame seeds and fried onions

5. In the same hot oil, add remaining 1 tsp cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds. Let the spices splutter for a minute. Add the pureed roasted onion paste and immediately cover the pan with a lid for a minute. Lower the heat to medium low and shake the pan to thoroughly mix. This is done for the mixture to absorb all the flavour from the baghaar(tempering). Uncover, lower the heat and add ginger garlic paste and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the desiccated coconut paste, sesame seed paste, khus-khus paste and peanut paste and stir fry it for 2-5 minutes or until you see that the mixture comes together and starts leaving oil. Add the red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Mix well and keep stir frying it for a further 2 minutes on medium low heat. Once the raw odor of the peanuts, ginger-garlic paste and coconut is no longer coming, add the dry roasted coriander and cumin seed powder and chopped cilantro and mix well. Pour in 3 1/2 cups warm water and the tamarind pulp. Mix well. Add the fried green chillies and stir. Cover the lid and let cook on simmer for 20-25 minutes while stirring frequently, until the oil has all separated and the chillies well cooked in the masala gravy. Remove from heat and serve the curry.

Suggested Accompaniments: Basmati Chawal/Plain Long White RiceMurgh Biryani/Fragrant Rice+Chicken Casserole, Gosht Ki Biryani/Fragrant Mutton+Rice Casserole, Naan/Indian Flat Bread.

This is my contribution to Think Spice Think Poppy seeds event being hosted by RV at her blog.

( I am posting this recipe again as due to some problem this post of mine was deleted! )

Luv,
Mona

Palak-Tamatar Ki Subzi

This is my favorite brunch on a lazy weekend morning, Palak-Tamatar Ki Subzi with warm Parathas. Hmmm, comforting!

Palak-Tamatar Ki Subzi / Spinach in Tomato-Onion Gravy

The base I use for this spinach curry is a simple tomato-onion gravy. And as fresh spinach is not very easily available all the time, I usually get many frozen spinach boxes, as it will be much easier for me to quickly prepare any curry using these. You all can however use fresh spinach if you have assess to it, I do not get to see many fresh desi greens here. You can enjoy this curry along with rice too, but I always prefer to have it along with my warm parathas. You will love and enjoy it.

Palak-Tamatar Ki Subzi / Spinach in Tomato-Onion Gravy

Ingredients:

Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
Yellow Onions – 2, medium, chopped fine
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
Ripe Red Tomatoes – 2, medium, chopped
Red Chilli Powder – 1 1/3 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Fresh/Frozen Chopped Spinach – 300 gms

Method:

-Pour oil into a small sized saucepan on medium heat and as soon it gets hot, throw in the chopped onions. -Stir fry them till they light brown in colour, then add ginger garlic paste to it. Saute the mixture for about 2 minutes.
-Add the chopped tomatoes and a cup of water, mix it well. Then close the lid of the saucepan and let it cook for about 5-8 minutes till the tomatoes are all mushy. Keep stirring it occasionally just to keep a check if it isnt drying up or getting burnt.
-Add the frozen thawed spinach and again close the lid. Keep stirring the mixture every now and then, till the Spinach is nicely mixed with the Tomato-Onion mixture.
-Sprinkle Red Chilli powder and Salt. Let it cook on low heat. You can add a little more water if needed. Once Done, serve hot with Warm Parathas. Enjoy.

And while having this brunch, you can have a look at the New Hyderabad International Airport soon to be opened, probably by next month at Shamshabad. Its beautiful and i’m proud of it.

Also, Download and check out Kanye West’s Performance at the recent Grammy awards. Its awesome !

Luv,
Mona

Gobi-Mirch Jalfrezi

Jalfrezi is a type of Indian curry in which marinated pieces of meat or vegetables are fried in oil or spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. It is cooked with green chillies, with the result that the jalfrezi can range in heat from a medium dish to a very hot one. Other main ingredients include Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes. – Wikipedia

It was a bright day today, got to see sun and sunshine peeking through the heavy dark clouds for a little longer time after quite an extended period. That made me very happy and cheerful. I wanted to cook something special today, a nice vegetarian meal, and I quickly thought of this dish.

This is my lovely little sister’s recipe. It is a simple recipe which gets prepared in a jiffy. I searched for the ingredients in my refrigerator and I had all those, so I prepared and enjoyed this Curry/Salan along with Zeera Rice/Baghara Chawal and Khatti Dal.

Gobi-Mirch Jalfrezi – Cauliflower and Capsicum in a Tangy Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower/Phul Gobi – 1, large, washed and cut into florets
  • Red and Green Capsicums/Shimla Mirch – 1 each, de-seeded, cut into bite-size strips
  • Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Yellow Onion/Pyaz – 2, large, sliced thin
  • Soya Sauce – 4 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1/3 tsp (optional)
  • Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
  • Tomato Paste – 2 heaped tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Nigella Seeds/Kalaunji – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Heat oil in a non stick pan on medium heat, and throw in the Cumin seeds and Kalaunji. As soon as they start to splutter add the Onions and saute them till they are lightly browned.
  • Add the Tomato paste, Garam masala, Salt and Red Chilli powder and mix well. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the Cauliflower florets and stir fry them in the sauce for 3-5 minutes.
  • Later add the Capsicum strips, Soya sauce, and a little water and stir to mix. Cover the lid and let it cook for 5 minutes taking care the curry isnt becoming too dry or getting burnt. Keep giving it a gentle stir every now and then. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: We had it along with Zeera Rice/Baghara Chawal and Khatti Dal for a delicious meal.

Luv,
Mona