Ambada Dal

One green leafy vegetable that I missed dearly once I had to leave Hyderabad was Ambaday ki bhaji (in Urdu Language) or Hibiscus Cannabinus, also called as Gongura in Telugu. This sour tasting red stemmed leafy vegetable is an Andhra specialty.

Ambaday ki bhaji

Brimming with good nutrients these leaves are good for health. Rich in protein and low in calories, Kenaf leaves have anti bacterial properties and are abundant in iron, calcium, phosphorus, lutein and Vitamin C. The tender leaves can also be used as salad greens.

The leaves are plucked washed and used in cooking, stems discarded. Pairing it along with dal in the current recipe helps reduce the sour taste of these leaves.

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Ambaday ki bhaji/Fresh Kenaf leaves – about 4 cups, tightly packed
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tspGreen chillies – 3, chopped
Salt – to taste
Fresh curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Chana dal – 1 cup
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 1/2 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic pods – 2, finely sliced

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram

Method:

1. Wash and soak the dal in surplus fresh cool water for 4-6 hours. Drain and rinse the dal. Now pressure cook the dal in a little water until soft but not mushy. Transfer the cooked dal to a bowl and keep aside.
2. In the same pressure cooker, add the kenaf leaves, red chilli powder, green chillies, turmeric  powder, salt, curry leaves and just a little bit of water. Pressure cook until the leaves are wilted and then using a dal ghotni or in a mortar and pestle, mash them up thoroughly. Add half the amount of the cooked chana dal and mash it along until smooth. Now add the remaining dal and gently mix. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. In a small frying pan, prepare the baghaar. Add oil and as soon as it warms up, throw in sliced garlic pods. As soon as it begins to turn into a light red color, add curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried red chillies. Once the spices pop, remove from heat and pour it hot and hissing over the above prepared ambada dal in the serving bowl. Enjoy as a side dish along with meals.

Finally I have been able to spot out two stores that sell this green leafy vegetable in Toronto. Here are the addresses of the stores:
Patel’s Cash and Carry – 416-439-9393
Rexdale grocery store – 416-749-2060
Normally Ambaday ki bhaji or Gongura is available during the months of July to October in Toronto. But they can get it from India and other parts of US.
If you are aware of any more stores that sell it, please let me know.

Luv,
Mona

Moong ki Dal Kay Pakoday

Pakoday and bhajiye are the usual Iftaar snacks that I serve during ramadan other than chanay ki dal and fruit chaats. Deep fried, this kind of snacks are perfect for this monsoon season when served as a snack at tea time as well.

Moong ki Dal Kay Pakoday – Green gram fritters

Ingredients:

Dhuli moong ki dal (skinless split green gram) – 1 1/2 cup
Onion – 1, finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 heaped tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 3-4, finely chopped
Cilantro – 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Chopped curry leaves -1 tbsp
Chopped spring greens – 1/2 cup (optional)
Salt – to taste

Method:

Soak the dal for 4-6 hours. Drain and grind it adding little or no water. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Heat oil to deep fry in a kadai. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and deep fry on both sides until golden. Continue until the mixture is finished. Drain on paper towels. Enjoy the pakoday along with mint and cilantro chutney.

This is my third entry to the The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival that I am hosting on my blog: and the first entry to the event- Joy from Feasting to Fasting being hosted at Lubna’s blog-Yummy Food.

Luv,
Mona

Vegetable Curry Puff

Puffs are one easy to make snacks when ready made puff pasty is available, perfect for tea-time, or at iftaar.

freshly baked vegetable puffs, ready to be eaten

Bakeries in Hyderabad sell puffs that vary in shapes and the fillings used. Egg puffs, chicken puffs, paneer puffs and vegetable puffs are a few examples. You can even prepare puff pasty at home if ready made puff pasty is not available at stores.

Vegetable Curry Puffs

Ingredients:

Frozen Puff Pastry – 1 package (2 sheets) [available in the freezer section of most grocery stores or supermarkets]
For Filling:
Canola oil – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Black mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fresh Ginger – 1 tsp, finely grated
Potatoes – peeled and chopped, 1 cup
Carrot – peeled and chopped, 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/8 tsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Frozen green peas – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice –2 tbsp
Garam masala powder  – 1/4 tsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsb, finely chopped

Method:

1. Prepare the filling just as you prepare for Samosas.
2. Defrost the frozen puff pastry sheets according to directions. Using a pizza slicer, cut a sheet horizontally in the center. Then again cut the sheet vertically into 3 strips. Place a small ball of the filling on one side of each strip. Cover with the other side of the strip and gently seal the sides. Brush with some cold milk and bake according to instructions. Serve warm along with tomato ketchup.

This is my second entry to the The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival that I am hosting on my blog.
For more details about the event, click here.

Luv,
Mona

Gosht ka Achaar

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!

I was very little when I had first tasted this pickle at one my aunts place, but I still remember the burst of flavors that made me fall in love with this pickle~ tangy, spicy and simply ambrosial. Since then I have tried to replicate this recipe handed to me by one of my dear grandmother in the family. She had only given me andaaza (rough estimate) amounts of the ingredients being used, a mutti (handful) of that, a mutti of this.

This is one of my most treasured recipes, simple and straightforward procedure, very close to my heart, and that which I have been enjoying since times past. Enjoy this spicy, lemony meat pickle that is sure to entice your taste buds. I hope you all like it as much I do.

Gosht ka Achaar – Veal Meat Pickle

Ingredients:

Boneless Beef/Veal meat – 800 gms, washed, drained, pat dried and cut into small bite-size pieces
Lemon juice – 2 cups, fresh
Garlic cloves – 150 gms, pureed into a smooth paste (with addition of as less water as possible to puree)
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Curry leaves – 20-25, fresh, chopped
Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 4
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 3 tbsp
Dry roasted Mustard seed powder – 2 tbsp
Dry roasted Fenugreek seed powder – 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 1/2 tbsp
Salt – 2 tbsp

Gosht ka achar – Veal Meat Pickle

Method:

1. In a deep glass mixing bowl, add the meat pieces and pour in lemon juice. See that all the meat pieces are nicely covered in the lemon juice. Add more if needed. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
2. The next day,add garlic paste to the marinating meat.
3. In a large non-stick heavy saucepan pour in oil, and as soon as it warms up add the curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried red chillies. Within a few seconds add the cumin seed powder, mustard seed powder, fenugreek seed powder, red chilli powder, salt and mix. Immediately add the marinating meat+garlic with all its juices from the mixing bowl and mix well. Let cook partially covered stirring occasionally until the meat is tender. This will take about 35-45 minutes depending on various factors. You can even pressure cook the meat if you want it cooked quick. Keep an eye and remove from heat as soon as the meat is cooked and gravy is thick and clinging to the meat.
4. Let it cool down completely. Transfer to a sterilized glass canning jar and store it in the refrigerator. Use a dry spoon whenever fancied.

Note: Use only Beef/Veal meat for this recipe. I do not suggest using lamb meat or even chicken meat instead.

Enjoy the pickle along with your meals on the side.

This is my first entry to the The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival that I am hosting on my blog.

Luv,
Mona

Tuna Avocado Salad

Avocado, with more than 500 varieties and chock full of healthy nutrients, is one of my favorite power fruits. The first time I had tasted it in Toronto, I was a little apprehensive if I would fancy its taste or not. But as it is so good for health, I kept getting one every time I visited the market and began having chunks of this fruit every once in a while at breakfast instead of mayo in my sandwich. And oh boy, I eventually fell in love with it.

If unripe when bought, keep them wrapped in a newspaper at room temperature for a few days until they are ripe and yield slightly to pressure. Once ripe, cut around the pit using a sharp knife, twist the halves to open the fruit. Carefully whack a knife on the pit, twist to remove and discard the pit. Cup the avocado halve, score and scoop out flesh. Cut avocado reacts with air and browns just like an apple, so it is better to use it immediately.

I was eyeing this recipe from one of my most favorite and inspiring chefs from Food network~Micheal Smith, since long. I tried it and whipped up this yummy quick salad/sandwich filling for a yummy evening snack along with chai and a banana on the side.

Tuna Avocado Salad
(Inspired from Chef Micheal Smith’s recipe)

Ingredients:

Canned tuna, packed in water – 1 can
Avocado – 1, pitted and peeled, chopped
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
Dill leaves – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Cilantro – 1/4 cup finely chopped
Green chillies – 2, finely chopped
Salt and Black pepper powder – to taste

Method:

Combine all in a mixing bowl, toss together to mix. Serve as a sandwich or in a wrap.

Luv,
Mona