Basic How To’s: Series III~ Essential spice powders and pastes

January 25th, 2009 Mona Posted in Roasted Coconut paste, Roasted Coriander powder, Roasted Cumin powders, Roasted Groundnut paste, Roasted Sesame seed paste No Comments » 7,312 views

Basic How To: Essential spice powders and pastes

Dry roasted cumin and coriander seed powders, dry roasted coconut paste, dry roasted groundnut paste are essential spices powders and pastes need for the preparation of masala curries that are a regular in my house, like Baghare baingan, Mirchi ka Salan, Qorma, etc. For my convenience I stock up on a few roasted spice powders and pastes that last indefinitely when stored in the freezer, and it really helps quicken the cooking process of the dish.
Here’s how I prepare and store them:

Roasted Cumin seed powders:
Dry roast 1 cup cumin seeds in a tawa/pan at medium high heat until lightly toasted and just golden brown in color, let cool down and powder it in a spice grinder until very fine. Store them separately in small glass air tight jars at room temperature. Use within 4-6 months.

Roasted Coriander seed powders:
Dry roast 1 cup coriander seeds in a tawa/pan at medium high heat until lightly toasted and just golden brown in color, let cool down and powder it in a spice grinder until very fine. Store them separately in small glass air tight jars at room temperature. Use within 4-6 months.

Roasted Coconut paste:
Dry roast 1 cup unsweetened shredded dry coconut in a tawa/pan at medium high heat until lightly toasted and just golden brown in color. Remove the pan from heat and let the it cool down. In a spice grinder, add the roasted coconut and process until the natural oils are released. Keep scraping the sides and process until it is a very fine paste/powder. Transfer to a freezer safe container, cover and store in freezer in small plastic air tight boxes for future use. It lasts indefinitely.

Roasted Sesame seed paste:
Dry roast 1 cup sesame seeds in a pan/tawa at medium high heat until lightly toasted and just golden brown in color, let cool down. In a spice grinder, add the roasted sesame seeds and process until the natural oils are released. Keep scraping the sides and process until it is a very fine paste/powder. Transfer to a freezer safe container, cover and store in freezer in small plastic air tight boxes for future use. It lasts indefinitely.

Roasted Groundnut/Peanut paste/butter:
Dry roast 1 cup shelled peanuts in a tawa/pan at medium high heat until lightly toasted and just golden brown in color. Remove the pan from heat and let the peanuts cool down just a little bit. Rub the skin off the peanuts using a kitchen towel while they are still warm. In a food processor or a spice grinder, add the roasted skinned peanut halves and process until the natural oils are released. Keep scraping the sides and process until it is a very fine paste/powder. Transfer to a freezer safe container, cover and store in freezer in small plastic air tight boxes for future use. It lasts indefinitely.

Chaat Masala: (Recipe Source: Homemakers)
2 tbsp  (30 mL)  coriander seeds
2 tbsp  (30 mL)  cumin seeds
1 tsp  (5 mL)  ajwain (carom) or fennel seeds
4 tsp  (20 mL)  black salt
1 tbsp  (15 mL)  (green mango powder)
1-1/2 tsp  (7 mL)  Garam masala
1 tsp  (5 mL)  cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp  (2 mL)  asafetida powder (hing)
1/4 tsp  (1 mL)  ground ginger

Toast coriander, cumin and ajwain seeds separately over medium-low heat until fragrant. Grind to fine powder. Mix with black salt, amchoor, garam masala, cayenne, asafetida and ginger.
Store in airtight container for up to 1 year.

This post is my contribution to the event Back to Basics originally stated by Jaya, and currently being hosted by Aqua at Served with Love.

Luv,
Mona

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Khichdi aur Till ka Khatta

February 28th, 2008 Mona Posted in Basmati Rice/Chawal, Canola Oil, Cereal Grains, Dals (Pulses & Legumes), Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Fats and Oils/Tel, Ginger-Garlic paste, Hyderabadi special, Onion/Pyaaz, Red Lentils/Masoor ki Dal, Roasted Sesame seed paste, Salt/Namak, Spices & Seasonings/Masaale, Turmeric/Haldi, Vegetables/Tarkariyaan, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz 11 Comments » 48,488 views

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

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