Pudina aur Khopra ki Chutney

July 13th, 2011 Mona Posted in Black Gram/Urad Dal, Canola Oil, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Dried Red Chillies, Dry Desiccated Coconut, Garlic/Lahsun, Ginger/Adrak, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Mint/Pudina, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Mustard seeds/Rai, Salt/Namak, Tamarind/Imli 7 Comments » 9,311 views

I simply adore mint leaves. Its clean citrusy taste, refreshing aroma and artistic curly rich green colored leaves, all make me fall in love with it over and over again. I wait for spring/summer time every year so as to plant mint outdoors in pots. It grows easily and vigorously once established and provides me with fresh leaves all summer.

Mint from my garden

The Arabic name for mint is ‘nanaa’. The mint from the holy city of Madinah is famous for its strong and wonderful aroma. During visits to Madinah one can see people selling fresh mint leaves at every corner. The mint is kept fersh covered under wet hessian cloths. Mint that doesnt get sold is dried under the hot sun and sold. People of Madinah enjoy mint as a mouth refreshner, or in teas or in their food.

Clockwise from top: Mint leaves, Dessicated Coconut, Phulay Chane

The below verison is a mild chutney with use of phulay chane and coconut in it. I enjoy this chutney along with idli, dosa, evening snacks, or as a dipping sauce for sandwiches.

Pudina aur Khopra ki Chutney – Mint and Coconut Chutney

Phulay Chane – 1/8 cup
Dessicated Coconut/Khopra – 1/4 cup
Roasted Cumin seed/Zeera powder – 1/4 tsp
Small Green Chillies/Hari mirch – 4-5, chopped
Tamarind – walnut sized seedless ball (or) Lemon/Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Fresh Mint leaves/Pudina – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 2 pods
Tempering/Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds/Rai – 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 2, each broken into small pieces
Curry leaves – 4-5, chopped

Method:

1. In a blender, add the first nine ingredients. Pour in a little bit of water to aid in the grinding process and grind until smoothly pureed. Pour the prepared chutney into a serving bowl.
2. Prepare baghaar/tempering: In a pan at medium high heat, pour oil and as soon as it warms up add the mustard seeds, broken dried red chillies and chopped curry leaves. Immediately remove from heat and pour this baghaar hot and hissing into the chutney and mix well. Serve along with your favorite snacks. Store the left over if any in the refrigerator for upto a week.

On a different note, Megha from the ‘Food Food Maha Challenge Muqabla’ show that will be telecast on Food food channel had contacted me as they are looking for participants. She says:

“The show is about the competition between male and female cooks and Madhuri Dixit willl be representing the female cook and Sanjeev Kapoor will represent the male cook.The judge of the show is Mr. Sanjeev Kapoor . If any one is interested you can call on 02242769017 between 11 am to 6 pm.
The auditions dates are:
8th July Mumbai
10th July Nagpur
14th July Delhi
17th July Kolkata
20th july Hyderabad
You can also drop a mail at foodfood.mahachallengemuqabla@gmail.com”

This is a great opportunity to participate in a cooking show. If any one is interested, do contact her.

Luv,
Mona

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Mint~Pudinah

March 29th, 2010 Mona Posted in Mint/Pudina, Mint/Pudina (fresh) 15 Comments » 9,678 views

Regular readers of my blog might be familiar with my love for gardening. Ever since I landed here, I have always maintained a little garden come spring/summer until fall, consisting of a few basic veggies and herbs. This has been my annual spring-summer ritual that gives me immense joy. Among them all, one herb that I always plant is Mint. I love the aroma and flavor of mint, also called as pudinah in Urdu.

store bought bunch of mint leaves from an Indian store,
this is Indian variety of Mint

Alluring aroma, bright green and crinkly opposite leaves with brownish square stems are some of the characteristic features of mint plant. There exist dozens of varieties of this hardy perennial. Out of all, I usually buy and use the kind available in the Indian grocery stores for my cooking. And at times I make do with spearmint which according to me is the closest of the Indian mint in flavor.

plucked Indian variety mint leaves

To grow Mint:

Growing mint from other healthy stems is very easy. There are two ways to grow your own mint.

1. One way is to grow them through store brought saplings.
2. The other way is to grow them from stem cuttings.

1. Buy your favorite variety of mint saplings from the garden centers or nurseries or from some friendly gardeners, and transfer them to wide and deep pots. I usually buy Spearmint or Peppermint or Indian mint. Place outdoors during spring/summer and water daily. Mint loves moist soil and grows vigorously once established. Keep snipping off the tips from time to time and use them in your cooking to promote a bushy growth and avoid flowering.

2. To grow mint from stem cuttings:
I always choose mint sprigs to be used as cuttings from Indian stores, as I find their tatse to be strong and synonymous to Indian culinary preparations. You can choose any variety you like. Just cleanly snip off two sets of opposite leaves from the bottom and leave the remaining at the growing tip. Make a clean diagonal cut just below the bottommost node, and plant the cutting in soil in a small container, or you can also place the cutting in a bowl/container with fresh cool water, such that the bottommost node is covered with soil or with water, in a bright area at room temperature that receives plenty of indirect sunlight.

stem cuttings of fresh & healthy Indian variety mint
placed in a glass with some fresh cool water so that they root

stem cutting beginning to root

In a week or two you will notice that the stem cuttings will start to root and develop new leaves. These roots are very fragile. Transfer these stems to a large and deep containers and place in a partly sunny area outdoors. Keep watering regularly whenever the soil looks dry. Soon you will have enough mint to share with your neighbors. Pinch back mint tips which make beautiful garnishes, or as required. This helps to keep the plant bushy and delay flowering.

Good to Know:

I advise growing mint only in large sized pots, tubs or containers and never in ground, as it invasive and quickly spreads out like a weed taking over your entire lawn or garden. Growing mint from seed is difficult, therefore I only recommend buying small seedlings from nursery or garden centers during early spring or use a stem cutting from the store brought mint you use for cooking. If during winters it gets very cold and snows in your area, then mint will die, but do not fret, it revives once winter ends. Bring the mint pots indoors during winters and place in front of windows that receives some bright daylight. Do not crowd several varieties a single pot/container. Mint prefers partly sunny areas and a moist soil, water it frequently whenever the soil looks dry.

Indian Mint growing luxuriously outdoors in a pot on the deck

To Store Mint:

Fresh is best when it comes to mint or any herbs. Buy one can always store it by either freezing the leaves or by drying them. I do not like to dry them.

1. To store fresh leaves, make a fresh cut below each stem and place the stems in a glass. Pour a little amount of fresh cool water into the glass that acts like a vase, taking care the water does not touch any leaves. Place it on the kitchen countertop in an area away from harsh sunlight. Change the water daily. This way, the stems will root which you can also use to plant the mint, and the leaves will stay fresh for a about 2-3 weeks.

2. An another way to store fresh mint is to pluck all leaves and store them covered in a zip-lock bag or container lined with paper towel in the refrigerator until needed.

plucked mint leaves

This way the mint will stay fresh for about a week or two maximum.

3. I also freeze chopped mint, just like I do with fresh cilantro. This way you can store fresh mint indefinitely and you can add it to curries whenever you need it.

chopped mint in ice-cube tray ready to be freezed

Wash the mint leaves in fresh cool water. Spread on a kitchen towel and let dry for 30 minutes. Now chop all the mint leaves roughly. In an ice-cube tray, tightly pack roughly chopped mint into each of the molds of the tray. Cover with water and freeze overnight. The next day, working quickly, unmold the frozen mint cubes from the ice-cube tray and transfer them to a zip-lock bag. Squeeze out air from the bag and freeze immediately. To use, add the frozen cubes to the curries during the last stages of cooking.

Luv,
Mona

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Masaaledaar Pudine wala Qimah

July 11th, 2008 Mona Posted in Blog Events/Entries/Polls, Canned Tomato paste, Canola Oil, Cardamom/Elaichi, Cinnamon/Dalchini, Clove/Laung, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Fats and Oils/Tel, Gardening, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Milk and Milk Products, Mint/Pudina, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Onion/Pyaaz, Pastes & Sauces, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Simple Kitchen Tips, Spices & Seasonings/Masaale, Turmeric/Haldi, Vegetables/Tarkariyaan, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz, Yogurt/Dahi 21 Comments » 16,354 views

Spearmint growing in pot indoors in my kitchen

Mint or Pudina is my most preferred herb only next to Cilantro/Kothmir. They are so gorgeous to look at! I would have loved to dedicate a part of my garden to this herb if only there was no threat of the plants being destroyed by the rabbits or raccoons or the groundhog which I consider a menace! To grow them buy a small spearmint plant from a garden center or nursery and propogate them into as many plants as you like as they keep growing. I have them placed indoors in front of the windows in small pots and they grow very well and quite rapidly. Mint has a very pleasant, fresh and strong aroma with innumerable benefits. I add this herb, fresh and chopped mostly to all of my meat preperations as the last step just before I turn off the heat source for a refreshing aroma to the dish.

One such meat preperation in which I love to add lots of fresh chopped mint leaves is the dish I writing about today. The mint leaves enhance the flavor of the dish diffusing their minty and fresh aroma to the meat preparation and brightens it.

Masaaledaar Pudine wala Qimah – Minced Lamb/Veal meat with Mint and Spices

Qimah is one of the most loved dish in my house. It can be devoured upon as a side-dish along with a number of main dishes for a meal, or the leftovers, if any, can even be used as a filling for parathas or samosas, or between toasted bread with cheese slices as evening snacks with a warm cup of tea. I usually prepare qimah in large amounts and portion and store them in plastic microwavable and freezable food storage boxes for very long time, so that I can use this during the days I dont feel like cooking.

Masaaledaar Pudine wala Qimah – Minced Lamb/Veal meat with Mint and Spices

Ingredients:

Minced Lamb/Veal meat – 550 gms
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt - 2 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 heaped tbsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Hung Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Garam masala – 1 tbsp
Canola oil – 1/4 cup
Cloves - 3
Green Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch piece
Dried Bay leaf/Tej patta - 1
Yellow Onions – 2, finely sliced
Tomato paste – 3/4 cup
Small Green chillies – 4, chopped
Chopped Mint leaves – 1/2 cup

Method:

1. In a large mixing bowl, add the minced meat, red chilli powder, 2 tsp salt, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, hung yogurt and garam masala. Mix it all well with a wooden spoon and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan at medium heat and as soon as it warms up, add the cloves, cinnamon stick and green cardamoms. Saute them for about a minute. Add the sliced onions and remaining salt and stir fry them till they are golden brown in colour.
3. Add the marinated minced meat and mix well using a wooden spoon. Cover with a lid and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Later, open the lid and break up the lumps of meat using a wooden spoon and add the tomato paste and stir well to mix. Cover the lid and let it cook for 20 -30 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
4. Later, once the water has completely dried, add the sliced green chillies and chopped mint leaves. Let it cook covered for a minute more. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Warm Rotis or Parathas or Naan, or along with Basmato Chawal and a Vegetable side dish or just Khatti dal, or along with Khichdi and Khatta for a delicious and felling meal.

I am sending this as an entry to Grow Your Own event hosted by Andreas Recipes, and also to ‘Think Spice, Think Turmeric‘ event being hosted by Sudeshna.

And before I take my leave for today, here’s a very famous and touching song that I love, ‘Ye Galiyaan, Ye Chowbaara..’ from an excellent Bollywood movie Prem Rog. It never fails to bring tears in my eyes..

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Luv,
Mona

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