Sambar

March 22nd, 2011 Mona Posted in Beetroot/Chuqandar, Black Gram/Urad Dal, Black Peppercorns, Bottle Gourd/Kaddu, Broccoli, Carrot/Gajar, Chane ki Dal, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cinnamon/Dalchini, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Curry leaves (fresh), Dried Red Chillies, Drumsticks/Sojni ki phalli, Dry Desiccated Coconut, Eggplant/Baingan, Fenugreek/Methi seeds, Green Chillies, Jaggery/Gud, Mustard seeds/Rai, Okra/Bhindi, Pumpkin, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Shallots/Pearl Onions, Tamarind/Imli, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, White Cauliflower/Phool Gobi, Yellow Lentil/Tuvar ki Dal/Toor dal 6 Comments » 8,083 views

Sambar is a delicious richly flavored lentil and vegetable stew, native to South India. Many versions of sambar exist, and each one is just as delicious as the other one. The key for a flavorful sambar is a good sambar masala. Like there exists many versions of garam masala powder, similarly every South Indian household has their own version of the sambar masala. I have always only used the ready made MDH Sambar masala powder that is easily available in stores. But I really loved Padma’s Sambar and since then I have only been using her sambar masala to favor mine. I was so glad to discover the right sambar masala for me.

Idli served along with Sambar

Warm Sambar is a delicious accompaniment to South Indian classics like idli, wada, dosa, or just along with plain simple rice, etc. Today I have made Okra Sambar because I had only okra at hand, but the mixed vegetable sambar is the conventional and most delicious. The addition of a variety of vegetables add their own flavor to the spicy and aromatic sambar. Tamarind is the traditional souring ingredient used, but if unavailable you can use lemon juice.

Sambar – Spicy Lentil and Mixed Vegetables Stew
Adapted from here

Ingredients:

Toor dal – 1 cup
Tomato – 1, large, chopped
Green chillies – 4, chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola oil – 3 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
Dry red chillies – 4, each broken into half
Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (chopped/cubed: brinjal, potato, taro root, bottle guard, radish, zucchini, okra, drumsticks, french beans, carrot, pumpkin, beetroot, etc; peeled & whole pearl onions/shallots; cauliflower or brocolli florets) (I used only okra – 340 gms) (also I did not have shallots so I used 1 large sliced onion instead)
Thick Tamarind pulp – 5 tbsp
Jaggery/gud – 1 tbsp, grated
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Sambar masala:
2 tsps of bengal gram/chana dal
2 tsps of black gram/urad dal
2 tsps of cumin seeds/zeera
3 tsps of coriander seeds/dhaniya
½ tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
½ tsp of fenugreek seeds/methi
4 dry red chillies/sukhi lal mirch
¾ cup dry desiccated coconut/khopra

Delicious Warm Sambar

Method:

1. In a non stick frying pan dry roast all the spices separately under the heading sambar masala until they are just a few shades darker. Transfer all the roasted spices to a spice grinder and add a little water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside. This is the sambar masala.
2. Wash toor dal in several changes of water. Soak it overnight or for 2-3 hours in surplus fresh cool water. Drain, and wash in several changes of water. Add the washed and soaked toor dal to a pressure cooker. Add 1/2 tbsp oil, chopped tomato, green chillies, turmeric powder and 3 cups of water. Close the lid and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Using a whisk or a dal ghotni or an immersion blender, blend the dal into a paste. Keep aside.
3. In a large saucepan at medium high heat, add the remaining oil. As soon as it is warm, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle add the curry leaves and dry red chillies. (If you do not have pearl onions or shallots in hand, add the sliced onions and sauté them until they are pink). Immediately add the prepared mixed vegetables and mix well. Add salt and red chilli powder. Lower the heat to medium and pour in two cups of water. Cover with a lid and let cook until the vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the tamarind paste and grated jaggery. Now add the toor dal paste prepared earlier along with chopped cilantro and sambar masala. Mix well. Add water to give it a thin consistency. Half cover with a lid and allow it simmer for around 15 minutes more until the vegetables are soft and a good aroma fills your kitchen. Stir frequently and well, as the toor dal tend to sink to the bottom and stick. Serve warm along with plain rice, or dosa, or idli, or wada.

Luv,
Mona

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Chuqandar Gosht

September 14th, 2009 Mona Posted in Beetroot/Chuqandar, Canola Oil, Ginger-Garlic paste, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Yellow Onion/Pyaaz 15 Comments » 6,738 views

Sweet red beets when cooked in a hot and spicy tomato meat stew result in a delicious curry that you will definitely enjoy. We Hyderabadis like to cook our vegetables with meat.

Peeled and chopped red beets

I enjoy beets this way a lot, along with warm parathas. My brother dislikes the way it tends to color your rice though. Whenever I go to the market, I buy beets along with its greens which are very nourishing, that way I can enjoy the goodness of both the greens as a subzi, as well as beets as a seperate curry.

While preparing salad with beets, do not peel and then boil the beets in water. That way all the nutrients are lost when you drain the water. If you have to boil the beets, wash them thoroughly and boil them unpeeled. In this manner, the nutrient loss is less. I recommend steaming the beets when you wish to have them as salads. This is the best way with minimum nutrient loss and maximum flavor.

Chuqandar Gosht - Beets in Spicy Meat stew

Ingredients:

Canola oil – 1 tbsp
Yellow Onion – 1, small, finely chopped
Lamb/Veal/Sheep meat (with or without bone) – 250 gms, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
Tomato – 2, medium sized, finely chopped
Water – 1 cup
Beetroot/Chuqandar – 5, medium sized(as shown in the picture), peeled, sliced and cut into bite-size wedges

Chuqandar Gosht - Beets in Spicy Meat stew

Method:

1. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat, pour oil and as soon as it warms up, add the chopped onion and stir fry until the onion is just soft. Add meat, ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder and salt, and fry them along for a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and water and pressure cook until the meat is tender.
2. Later, add chopped beetroot and pressure cook again for 2-3 minutes until tender. Cook on high until the water has all almost dried up. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Tastes delicious along with warm Parathas, or you can even savor it along with Basmati Chawal.

Luv,
Mona

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Chuqandar ka Halwa

March 10th, 2009 Mona Posted in Beetroot/Chuqandar, Confectionary, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Ghee, Half and Half Cream, Hyderabadi special, Pistachios/Pista, Raisins/Kishmish, Sugar/Shakkar 13 Comments » 5,274 views

Chuqandar, in Urdu, also called as Beetroot in English are one of my favorite veggies. This nitrate rich, gorgeous root vegetable is best eaten as a salad, roasted, boiled or steamed and then seasoned lightly for added flavor. They are high in fibre, calcium, potassium, folate, antioxidants, vitamin A and C, minerals and other micro nutrients and quite low in calories. They are also used to treat hypertension and hence maintain a healthy cardio vascular system.

Beetroot – Chuqandar

Be careful when you are working with these ground vegetables, as its juices tend to stain whatever comes in contact, like your hands, chopping board etc.

Beetroots are also commonly referred to as Sweet Beets, as they are very sweet in taste. They have a unique earthy sweetness in them, and are hence perfect for halwa or a dessert to serve on special occasions.

Serves – 2 to 4

Chuqandar ka Halwa - Beetroot Dessert

Ingredients:

Beetroot – 1, medium sized, washed, peeled and coarsely grated
Fat free Half and Half cream – 1 cup
Sugar – 4 to 5 tbsp or according to taste (the amount of sugar depends on the size and sweetness of the beets)
Ghee – 1 tsp
Finely slivered blanched almonds+pistachios – 1 tsp
Raisins + chopped walnuts – 1 tsp

Beetroot Dessert -Chuqandar Halwa

Method:

-Heat a thick bottomed non-stick saucepan at medium heat and add the grated beetroot.
-Pour in the cream and let simmer uncovered on low until most of the cream has been absorbed by the beetroot. Keep stirring it occasionally.
-During the mean time, heat ghee in a pan at medium heat and throw in the prepared dry fruits and nuts. Roast them until they turn golden brown. Reemove from heat and keep aside.
-Add sugar to the cooking beetroot and let cook for a furthur 5 minutes or until the halwa is thickened.
-Serve warm or cold garnished with the roasted dry fruits and nuts in ghee.

I am sending this royal halwa over to RCI-Lucknow cuisine.  

For some more ideas on how to use beets, head over to the healthnut blog.

Luv,
Mona

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