Aloo Matar

It’s been a year of massive changes. I remember sitting with my 6 week old daughter on my lap, my then 19 month old running around wondering ‘who is that new creature in mom’s lap’ and devising ways of getting rid of the distraction including telling my mom she can take her to India with her. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed, drowning in the sea of diapers and colored poop. Much as I love my kids, I knew I needed an outlet, something that would take me beyond baby talk, Barneys and Elmo’s. Blogging came to mind. I do not remember the first time I read a blog but I remember being fascinated by it. As soon as thought of it, I did it. I completely enjoyed the 30 minutes or so I spent each day coming up with content for my blog and catching up with other blogs. Those 30 minutes refreshed my mind, putting me in better frame of mind and renewing my patience threshold.

A year from then, here I am. A working mom, three blogs, and a writing stint on Dining Hall, I am suddenly stretched all over the place. Not complaining, though. I am enjoying it all. One year of blogging, 56 posts-a little over a post a week, I am feeling very satisfied. And yes, nowadays, I definitely spend more than 30 minutes blog-hopping. Ah, so many blogs, so little time….

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Aloo Matar

There is nothing complicated about Aloo Matar. Potatoes and Peas, dry or smothered in gravy, there is a variation in every cuisine in India. Everybody has their own recipe for doing it, they are all equally good. It is very hard to mess this one up. I was running low on groceries on a day we had a few unexpected guests. Aloo Matar is definitely on the menu in such times. However, I wanted to zing it up a bit and added some extra ingredients making it into rich curry. We all enjoyed every last drop of it. I have made a couple times more, with different medleys of vegetables, it is the gravy that makes it super.

Deep-fry/Shallow-fry/Oven Roast

2 Medium sized Potatoes chopped into bitesize cubes

I have tried each of the above methods. Deep fry is quick, good (when is it not) but oily. Shallow fry takes a lot of time and effort. Oven roasting gives it a wonderful taste. Remember to salt it and give a light coating of oil before roasting. Roasting takes time, too but gives a subtle nuance to the taste. Try it.
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Heat

1 tbsp Peanut Oil

in a wok/kadhai/pan on medium-hot flame. Add

½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds.

When they start sputtering, stand back, brace yourself and add

3 tbsp of Basic Onion-Tomato Gravy

And immediately cover the pan. There will a lot of sputtering and spewing. Adding liquids to hot oil will do that. Lowering the flame will slow down the release of the oil/ghee in the paste. You end up having to fry it as you would for onions and tomatoes. So what? Arre, the whole point of the paste is to save you time. You can make fresh gravy using the same recipe linked above. I won’t be impressed, but I Promise, I won’t hold it against you. 🙂 When the sputtering stops, remove the lid and stir the paste around till the oil comes out. Add

Potatoes, prepared as above,
1 cup frozen peas,
1 cup water,
Salt to taste

Adjust salt, if you have added salt to potatoes while roasting. Mix and bring to a boil. There is nothing to cook here. The potatoes are already cooked, the frozen peas cook in a jiffy. All you want is for everything to get together. Once it boils, remove from flame and add

2 tbsp Ricotta Cheese

You can substitute with cream. The ricotta cheese melts into the gravy giving it a nice sheen and different texture. Try it. Even cottage cheese is good, however, it will add more of a tang that will need accounting for. Mix, place back on a low heat and let the flavors all fuse together.
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Serve with Rotis/Parathas and a salad.

Mango Lassi/Milk Shake

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How can a chilling Mango-Yogurt concoction be wrong for you? It is not. Easy to make and definitely much better with fresh Mango Pulp rather than the canned ones, this is easily one of the more popular Indian Beverages. Substitute the yogurt with Milk for Milk Shake!!!…

1 Cup Mango Puree
2 Cups Yogurt
1/2 Cup Milk
Sugar to Taste

Blend everything in a blender along with some Icecubes…

Sunday Brunch..Chole Batura

Of all the american things that I have adopted in my day-to-day life, the one thing that I have accepted with open arms is the “Sunday Brunch” Tradition. What an excellent excuse for sleeping late into mid-morning. Wake up, make lunch that is neither here nor there and call it “Brunch”. One of the things that has become quite common,at my home, for brunch is Chole Batura, the quintessential Punjabi Dish. Chole would be curried Garbonzos while Baturas are deep fried breads made with regular flour and yogurt.

My friend, who is a punj (Of course!), once told me that traditionally,chole-batura is an breakfast item served along with sweet lassi. Can you imagine that? “I would probably skip lunch and Dinner with that kind of breakfast!!!!…”, I told her. Of course, this was me in my college days, when chatting up friends over the phone and buying new clothes seemed to fill me up pretty good. Where as, today, I eat this same combination for brunch and end up feeling hungry at 4 pm. I blame it all squarely on the huge hormone fluctuations during pregnancies.Forget the fact that I delivered over 6 months ago and my obstretician told me 2 days ago that all is normal in Vee-land. Well, Doc, you wouldn’t say that if you saw the amount of food I can still gobble up. And what about those pair of jeans that look at me forlornly, whenever I open my closet?

Anyway, all that frustration didn’t stop me from enjoying Chole-Bature with Mango Lassi on my patio today. Good Combination. Highly recommended.

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To Make Baturas

Make a dough using

2 cups regular flour
1/4 cup Yogurt
1 small potato, boiled and mashed
2 tbsp ghee/oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt to taste

Add warm water or flour, as required. Knead into a soft pliable dough. Keep aside for about an hour.

When ready to make, roll out golf ball sized dough balls into about 2 mm thick rounds and deep fry as described in the recipe for Mangalore Bun.

To make Chole,

Pressure cook or boil until tender using about 3 cups water

1 cup Chickpeas/Garbanzos soaked overnight

with

1 Black Cardamon/Badi Elaichi
1 Bay Leaf.

Meanwhile, heat up

3 tbsp Corn Oil/Vegetable Oil/Peanut Oil

in wide pan.

Add

2 medium Onions, sliced thinly

Cook on high heat stirring frequently till the onion browns. Add

1 medium Tomato,chopped finely

Continue cooking on high heat stirring frequently till the tomatoes break down and the mixture starts leaving oil. Transfer to a food processor and blend into a paste. Transfer back to the Pan.You can make the paste first and then brown it. But I prefer to do it this way. Don’t ask me why. I am weird that way. Ok, I will tell you. Its just that I think this process browns the onion faster.

Add

1 tsp Red chilli Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder

Stir and cook for a minute. Add

cooked Chickpeas/Garbanzos along with the water.
1/4 tsp Anardana Powder
1/4 tsp Amchur Powder
Salt to taste

Add more water, if necessary or decant some from the beans before adding, if it is more. Bring to a boil. Smash some of the beans by pressing them against the sides of the pan with the ladle. This helps thicken the sauce. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium to low heat to allow all the flavors to meld together. Remove from flame. Finish by adding,

1 tsp roasted Jeera/Cumin powder.

To Make tamarind Chutney
Soak

1/4 cup Tamarind
1/2 cup Dates

in

1/2 cup water

for about an 2-3 hours.

Blend into a smooth paste adding

1/4 tsp roasted cumin/jeera powder(optional)
a pinch of salt

To serve

Serve 2 ladlefuls of chole topped with 1 tbsp of Tamarind Chutney and 1 tsp finely chopped onion in a bowl per person with 2 baturas and a glass of chilled Mango Lassi.

Methi Matar Malai (Fenugreek leaves and Peas in a Cream Gravy)

I am restructuring the blog so some old posts are resurfacing as new ones. Please bear with me.

Methi Matar Malai…

Methi Matar Malai

I love the combination of methi(fenugreek leaves) and matar(Peas). The bitterness of the methi is beautifully complemented by the sweetness of the matar. I am a sucker for any recipe that includes both the ingredients and I have found that it is loved by everyone else too.

The Malai is of course Cream which makes this dish wonderfully rich. Ground up cashewnuts and a dollop of butter doesnt hurt too.

I make this dish with kasuri methi which gives it a wonderful aroma. The recipe below is with kasuri methi. If you plan on using fresh methi leaves, double the methi and sugar quantity. Also, add a pinch of kasuri methi for that aroma.

So , Here you go.

Kasuri Methi Leaves 1/2 cup
Matar 1/2 cup

Onion 1 medium size
Garlic 2 pods
Ginger 1" piece
Green Chillies 2 or 3

Yogurt 2 tbsp

Cashewnuts, soaked in water and ground to a paste.
Cream 2 tbsp
Butter 1 tbsp
Salt and Pepper , Sugar,Garam Masala to taste

Grind together onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies in a blender. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onion paste and saute for minute. Remove from flame, add yogurt. Put on the flame again and saute till the water from the yogurt dries out.Add Kasuri Methi, Matar, Salt, Pepper, Sugar and a cup of water. Cover and cook till the matar has cooked through. Add Cashewnut Paste, Garam Masala, Butter and bring to a boil. Remove from flame and stir in Cream. Serve with hot piping rotis.

Methi Matar Paratha(Fenugreek Leaves and Peas Paratha)

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I love the combination of methi(fenugreek leaves) and matar(Peas). The bitterness of the methi is beautifully complemented by the sweetness of the matar. I am a sucker for any recipe that includes both the ingredients and I have found that it is loved by everyone else too.

 

Methi Matar Paratha.

I dont have measurements for this recipe. I just eyeball everything. I have , however, tried to give approximate quantities. Use fresh methi Leaves for this one and add a pinch of Kasuri Methi for that aromatic punch. I dont add any masalas in this recipe since I make it for breakfast and I am not a great fan of too much spice early in the morn. Best of Luck!

Matar 1 cup
Dhania Couple of Sprigs
Ginger 1" Piece
Garlic 1 Pod
Green Chillies 3-4

Methi Leaves Washed and Chopped finely.
Oil 3 tbsp
Wheat Flour About 2 cups
Salt, Sugar to taste

Grind Matar, Dhania, Ginger, Garlic, Green Chillies till the blend together. Transfer to a vessel. Add chopped Methi Leaves, Sugar, Salt,Oil and mix together. Knead in the Flour. Use water if required. However, dont add too much as the methi leaves already have a lot of moisture. Roll into parathas and cook both sides on a hot tava. Make parathas immediately.