Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Matar Paneer (Peas and Paneer in a tomato base)


An easy and tasty preparation that kids seem to love.
There are innumerable ways of making Paneer (Indian  cottage cheese) and
this is one of the simplest ones. This is a typical sindhi preparation and the same
base is also used to make peas/potato, peas/macaroni, peas/potato/drumstick combinations.
This preparation goes well with rice, rotis and even bread as it has a curry base which the
bread soaks up well.


21 ozs paneer (i prefer using homemade or Nanik brand)
16 ozs petite peas (frozen or you can use fresh green peas also)
8/10 curry leaves (optional)
7/8 tomatoes ground to a puree with little water
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsps chopped cilantro
1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2 green chillies (optional)
4 tbsps oil + 1 cup for frying
salt to taste
2 heaping tbsps coriander powder (dhania)
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
about 2 cups of water

Puree the tomatoes with a little water.
Cube the paneer and deep fry in hot oil till light golden.
Drain on a paper towel.
The frying ensures that the paneer remains soft.
Keep aside.
Defrost the peas.


Heat the 4 tbsps oil in a pot and add the curry leaves if using.
Add the tomato puree, paste, salt, turmeric, coriander powder,
chilli powder, green chilliesand 1 tbsp of the cilantro and mix well.
Cover and cook for about 10/12 minutes till the oil oozes out from the sides.

Now add the peas and a cup of water and cook till peas are half cooked.
The frozen cook faster and the fresh will take some time so keep an eye.

Add the paneer and cover and cook additional ten minutes till the peas are
completely cooked.

This dish has quite a bit of gravy but it should not be watery.
If you find it is watery, boil it for a few minutes without covering
and it should be good.

Serve hot garnished with the 1 tbsp of cilantro.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Dahi - Yogurt

Greek Yogurt is the big fad today, but Indians have been making similar
yogurt at home since ages.
It is a very simple procedure once you procure the culture.
I normally make it every alternate day in the summer and a big pot once
every 4-5 days in the winter.
This is because it sets very fast (about 8 hours) in the hot weather and
also tend to sour faster.
In the colder months, it takes longer to set (24-30 hours) and does not
sour quickly so i make a bigger batch.


4 cups milk ( i use 1% and it comes out good, but if you like it richer and creamier
opt for the 2% or 4% )
sugar about 1 tsp per cup (optional)
2 tbsps yogurt culture


Heat milk in a pan until it comes to a rolling boil.

Add the sugar and mix well. You can skip the sugar if you want or you can add
more as per your taste. You can also use splenda.
In the summer, let it come to room temperature to add the culture.
In colder weather add culture while it is warm. If it as at room temperature
it will not set.

Pour the milk into the container that you want to set it in.

Add 2 tbsps of the yogurt culture and mix well.

Now cover the container.

If you have an oven with a pilot light , put the container in there.
If not, try to put the container in a big covered pot.

I keep my pot near a heat vent and cover the pot with a thick towel.
This gives it a  warm environment to help it set.

Check for doneness as per the time mentioned above.
Try not to open it before a minimum of 7/8 hours in the summer and
15 in the winter.If you feel it is not yet set, leave it for few more hours.
Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before use, as it enables the curd to
set firmly.
Keep leftover yogurt in the fridge.

To get the culture, get some plain  yogurt from the store and use that.
Try to use a brand that is not sticky as that will not give you the
correct consistency.
Preferably try it using yogurt from the indian grocery or greek yogurt.
In India it is easy to procure  culture from your neighbours or friends
as everyone makes yogurt at home.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pooris (Fried Bread)


These are made with whole wheat flour and are loved by one and all,
specially children. I have seen children's faces light up at the mere mention of poori.
It is very simple to make but requires extreme caution while frying.

Pooris can be had with alu/ dal/ murba/ papad/ dahi ( potatoes, lentils, sweet preserves,
pappadums, yogurt ) or it tastes great just by itself  also.

My husband loves to have pooris with chai (tea). So if i make puris for dinner,
i make sure there is some extra for him to have later with his tea in the night
as a snack :)

And as a kid my daughter would  quietly eat the vegetables that she was not fond of,
if i served them with pooris.

The below quantity may seem a lot, but believe me they fly once they are
on the table. And leftovers taste good too.


2 & 1/2 cups wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste
about a cup of water, maybe few tbsps more
about 3 cups oil for frying + 1 tsp (i prefer using canola oil )


Add the salt and pepper to the flour and mix well.
Knead the dough with the water.Make sure it is not very soft
or hard but firm. Smoothen the dough using the 1 tsp oil.
Cover and keep aside for 10/15 minutes.

Now make small balls from the dough; this quantity makes about 40.

Now roll these to a small disc.

I like to keep a few rolled before i start frying.
Heat the oil in a pan.It should be nice and hot.If it is not
hot enough the pooris will not puff up.

It is preferable to have a perforated ladle for frying
as it will drain the oil.

Once the oil is heated, you can test by putting a small piece of the dough.
If it sizzles and floats the oil is at the correct temperature.
If it sinks, the oil needs to be heated more.

Very carefully, slip one puri into the hot oil.

Gently move it so that it is covered wholly by the oil.
This has to be done very gently so that you do not pierce the
disc at any place as the poori will not puff up.

Turn the poori over to cook on the other side.

It is ready to be taken out when golden brown on both sides.
It takes about a minute per poori.

Drain on paper towels.

Enjoy pooris piping hot.
It tastes specially good on rainy days.
Served here with a dry potato preparation and Seero.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Amb jo Murbo--Aam ka Murabba (Mango preserves)

Yummy delicious mango preserves with the colour of saffron......
The whole kitchen gets redolant with the sweet aroma of saffron and cardamom.

I remember my mom and my Naani (maternal grand mother)  making this and us all relishing it.
Last night as i made this, i was remembering both of them and once it was ready the
appearance and fragrance just took me to my childhood.


4 lbs half ripe mangoes
2&1/4 cups sugar
a big pinch of saffron (kesar)
4 green cardamom pods split open(elaichi)
3 cups water
sliced almonds and pistachios (optional)


Mix the sugar, water, saffron and cardamom and keep it to a boil on a high flame.

Wash and peel and cut the mangoes into big cubes.

Boil the syrup till it reaches a 2 thread consisitency.It takes about 15-20 minutes.

It is very hot at this stage.Very carefully lift a little syrup in a spoon and test for
the consistency.My picture below shows you how to do so. Be extremely cautious
so as to not burn your fingers.

You can see how a string is being formed.
Now carefully add the mangoes and mix gently.

Cover and cook on a medium flame for about an hour.
Keep checking and stirring gently every 10 minutes.

Cook till all the mango pieces turn transparent and the syrup is quite thick.

You can see how the color has changed. Dont stir too vigourously as it will turn
mushy and murbo has pieces of  the fruit and is not mashed like a jam.

If adding the nuts, do so in the last five minutes of cooking.

Let it cool completely before ladling into sterilized bottles.
Cover tightly and keep in the fridge.
I like to put some in a small bottle so i can leave it at room temperature
for quick use.
Tastes best when eaten with hot puris, rotis, parathas, lolis or even bread.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bhindi--Grated Mango pickle (Bundles of pickles)


This is a sindhi mango pickle, a speciality of Shikarpuris (people who hail from the
district of Shikarpur in Sindh). It is absolutely delicious and very different from the
other kinds of pickles.
The pickle is tied up in muslin or cheesecloth bundles and then put in the pickling liquid.
It is also referred to as kadukash (which means grated).

I like to use glass jars for pickling, though plastic will do in a pinch.
Make sure you sterilize the bottles before use.
I boil a huge pot of water and leave the glass bottes and lids in there for about half an hour.
Then i drain them and invert them on a clean towel and leave them overnight to dry.

You need 24 square or rectangle pieces of muslin or cheescloth.
Wash and dry these before using.

Keep your jars and cloth pieces ready before you start to make this pickle.


4 lbs raw mangoes
about 12-14 tbsps of mustard oil
6 tbsps white vinegar
24 peeled garlic cloves

3-4 tbsps grated gur(jaggery)
salt to taste
3 tsps haldi (turmeric)
6 tsps kalonji (nigella/onion seeds)
30-35 black peppercorns
8-10 tsps saunf (fennel seeds) i like the taste of fennel so i use a little extra, you can reduce the quantity to suit your taste.
2-3 tsps red chilli powder (or to suit your taste)
2 tsps of  methi seed powder(fenugreek seeds)

2-3 glass jars
about 4-5 cups of boiled water


Boil the water and keep aside to cool.
Heat the oil until reaches a smoking point and then remove from the heat
and let it cool completely before using. This removes the pungency from the
mustard oil.

Mix together all the ingredients listed from gur until methi seed powder
along with 6-7 tbsps of the cooled oil.

Keep aside.
Wash and peel the raw mangoes.

You can either grate them or cut into big chunks and chop them in the chopper.
I used the chopper.
Now mix the grated raw mangoes with the spice mixture very well.

Now arrange everything so you can make the potlis (bundles).

 Take a piece of cloth on a plate and lay it smoothly.

Add about 2 tbsps of the mix on the cloth and tuck a garlic clove in it.

Now fold the cloth to seal in the mixture and tie a knot.

Put these bundles in the jar.
Now mix together the vinegar, the remaining oil and about 2 cups of water
and mix well.This should be at room temperature.
Pour equal amount of this pickling liquid into the jars and then top up the jars
with the balance of the plain water.


Make sure that the bundles are totally immersed in the pickling liquid.
Cover tightly.Shake the bottle carefully so that the liquid mixes well.
Keep in a sunny area for about 3 weeks so that it ripens well.

Remove one bundle at a time and open the knot and enjoy the pickle.
I can't wait to have my bundles of pickle happiness :)


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Seero (Kara Prasad--Wheat flour pudding)

This is a quick and delicious sweet that can be made in a jiffy.
It is called Seero/Halwa but when we use it as an offering in a pooja
it is called Kara Prasad.


1 cup wheat flour
1 cup unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
chopped almonds and pistachios for garnishing(optional)


Add the sugar and water in a pan and heat till sugar melts and it comes to
a boil.Keep aside.
Heat the ghee in a pan and add the flour.On a low flame keep stirring till
it becomes a dark golden brown.
The moment it becomes golden, carefully add the sugar syrup and continue
to mix at the same time.
Be extremely careful as it bubbles up.
Now turn off the heat and continue to mix for a couple of minutes
till it gets a little thick.
Serve hot.

When it is served as a prasad (holy offering) no nuts are added.
When served as a dessert or part of a meal you can add chopped nuts.
This can also be made with 1/2 flour and 1/2 semolina (sooji).

This tastes delicious with puris and also with pav (a kind of bread).


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mithi Chatni (Sweet Mango Chutney -Sindhi Style)

Summer is here and mango pickling season begins :)
The raw mangoes are available in plenty and it's time to
make my annual stock of mango pickles.
This is a sweet, spicy and tangy chutney that tastes good with
pakoras, tikkis, puris, parathas....


3.5 lbs raw mangoes (kairi)
3 lbs sugar
About 4 cups water
2 tbsps salt
1 tsp kalonji (onion seeds)
6/8 cloves
8/10 black peppercorns
2 sticks cinnamon (2" pieces)
3-4 bay leaves
3 tbsps black raisins
3 tbsps white vinegar
2 tbsps red chilli powder (i use 1 tbsp hot chilli powder and 1 tbsp chilli powder that lends color but not spice.You can use paprika for the color.If you want it spicier increase the quantity of the hot chilli powder)

2 sterilized jars.


Peel and slice the raw mangoes (kairi).
Sprinkle with salt and keep aside for an hour.
Squeeze out the water from the raw mangoes properly.

Mix all the other ingredients in a big pan , except the raisins,vinegar and kairi and cook on a high flame.
Make sure you use a pot which has a lid that fits.

Cook for about 10 minutes till it come to a rolling boil.
Now add the raisins and the sliced raw mangoes.

Stir well and let it come to a boil.

Now cover and cook for about an hour.
Stir every 15 minutes or so.After an hour, check to see if the mango has softened and the color changes to a deep red. If not, cook for 10/15 minutes more but keep a watch on it.

Make sure there is enough liquid as the chutney thickens quite a bit as it cools.
If there is very less liquid remaining, add about a cup or two of water and bring
to a boil. Now turn off the gas and let the chutney cool completely.
Once cool, add the vinegar and mix well.
Put it in the jars and seal tightly.

This chutney stays well for at least a year.
You can keep it in a cool,dark place for a few months.
Or you can refrigerate it, but make sure you keep it out for a little while
before eating as it tends to crystalise or harden in the fridge.

The trick is to keep some in a small bottle to use regularly and
refill that periodically. It is also advisable to use a dry plastic spoon for pickles
as it increases the shelf life.

The two bottles in the picture above is the quantity i got from the above proportion.
So you can accordingly increase or decrease the proportions depending on how
many bottles you would like.

The color in the picture looks quite dark but what you should aim for is a deep red.