Aloo matar subji (Potato & peas in a spicy gravy)

Lunch today comprised of my take on an Indian classic, aloo matar subji with some gluten free rotis (recipe posted earlier with a couple of tweaks – added an egg and some caraway seeds this time).   There are a few vegetable combinations with potato that work really well and peas is one of them.   I picked up some fresh peas from the supermarket last week and did not want to see them go to waste and so I shelled them and kept them in the fridge with a view to using them today.  I can’t wait to make this again for Anna when she’s back – I think she will love it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4-5 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup of fresh peas
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 green chillies
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1″ piece of ginger (skin off)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) optional
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnish
  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

 

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the potatoes and peas and keep aside.   Use a pestle and mortar to make a paste of the ginger, garlic, green chillies and black peppercorns.   Heat a heavy bottom pan and add ghee and cumin seeds with a pinch of asafoetida .  Stir for a minute before adding the paste – stir for another couple of minutes, add the chopped onions and cook for 5-8 minutes till the onions start to turn brown.   Add the turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder with a dash of salt.  Give it a good mix before adding the tomatoes.   Cook over medium heat till the fat leaves the masala.  Add the potatoes and peas with a cup of water.   Cover with a lid and cook on low flame for 10 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.   Add the amchoor and fenugreek at this stage  (if you can’t find amchoor then use juice of half a lime), adjust the seasoning and mix well.  Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with your favourite Indian bread or rice.

 

Roast aubergine and Charlotte potatoes

I think aubergines/egg plant/brinjal what ever you prefer to call it with potatoes is a great combination of flavours.  We had some left over small aubergines in the fridge which I decided to cook with some seasonal Charlotte potatoes – the dish was spiced and roasted in a pan.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4 small round aubergines quartered (get these in most Indian and Chinese shops)
  • 5-6 Charlotte potatoes skinned, cut into wedges and parboiled
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3-4 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Crush cumin seeds and peppercorn to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar.  Heat pan, add oil and then add coarse mixture .  Saute for a couple of minutes before adding the sliced onions.  Saute for five minutes till the onions turn golden brown.  Dissolve the turmeric, red chilli and coriander power in about 60 ml of water and add to the onions.  Give it a good stir before adding the aubergines.  Cook for 5 minutes before adding the par boiled potatoes.   Adjust the seasoning and cook over low heat till aubergines are cooked through.   Enjoy with Indian bread of choice.

Gluten free rotis with dudhi subji

Having searched the web for alternatives to wheat rotis we stumbled upon a recipe for gluten free rotis made from sorghum (jowar) flour and amaranth (rajgaro/rajgira) flour.   We were both surprised with the pleasant outcome and questioned why we hadn’t done this before.  We have also included a recipe for a dudhi (calabash or bottle gourd) subji  to go with the rotis.  We are excited with this discovery as we can include it in future dinner parties and not rely on rice only.

Bottle-Gourd-Doodhi-

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Gluten free rotis

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthum gum
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

6 rotis – depending on size

How do I make it?

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with some cold water to form a dough.   Roll out into discs and cook on skillet.   Add a bit of ghee to both sides to ensure a softer roti.

 

Dudhi subji

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 long dudhi peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 small tomatoes (pureed)
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Whole garam masala (5 cloves, 5 green cardamoms, 1″ piece of cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves)
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the dudhi and keep aside.   Grind the onion, garlic and ginger into a paste.  Heat ghee in a pan and add whole garam masala and saute for a few minutes before adding the ground paste.   Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes till the paste is cooked through and begins to brown.   Dissolve the coriander, chilli, cumin and turmeric in 60 ml of water and add to the pan.   Stir the paste for another couple of minutes before adding the pureed tomatoes.   Continue to cook for 10 minutes till the fat leaves the masala.   Add the yoghurt and stir in the par boiled dudhi and peas and simmer for 15 minutes.   Sprinkle the garam masala powder, adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander.

Methi and spinach chicken

One of my favourite recipes from my food bible (Prashad by Inderjit Singh Kalra) is methi (fenugreek) chicken.  I made some a few days ago and added spinach to the recipe which works a treat.  As with every recipe in this book the outcome never seems to fail and the final product is worthy of any top class restaurant.  We had the chicken with brown rice string hoppers but it is a great dish to serve with your favourite Indian bread or rice pilau.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 kg chicken – we used skinless, boneless thighs
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 300 gm chopped onions
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 5 tbsp ginger (3 tbsp chopped and 2 tbsp julienned)
  • 6 green chillies chopped (de-seed if you want to reduce spiciness)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 250 gm chopped tomatoes
  • 150 gm baby spinach
  • 150 gm fresh fenugreek (if using dried fenugreek leaves – sprinkle 2 tbsp towards end of cooking process)
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
  • Whole garam masala
    • 5 green cardamom
    • 1 black cardamom
    • 5 cloves
    • 1 stick of cinnamon
    • 1 bay leaf
    • A pinch of mace
  • 1/2 cup of ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Whisk yogurt in a bowl and add chicken, salt, chopped spinach and fenugreek leaves.  Leave this marinade aside for 30 minutes.  Heat ghee in a oven proof pan, add whole garam masala and saute over medium heat until it begins to crackle.  Add onions and saute until golden brown.  Then add chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies, stir for 2 minutes.   Dissolve the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder in 60 ml of water and add to the pan – stir for 30 seconds.   Add the tomatoes and cook(stir often)  till fat leaves the masala, add the marinated chicken along with marinade and about 1 cup of water.   Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until chicken is almost cooked and the fat leaves the masala once again.  Adjust the seasoning.  Sprinkle the ginger and coriander (and dried fenugreek leaves, ‘kasoori methi’ at this point if not using fresh leaves).  Cover with lid.   Mix some wheat flour and water to make a dough and seal the lid with the dough before placing in a 200 degree pre heated oven for 15 minutes.   Remove the seal, stir and serve hot with your favourite Indian bread or rice.

Quince Chutney

We came across some lovely quince the other day while shopping in Hayes.  They looked like big golden pears and smelt delicious.  The fragrance was like a cross between the scent of an apple and pear.  We have never eaten quince before,   just heard of quince jelly served as an accompaniment to many meats.  An online search revealed that quince had to be cooked and could not be eaten raw as it would be too sour.  So I decided to make a spicy quince chutney (‘thokku’ in Tamil).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups finely grated quince
  • 2 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 2 tbsp untoasted sesame oil (get them at Asian grocers)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (roasted and powdered)
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2 tsp dried curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

250 ml – just enough to fill a jam jar.  The chutney keeps well in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

How do I make it?

Boil the grated quince with about 300 ml of water, salt and the sugar.   Let the quince cook so that the water reduces down completely.  Heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splutter add the dried curry leaves and turn off the heat.  Add the turmeric powder and chilli powder at this stage (residual heat in the oil should be enough to cook the spices).  Add the boiled quince and mix well.  Add the roasted fenugreek powder and asafoetida to the mixture.  Check the seasoning before adding the apple cider vinegar.  Mix well,  cool the mixture before transferring into jar and refrigerating.

We are going to try Bramley apples next as an interesting alternative (seeing we tend to get apples all year!)

Corn meal adai

Celebrating Vishu and Tamil New Year in our house meant an embargo on all things meat (including eggs!).  I had to get my creative juices flowing and conjur a dinner option for Anna and  myself.  I have said it before we are quite pragmatic and not purists when following the Paleo lifestyle –  we have included the occasional dose of cornmeal or brown rice in our diets.  So here’s a recipe for cornmeal adai (adai is traditionally made of toor dahl and rice) which is a quick alternative as there’s no soaking, grinding involved.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup fine cornmeal (yellow variety – makkai flour)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 2-3 green finger chillies finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder (paprika can be used as an alternative)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • Handful chopped coriander
  • Juice of a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to drizzle while cooking

How many will I make?

6-8 depending on size

How do I make it?

Mix 1 cup of water to the cornmeal and stir till you get a thick batter.  Add the remaining ingredients to the mixture and stir.   Heat pan and spread a little batter in a clockwise motion around the pan.  Drizzle some oil around the edges and along the center of the adai.  Cook on both sides and serve hot with a sweet chutney (strawberry jam works a treat).