Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

My love for fennel – Fennel spiced Cauliflower & Asparagus Subzi.

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Its official. I love fennel. I love its aroma and the unique flavour it infuses in to the dishes. Its sometimes the star ingredient of a dish, without actually taking all the lime light! I wanted to combine the goodness of asparagus, potatoes and cauliflower in to one amazing bowl of hearty subzi. Thus was born this unique and tasty side dish. I could eat it with rotis the whole week! I really did! It was a hit with rotis and the leftover went it to fill in to my bread,to make tasty sandwiches and  the third day, I stuffed it in to puff pastry sheets. Yes, it was amazing! Go on, try it and see for yourself.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Small or 1 Medium Onions diced fine.

2 Cups Cauliflower Florettes.

1 Potatoe cut in to medium 1 inch bits.

1 pound Asparagus diced in into 1 inch pieces.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric.

1 Tsp Red chilli powder.

1 Tbsp Fennel powdered.

1 Tsp Tandoori Masala.

1/2 Tsp Garam Masala.

1 Tsp Salt.

SEASONING:

1 Tsp heaped Somph/ Fennel.

2 Star Anise.

1 Mace (Optional)

TANDOORI MASALA POWDER:

4 tsp ground dhania.
3 tsp cumin ground.
4 tsp garlic powder.
2 tsp red cp.
3 tsp ginger powder.
2 tsp amchur.
1 tsp dried mint.
red food coloring.
1 tsp chilli powder.
2 Tsp Kasoori Methi.

Grind to a near smooth powder and store in an air tight container for more than 6 months.

PREPARATION:

  • Microwave the cauliflower florettes, diced asparagus on HIGH for about 3 minutes.
  • Boil the potatoe in a little water with salt and dice in to pieces.
  • In a shallow kadai, add a tbsp of oil and when its hot enough, add the fennel, star anise and mace. When its slightly roasted add the finely chopped onions and shallow fry until pinkish brown.
  • Just when the aroma was already getting to you, add the microwaved veggies – cauliflower, asparagus and the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and mix them all in well.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of water and reduce the flame to medium low. Cover and cook fofr about ten minutes.
  • Check to see if the veggies are well cooked, If not cook for a couple minutes more.
  • Gently add the tandoori masala powder and the garam masala powder at this stage and mix it in.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro, switch off the flame and keep covered until its time to serve.
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Tomato Kurma for Dosa/Idlis and Chappathis.

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I have this abominable craziness to make so many sides with tomatoes – by now any reader of this blog would have guessed just how much I love them in any form!  Fried and roasted to a Tomato Thokku,  sauteed and ground with coconut milk in a Chettinadu Chutney, fire roasted and spiced with garlic and ginger in a Tomato Rice, or simply chopped and added to a tangy Bhujia Chat, my list goes on..and yet, when I glimpse an interesting concoction made with tomatoes in any form – I go for it! This kurma is a rehashed version of an everyday kurma, made more flavourful with the addition of shallots.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Large / 5 Medium Tomatoes chopped fine.

10-12 shallots peeled.

4 Dried Red Chillies.

3 Tsp Urad Dhal.

1/3 Cup Fresh Coconut.

1 Cup Water.

Curry Leaves.

Salt to taste.

Hing.

Mustard, urad dhal, curry leaves to season.

PREPARATION:

  • Spoon out a tsp of oil in a kadai over low flame and when its hot,add the urad dhal, curry leaves, red chillies and finally the shallots. 
  • Saute on low flame until the urad dhal fries to a golden brown color.  In the very end, add the fresh coconut and saute for a couple minutes more.
  • Remove from flame and give it a quick zing in the mixer. Add a little water if necessary and puree to a smooth paste.
  • Add oil to the kadai again, season with mustard, hing, urad dhal, curry leaves and to this, add the chopped tomato and saute until slightly mushy.
  • Add salt, turmeric, a cup of water and allow to cook the tomatoes until mushy for about ten mins.
  • Add the spiced pureed mix to the kadai, mix and add more water to adjust until it reaches a gravy consistency.
  • Switch off when it comes to a boil and serve Hot with Venn Pongal, Dosai, Idlis or Phulkas.
Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

InjiPuli (Tamarind Chutney spiced with ginger and spices)

Ginger root  is a very very tricky spice for me. It is a warm spice, that adds a lot of warmth to many dishes, but one that cannot stand up by itself as its way too over powering. Another such spice is the nutmeg. I love love adding ginger to hot tea, or in piping ginger rasam. Its an important ingredient in indo chinese cooking, specially the Indo CHinese Fried Rice, which is a favourite of mine or the GInger Capsicum Fried Rice.  I hate ginger in cakes or icing or even in a warm pumpkin bread. I cannot eat even a pinch of the candied ginger that is supposed to aid in digestion. No thank you. I can have the tums or digene any day!!! The only only dish where ginger is a star ingredient which I love to have is the Inji Puli.

I remember hostel days when my friend Rose, used to bring jars of Inji Puli  from her home town of Trichur when she would return from her vacation. After that we would have Inji Puli over bread, along with Maggi, as a side for chappathis, idlis or even dosas. Dinners would be awesome with all of us sitting together, discussing college gossips, eating piping hot dosas with sweet and spicy Inji Puli. At that time, I remember asking Rose how to make this and vaguely remembered the procedure. She kept telling me it was important to fry the ginger for that authentic taste. This was almost 13 years ago but then I decided to try it out from memory and with help from online sources, I perfected the recipe for Inji Puli.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Tamarind Water.

4-5  Tsp Brown Sugar.

1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1/4 Cup Finely chopped ginger.

salt to taste.

i Tbsp Coconut oil.

Seasoning:

1 Tsp mustard Seeds.

Curry Leaves.

Pinch of  Hing

4-5 Fenugreek Seeds.

PREPARATION:

  • Chop the ginger after peeling it and set aside.
  • In  a wok add 2 tsp of coconut oil and when its hot, add the chopped ginger. Shallow fry on low flame for abour 2-3 mins  until the ginger is light brown. Set aside.
  • In the tamarind water, add brown sugar, turmeric powder. salt,  and red chilli powder, and mix them all in.
  • Set over medium flame until the raw smell is gone add the fried ginger and allow to simmer.
  • Place a kadai on the stove and add a spoon of coconut oil. Season with curry leaves, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and hing. When they splutter add it to the tamarind gravy.
  • Set the flame to medium low and allow the gravy to simmer down until its slightly thick. If needed that this point you could add 1 tsp of rice flour dissolved in 2 tbsp of water and add this to the inji puli, as this helps in instantly thickening the gravy.
  • Remove and store airtight  in a glass jar, which will preserve for weeks.

HINTS:

Coconut Oil is a very important and essential ingredient to achieve the authentic taste of the Inji Puli. Please do not substitute with gingely or canola oil.

Frying the ginger on medium low flame until the ginger brown imparts the dish with a unique flavour of the ginger without the sense of overpowering the entire dish. It pllays along nicely with the tamarind and the brown sugar/jaggery.

Using brown sugar was option for me. You could also use about 3 tbsp of jaggery. Please use a little less and depending on the strength of the ginger. tartness of the tamarind, play with the quantoties of the jaggery. There should be a sweetness that is not too sweet nor too less.

 

Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Bihari Aloo Baingan (Potatoes and Eggplant in a Garlic Chilli sauce)

Baby potatoes are always a pleasure to cook with as they are cute and tiny and cook so fast and most importantly they dont have to be peeled and they hold their own ground. They dont get too mushy unless you dont treat them properly. I enjoy so many recipes with baby potatoes some of my most favourite being, Aloo Dum, Baby Potatoes in Tomato Gravy and of course this Bihari Aloo Baingan. I love combining such contrasting veggies, as I feel they compliment each other…Plantains and long bean Mezhukkuvaratti is of course another favourite but we shall keep that speciality for another post. This is is inspired by one of my favourite chefs – Raghavan Iyer…I love his cook book andd the little anecdotes that he adds to the story behind his learning the recipe and its roots….

INGREDIENTS:

1 Pound Baby Potatoes.

1 Japanese Eggplant.

4 Large Cloves Garlic.

3 Red chillies.

1 Tsp Jeera.

1 Tbsp Ginger thinly sliced.

1 Medium Onion sliced lengthwise thinly.

2  Tsbp Canola Oil.

1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Cilantro Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the potatoes and the eggplants. Pop them in the rice cooker, add salt  and cook them until they are half done. Alternatively use the microwave or stove or you need not cook them now but you can finish up the entire cooking of the potatoes and the egplant in the gravy itself.
  • In the little mixer jar combine cilantro, red chillies, ginger  and  garlic and pulse until they are well ground. Do not add water. Set aside.
  • In a pan or kadai, add a spoon of oil and when the oil is hot enough, add the cumin seeds. They will splutter and sizzle for a couple seconds. Imediately add the sliced onions and fry them until they turnn in t a dull brown colour and they carmelize. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the pulsed cilantro garlic blend and saute for a couple more seconds until the raw smell is gone. This should be in about 45 seconds. Do not let the pulsed mix burn in the pan. Keep mixing and marinating them in.
  • Toss in the potatoes and the eggplant and mix with the rest of the ingredients.Now add a cup of water and scrape the pan to deglaze the bits of spices sticking to hte base of the pan.
  • Stir in another cup of water and add salt to the pan. Now bring the heat down to medium low and allow to reduce for a about 15 – 20 minutes until the veggies are well cooked and the gravy comes together.
  • Serve hot Bihari Baingan with soft phulkas or Peas Prathas…

Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Dhingri Josh ( Mushrooms in a simple tomato base!)

One of my most favourite preparations are either with paneer or with mushrooms. Its always a pleasure to cook with mushrooms as they have their own texture and taste and render a different taste to the dish itself. When I came across Raghavan Iyer`s 660 curries in my local library I was literally overjoyed. I did never find the time to try so many of my favourites in his book, as we were busy with our move . This is one of his dishes that I love and relish. Its a very simple preparation yet, very elegant and a great accompaniment with naan bread or rotis.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Pound Brown Cremini Mushrooms or White Button Mushrooms.

1 Tsp Jeera.

1 Tsp ShahiJeera.

1 Tsp Powdered Cardamom.

3 Bay Leaves.

2 Cinnamon Sticks ( Yes it might feel like a bit too much!)

2 Red Chillies.

1 Medium Onion Finely chopped.

1 Tbsp Ginger Paste.

1 Tbsp Garlic Paste.

3 Medium Vine Tomatoes chopped finely.

1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1 tsp Sugar.

1/2 Tsp Punjabi Garam Masala.

Salt to taste.

PREPARATION:

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet and when the oil is hot, add the seasonings – Jeera, ShahiJeera, Bay leaves, Cinnamom Sticks, and the ground elaichi. Wait for a couple of minutes until all the spices are well fried and then add the chopped onions.
  • Stir fry the onions for a couple of minutes until they are browned a little nad then follow up with the ginger and garlic paste. Let the raw pastes fry in the oil until all the raw smell is gone.
  • Keep on stirring to make sure that they do not burn in the oil. Now add the chopped tomatoes aliong with the juices and stir it in. Also add the red chilli powder and salt. Keep stirring the tomatoes for a couple more minutes stirring occasionally until the oil starts to separate. this should approximately take about 6-7 minutes.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup of water and deglaze the bottom of the pan and simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes on a medium low flame , uintil the water is absorbed in to the curry and the oil starts seperating again.
  • Now add another 1/2 cup of water to the pan and follow with the mushrooms. Add the sugar and mix well and cook covered stirring ocassioanlly until the mushrooms are cooked soft and tender but not rubbery.
  • Add a handful of chopped green onions and cilantro and serve hot.
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Rassedar Lobia.

In the subject matter of nutrition perhaps the least understood are is protien. There is the eternal quest for foods high in protien and how to add them in to our everyday diet. Whey do we need protein?

A protein is a com plex structure that is made up of smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are molecules made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sometimes sulfur. There are 22 different ones in nature that are used in our bodies to make protein. These proteins make up our organs, bones, tendons, ligaments and blood, and also many of our hormones (insulin, growth hormone), our immune system, our neurotransmitters and all of the enzymes of metabolism, digestion and detoxification.

As a result of the normal wear and tear of daily living the proteins that make up these structures break down and have to be repaired or replaced. If one does not get enough daily high quality dietary protein, these structures do not get repaired. And, if one is trying to increase fitness, strength, endurance or power, the athlete needs increased quantities of quality protein to enhance his existing structure. If he does not one gets diminishing energy, mental irritability, lack of training effect, poor sleep, injury, and illness.

In our experience very few people are getting enough daily quality protein to maintain optimum health and performance. Protein is the key nutrient for recovery and longevity.

Lobia or Black Eyed Peas is an excellent source of protein specially for vegetarians. One serving of black-eyed peas contains 70 calories, making it a low-calorie option when served without additional condiments.  Each serving also contains three grams of protein. The beans do not contain any fat or cholesterol.

As with all legumes, black-eyed peas are very good fiber sources, providing 4 grams or 16% of the recommended daily value. There are two types of dietary fiber:  soluble and insoluble. Beans contain mostly soluble fiber, which can help decrease blood cholesterol levels and therefore may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber may also help patients with diabetes maintain improved blood sugar levels because the fiber helps to slow the rate of absorption of carbohydrate.  It is also a rich source of pottasium, sodium, iron and zinc. I had picked up a couple packs at Whole Foods lasst weekend and I was determined to use it a least twice a week towards my protien intake. This is a simple satvik preparation of Lobia without much oil or too much ingredients, inspired from 1000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 Cups Lobia or Black EYes Peas.

3 Cups Water.

Salt to taste.

Oil.

1 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1 Tbsp Ginger Paste.

1/2 tsp Garlic Paste.

1 Green Chilli.

2 Tomatoes Finely chopped.

1/2 cup chopped cilantro.

1 Tbsp Ground Dhania Powder.

2 tsp Kasuri methi.

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin Powder.

1/4 Tsp trurmeric Powder.

1/4 tsp garam masala powder.

1/2 Cup thick Yoghurt.

PREPARATION:

  • If you are using dried black eyes peas, then soak it in water overnight and pressure cook it in salt  for one or two whistles. Allow the steam to escape and then remove from the cooker and set aside.Make sure that the beans have cooked well in the pressure else cook it for a couple more minutes.
  • Next we prepare the sauce base – add oil to a heavy kadai and when its hot enough, add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle and fry in the oil. Quickly add the ginger, garlic, and sliced green chilies and stir fry for a couple more minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and the cilantro and cook for about 5-7 minutes until its well cooked and all the waters evaporate. Now add the dry powders – dhania powder, kasuri methi, cumin powder and turmeric and incorporate the powders into the mushy tomatoes and stir in well. This should be done for a minute or two.
  • Now reduce the flame to a medium low and slowly add the thick curd to the kadai, stirring the kadai constantly to prevent the curd from breaking up in the heat.
  • Remove the sauce from the kadai, set aside and add the boiled soft and creamy lobia or balck eyed peas to the kadai, without too much of the water in which it was cooked, Reserve this water on the side.
  • When the peas have warmed up well, add the prepared sauce and the reserved water to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Add only as much water as needed. Simmer the gravy on slow flame for  15 minutes or so. It is important to keep the flame low so the flavours of the sauces permeate the lobia slowly and enhance the flavours of the dish.
  • Sprinkle garam masala and chopped cilantro and switch off the flame and keep covered until its ready to be served.
  • Serve Rassedar Lobia with Paranthas or Rotis.
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Khatta Meeta Choley. (Garbanzo Beans cooked in a tangy tamarind gravy)

Punjabi Channa Masala has always been a favourite dish close to my heart, and we make it very often as a prepare ahead party dish and a dish to take for long travels by train and by road. Its always a pleasure to travel by train from one city to the other, with family, having loved ones meet you at the station and take auto rickshaws to their respecive homes.   I miss those days of train journeys overnight, packing our clothes  with great gusto, and of course the food. Amma always used to make soft parathas and Onion Thokku  for train travel as it keeps without spoiling . She would have spent hours frying the onion thokku in a kadai slathered in oil.  I loved this version with the meetha from the imli sweet chutney. Almost reminded me of the green ragada gravy that I have always wanted to have in the bangalore roadside stall, but never ever got approval for!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium sized Onion coarsely chopped.

6 cloves of garlic chopped.

4 Dried Red Chullies.

3 pieces of ginger each 2 inch long and 1/2 inch thick.

1 Tsp jeera.

2 Tbsp Dhania Powder.

2 Tsp Salt.

2 Tsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Ground Fennel Seeds or Saunf.

1/2 Tsp Ground Turmeric.

1/2 Tsp Ground Cardamom Powder.

3 Cups Garbanzo beans or chickpeas or White Channa Cooked.

2 Tsp Tamarind Concentrate.

2 Tbsp Sweet Tamarind Chutney.

A hndful of chopped cilantro.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak the white channa for about 6-8 hours and cook with a little salt in the pressure cooker for about 2-3 whistles. Set aside.
  • In a mixer jar, combine the onion, garlic, red chilies and the ginger and pulsed until well mixed. Add a tad of oil if you need to.
  • In a  large skillet, heat the 2 tsp of ghee and add the jeera and wait until it sizzles for a couple of seconds. Now add the pulsed mixture in to the hot oil and stir fry for about 6-7 minutes until the paste has become almost reddish brown. This is the base of this gravy dish.
  • Stir in the dhania powder, salt, sugar, fennel powder, turmeric, and ground cardamom and mix until the spices are cooked. At this point make sure that the spices are well mixed but not burnt.
  • When the raw smell leaves, add the cooked channa along with the water and mix in well. Add the tamarind paste and the sweet tamarind chutney and you will find that the channa gravy becomes a dull brown color.
  • At this point check the gravy for sweet and spice and salt . If the sweet is too much, add a little bit of red chilli powder to adjust the taste
  • Keep stirring and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat at this point and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  • Stir in the cilantro and serve hot with Tiranga  Pulav and a slice of lemon and a garnish of chopped onions.
  • This dish is best the DAY AFTER as the spices all settle down and come together in this dish.

 

Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Navratan Korma ( Vegetable Medley cooked in a Creamy Korma sauce of cashews, raisins and coconut milk)

Life is all about experiences, and learnings from such encounters, and moving on to become better and more fulfilled. We see so many people, read so mnay books, by varied authors, but only a few of them create lasting impression in our minds. One such poem was “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”…I read these lines over and over and over again and from then on, I have learnt to NEVER regret any decision in my life. The best option would always be to find out what to do next and how to move on.

When my eyes chanced on Raghavan Iyer`s 660 Curries in my local library, I was excited! It`s been a dream to lay my hands on that book, just like Ive been waiting to read ” The Mainland China Cookbook” for a long long time!  I liked the little anecdotes by the author in all his little posts in the book. All his recipes have his  underlying love and passion for his cooking! I tried a couple of recipes from his book and this particular one was partially inspired by his version and I must say it was almost close to the restaurant version – only much more delicuous and wholesome and much less greasy!!! Navratan means “9 gems” , and this dish has mughlai roots, so I am guessing it gets its name from the ingredients that go in to making the dish.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Cauliflower Florettes.

1 Cup Potatoes Cooked.

1 Cup Baby Corn.

1/2 Cup Peas.

1/2 Cup Corn.

1 Medium Onion.

1 Medium Tomato.

1 CUp Milk.( Or 1/2 Cup Milk + 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk for richness)

Spices:

3-4 Cloves.

1 Bay Leaf.

1 Tsp Cardamom Powdered.

1/4 Cup Cashews.

1/4 Cup Raisins.

1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1/2 Tsp Punjabi Garam Masala.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric.

2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste.

1 Tsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Kasuri Methi.

PREPARATION:

  • Cube all the vegetables in to slightly bigger cubes say and all of them in to a stock pot. Add a little salt and let them slowly boil together. When they are done drain the vegetables but save the water in which the veggies are cooked. Set aside.
  • In a flat bottomed kadai add 2 tsp of oil and when its hot season it with a dash of cumin seeds., When the seeds have spluttered, add the roughly chopped onions and follow up with ginger garlic paste, raisins, cashews, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom powder. Cover and cook in medium low heat until the nuts and the onions have browned. Now add the diced tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Slowly add the reserved water which was used to cook the veggies and let this deglaze the kadai and remove all the spices sticking to the pan.
  • Switch off  the heat in another 3-4 minutes and set aside. Transfer to a mixer jar and puree to a smooth paste adding the 1/2 cup of milk.
  • To this add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and punjabi garam masala and pulse it for a few more seconds.
  • Take the same kadai and add a spoon of oil and season with jeera. Now add the cooked veggies and give it a quick swirl.
  • Add the pureed paste and to this addd the spoon of sugar and mix it well.
  • Adjust the consistency, add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk ( or coconut milk) check salt and  wait until it starts boiling. Add crushed kasuri methi.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with Butter Naan / Phulkas.
  • I served mine with Cucumber Raitha and a cup of fresh sweet corn hashed with a pinch of chat masala and kala namak!
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Party Foods – Rajma Masala ( Kidney Bean simmered in a tomato onion gravy with aromatic whole spices)

Rajma Masala is a favourite punjabi side dish and one that my sister S loves! I remember my aunt making it and she would love to have it with rotis or chawal! For me its a delicacy that I make in a large pot and stock for some time.  Its one of those side dishes that can be easily multiplied and served for a large party of guests. It can be made ahead and frozen for at least a month or two. In fact Rajma Masala tastes delicious the day after its been made. I guess all the flavours in the curry marinate overnight and understand each other very well by the next morning! My version is influenced by my favourite chef Sanjeev Kapoor. A wonderful healthy colourful gravy packed with protien and flavour!

INGREDIENTS:

Red Kidney Beans – 2 Cups.

Tomato Puree fro 5  Medium Tomatoes.

1  Large Onion finely chopped  by hand or in food processor.

2  Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste.

1  Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder.

1  Tsp Kasuri Methi Powder.

2  Tsp Rajma Masala Powder.

2  Tsp Dhania Powder.

1  Tsp Cumin Powder.

1/2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder.

Whole Spices for Seasoning:

1 Bay Leaf.

1 Tsp Cardamom Powdered.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak the red kidney beans (Rajma) for about 5-8 hours and cook in the pressure cooker with salt with enoough water to cover the rajma.
  • Wait for 2-3 whistles and then lower the flame for another ten minutes and switch off the heat.
  • Drain the rajma water but save it as it serves as a base for the rajma gravy.  Sightly mash the rajma with the back of a ladle and set aside.
  • In a pan add 1 spoon of butter  and when it melts add the seasonings – Jeera, Bay Leaves and Cardamom Powder.
  • Allow to saute for a few minutes and then add the finely chopped onions.
  • Let them slowly brown in a couple minutes and then add the ginger garlic paste.
  • Any punjabi cooking requires the onions and the ginger garlic paste to almost brown and cook out.
  • When this happens, add the pureed tomatoes and mix in.
  • Follow up with split green chillies, dhania powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and rajma masala.
  • Add a blob of butter and let it cook down until the raw smell is completely gone.
  • Add some rajma water until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with Parathas or Rotis.
Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Gobi Kali Mirch/ Cauliflower Pepper Chettinadu (Cauliflower marinated in buttermilk and spices cooked to perfection with fresh black pepper!)

I have this relationship with the cauliflower – I love this cruciferous vegetable because of its texture and versatlity. Its packed with anti oxidants and high with anti-inflammatory properties thats its the most recommended vegetable for cancer prevention! I use it so many different ways in parathas, well hidden in my Corn Florentine, meaty and delicious in Gobhi Shimla Mirch Subzi, processed and mixed in my Gobhi Parathas, and of course in my favourite Chettinadu Cauliflower Masal Dosa. I still had the search for that punch filled cauliflower gravy and I chanced upon Ajoy Joshi`s website and fell for this Chettinadu Pepper Chicken. Out came the chicken and got replaced with fresh cauliflower florettes! The only difference is possibly in the creaminess of this gravy and that I know can well be redressed!  I loved the delicious interplay of the red chilli and the pepper and the distinct flavours of the buttermilk marinade and all simple flavours married within!!! Its food for fit for the kings…its as good as it gets.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cauliflower cut in to medium sized florets.

1 Medium Onion chopped fine.

1 Ripe Vine Tomato chopped fine.

1 Cup buttermilk to marinate.

Curry Leaves.

1 1/2 Tbsp of Ginger Paste + Garlic Paste. – Please use fresh ingredients.

Salt to taste.

1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust depending on spice level)

1 Tsp Turmeric Powder.

2 Tbsp  Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Ground Pepper.

Seasoning:

1 Inch Cinnamon.

8 Green Cardamom Pods roughly crushed.

1 Tsp Whole Pepper.

4 Cloves.

1 Tsp Hing.

Ingredients for Garnish:

1 Tsp Whole Black Pepper.

2 Tsp Garlic Flakes.

6-7 Torn Curry Leaves.

Bunch of Torn Coriander Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Marinate the cauliflower florettes in the buttermilk and allow to sit until the sauce is prepared.
  • In a kadai add 2 tsp oil and 2 spoons of  butter and allow to melt.
  • Add the seasonings –  whole peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and stir until fragrant.
  • Stir in the hing and immediately the onions and around 7-8 curry leaves.
  • Add salt and crushed pepper powder and saute well until the onions turn pink and sweat and the curry leaves become transparent.
  • Now stir in ginger and garlic paste and the dry powders – red chilli powder, turmeric powder and dhania powder and mix them all in.
  • Now the ingredients in the kadai turn in to a beautiful orangeish amber and dance around with the spices already added.
  • To this flavourful mix, add in t he chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes turn soft.
  • At this point, pour out the cauliflower marinade in to the kadai slowly and stir it in.
  • You will watch the colours turning in to a beautiful golden yellow at this point.
  • Close the kadai and keep on medium heat to cook the cauliflowers. At the same time, care should be taken that the buttermilk does not curdle.
  • When you feel that the cauliflower has cooked enough open the lid and allow to simmer for a few more minutes.
  • In a mortar, add the whole peppercorns, garlic flakes/garlic,a spoon of oil,  curry leaves and cilantro and give it a rough mix.
  • Add this to the kadai and close the lid and allow the flavours to marry. Garnish some more with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve hot with fragrant Peas Pulav or Phulkas.