Showing posts with label North Indian Specialities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Indian Specialities. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 4

Lauki Kofta Gravy or Bottlegourd Dumpling Curry

Bottle gourd is such a healthy vegetable: it helps digestion, it cools the body, it is beneficial to skin and is mainly sought-after for weight loss.  But I have never heard anyone call it a favourite veggie; in my mom-in-law’s home they don’t even include it in anyway. When we had Kundan’s cousin for lunch, I wanted to try this lauki kofta curry as I thought that’s a cheering way to feed bottle gourd to people who abhor it on plate. I’m not sure how far my guests or Kundan liked it but our maid appreciated it pretty much.

Serves:  4

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes


1.      Bottle gourd – 1 small
2.    Gram flour – 3 tbsp
3.    Red chili powder – 2 tsp
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Lemon – 1
6.    Oil as required
7.     Cinnamon – 2 “ piece
8.    Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
9.    Onion – 1 large
10.  Tomato – 4
11.   Coriander powder – 1 tsp
12. Cumin powder – ¼ tsp
13. Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
14. Ginger garlic paste – ½ tsp
15.  Almonds – 6-10 no.
16. Coriander – 2 tbsp chopped


Step 1: Soak almonds in hot water.

Step 2: Peel and grate the bottle gourd into fine shreds [I did a mistake by making thick shreds; it made the kofta chewy even after cooking]. Add 2 pinches of salt and leave aside for 30 minutes after which you need to squeeze out the juice (save it for gravy) and take it in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: To the grated bottled gourd, add gram flour, ½ tsp of chili powder, juice of half a lemon, salt and mix well. Add more flour if required, roll into 2” balls and deep fry them until golden brown.

Step 4: For tomato gravy: grind the tomato and soaked almonds into smooth paste.

Step 5: Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, splutter cumin seeds, add cinnamon and sauté finely chopped onion & ginger garlic paste in it until translucent.

Step 6: Add tomato puree to it and sauté until the oil starts coming out. Add remaining chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, required salt and sauté further for 2 minutes until the raw smell goes off.

Step 7: Add 3 cups of water and let it boil in simmered heat and form thick gravy. It takes around 15 minutes.

Step 8: Transfer the gravy to a serving dish and drop in the crisp koftas; some people like the koftas crisp and some like them soaked in gravy, serve as per preference.

Step 9: Serve garnished with fresh coriander along with roti/ naan.


* Substitute cashew nuts for almonds if you wish the gravy to be creamy.

Tuesday, August 27

Baingan Bartha

Baingan is Brinjal and this dish is more like a ‘kathirikai masiyal’ that we’ve in south India. Here we like to eat it with steamed rice while in north it is preferred with rotis mainly. Traditionally for Baigan ka bartha, large eggplants are chosen and charred on stove before the skin is peeled to prepare bartha as I din’t get large ones I just chopped them fine and used in the recipe. This is so flavourful and totally different in texture from other Brinjal recipes and so even people who detest Brinjal would like to try it.

Serves:  3

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes


1.      Brinjal large – 1 or small -4
2.    Tomato large – 1
3.    Onion medium – 1
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Oil – 1 tbsp
6.    Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
7.     Asafoetida – 1 pinch
8.    Coriander powder – 1 tsp
9.    Chili powder – 1 tsp
10. Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp chopped


Step 1: Char the large brinjal directly on stove on all sides. Cool it, wash, peel the skin and slit to check for worms and mash it with masher chop if using small ones.

Step 2: Alternatively chop the small brinjals into small cubes as I have done.

Step 3: Heat oil in a tawa, temper with cumin seeds and asafoetida.

Step 4: Sauté with it finely chopped onions then add coriander, chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt in that order. 

Step 5: Add little water if required and let it get cooked. Add chopped brinjal if using small ones and mash it using potato masher.

Step 6: Else when done add the mashed large brinjal to it and stir well.

Step 7: Serve with rice/ rotis.

Thursday, June 27

Vendhya Pathartham

This is a very noble recipe that my akkama, paternal grandma had learnt from a north Indian Jain cum neighbour. I have never seen anybody not falling for it once tried; be it for taste, health, medicinal values, and simplicity of making or versatility of the dish. Through this recipe, it has never been difficult for us to consume good amounts of fenugreek which otherwise was not possible.

Serves: 3

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1.     Fenugreek Sprouted – 1cup
2.     Curds – 1 ½ cups
3.     Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
4.     Fennel seed powder – 1 tsp
5.     Carom seeds – ½ tsp
6.     Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
7.     Chili powder – 1 tsp
8.     Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
9.     Asafoetida – 1 pinch
10.            Salt to taste
11.             Ghee – 1 tsp (optional)
12.            Oil – 3 tbsp

Step 1: Cook the sprouted fenugreek seeds until soft with some turmeric and salt. Drain off the excess water if any.

Step 2: Heat oil & ghee in a pan and when hot, simmer before adding all dry ingredients. The spices tend to release beautiful aroma on frying, be sure that you don’t burn the spices. It kind of foams the oil in the right temperature.

Step 3: Now add the cooked fenugreek and mix to coat masala over it. Adjust salt and cook for a couple of minutes before turning off the heat.

Step 4: Once the dish comes to normal temperature, add fresh curds to it and mix well. Add more salt if required.

Step 5: Serve with steamed rice or rotis.


*My grandma does not sprout for religious reasons but I do for health reasons. So you can do it the way you like. I personally feel, after sprouting the bitterness of fenugreek is less.

*You can soak, sprout, cook and use fenugreek or directly cook for a little longer time or if it is sprouted, you can also cook in the masala directly by covering for longer time (it is instant but sometimes it tastes bitter). My grandma explored all possible ways and so have tasted; I’ve written the best way I liked.

Tuesday, June 11

Papad Ki Sabji

I had learnt this recipe from a TV show and tried it recently when I ran short of vegetables at home. This is a simple, quick and tasty side dish ideal for phulkas. These kinds of recipes using papads or salted and sun-dried vegetable preparations originate from Rajastan where fresh vegetables are less available due to their climatic conditions and landscape. They are unique in taste and is slightly greasy.

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: Nil

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


1.     Pepper papad – 4
2.     Curd – 2 cup
3.     Oil – 2 tbsp
4.     Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
5.     Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
6.     Chilli powder – 1 tsp
7.     Garam masala – ½ tsp
8.     Turmeric – 1 pinch


Step 1: Stack the papads one above the other and fold it twice to break into even quadrants. Shallow fry the papads in two tablespoon of oil and keep aside.

Step 2: In the same oil along a dash of ghee (optional), add cumin seeds, once it crackles add ginger garlic paste and sauté well.
Step 3: Add chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and then beaten curd.
Step 4: Pour some water and while it comes to boil, add broken papads and garnish with coriander. Turn off heat.

Step 5: Serve hot with phulkas.

Sunday, May 19

Aval Upma/ Red Poha

I usually buy only red aval or red poha for they are healthy and colorful. For some reason Kundan quite likes poha, may be for its texture is soft and slightly chewy. Though it is ideal for breakfast, we have it for dinner at least once in a fortnight. I try minor variations to it one of which I share here. Although I’ve had it from my mom several times earlier, the dish had caught my palate when I tasted it in the Punjabi home where I stayed as a paying guest (But they use only white poha).

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: minutes
1.      Red poha – 2 cups
2.    Salt to taste
3.    Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp (optional)
4.    Green chilies – 2
5.     Onion – 1
6.    Carrot diced – ½ cup
7.     Beans chopped – ½ cup
8.    Green peas – ½ cup
9.    Oil – 1 tbsp
10.                        Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
11.  Urad dal – ½ tbsp
12.Bengal gram – ½ tbsp
13.Curry leaves – 1 sprig
14.Asafoetida – 1 pinch
15. Lemon – ½

Step 1: Wash and soak poha with enough salt and turmeric in a bowl for 15 – 30 minutes.
Step 2: Heat oil in a pan splutter mustard seeds, fry urad dal & Bengal gram in it, sprinkle asafoetida, add curry leaves & green chilies and sauté chopped onion in it until translucent.

Step 3: Add the other vegetables and sprinkle enough salt for the veggies and cook them covered until done.

Step 4: Open the lid, squeeze the soaked poha and add to the vegetables and mix well.

Step 5: Cook for 3 more minutes in medium heat and turn off heat.
Step 6: Squeeze juice of half a lemon and serve with plain curds.

Wednesday, February 6

Bombay Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is a spicy chaat originated from Maharashtra and famous in Mumbai but thoroughly relished in all parts of India. Though it technically falls under the chaat category, we can have it happily for a healthy meal slightly mellowing down on the butter and spices; it makes a wholesome meal with plenty of vegetables and bread to compliment.  Pav bhaji initially seemed to have been invented for the mill workers to enable them to finish lunch quicker in a short break’s time; pav (the bun) replaced rotis and side dishes amalgamated into a single curry called bhaji. Bhaji is simply the blend of lot many vegetables and condiments while pav can be made at home or be store bought.

Serves: 2-4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1.      Pav (Buns) – 2 packs of 4
2.    Potato – 2
3.    Tomato – 4
4.    Carrot – 2
5.     Beans – 10
6.    Green peas – 1 cup shelled
7.     Capsicum – 1
8.    Cauliflower florets – 1 cup (if in season)
9.    Onion – 2
10.            Green chili – 1
11.   Lemon – 1
12.Coriander leaves chopped – 2 tbsp
13.Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
14.Pav bhaji masala – 3 tbsp
15. Chili powder – 1 tsp
16.Salt to taste
17. Butter – 3 tbsp
18.Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
19. Sugar – 1 tsp

Step 1: Boil the potatoes, peel and mash them.
Step 2: Chop the carrots, beans, cauliflower roughly and blanch them till soft.

Step 3: Chop finely one large onion, tomatoes, capsicum and green chili.
Step 4: Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a pan and splutter cumin seeds in it; add ginger garlic paste, green chili, onion and sauté until soft. Add tomatoes and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Step 5: Mash the tomatoes and onion with a potato masher and add capsicum to it. Sauté for 3 minutes and again mash the mixture.
Step 6: Add the mashed potatoes and other vegetables into the pan and keep mashing and cooking until all vegetables become unrecognizable (Some people even puree it, but mashing is the typical roadside recipe of bhaji).

Step 6: Now add pav bhaji masala, chili powder, salt as per taste, sugar,  another blob of butter and mix well to cook in simmer for 5 more minutes.

Step 7: Chop coriander, one onion and cut lemon into 8 pieces.

Step 8: Garnish with chopped onion & coriander; serve along with buttered and roasted pav and lemon.

*The bhaji flavour is lifted mainly by the pav bhaji masala and so pick a fresh and good one from store, I use ‘Everest’.
*If pav buns are not available the bhaji goes equally well with normal bread slices; particularly people who avoid maida can relish with wheat breads or multi grain breads.
*Yellow peas can be soaked overnight, boiled and be used in place of green peas; that gives a slightly different taste but that is very good too.
*Variety of other vegetables can be camouflaged by this recipe to feed it to cranky kids and grown-ups; I add beetroot and Brinjal.
*Roadside recipe includes a bit of color to give that red attraction.