Category Archives: Gravy Curries

Capsicum / Bell Pepper Curry

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Today from the Masalamagic kitchen, I would like to share with you a very flavorful and delicious but yet simple Capsicum or Bell Pepper Curry.
If you are a family that eats lots of rotis or chapatis then the question is always “What Side dish?” Making the same side over and over again also does not cut it! My family gets edgy every time i make the same or similar curry. I am always on the lookout for simple side dishes. Time is of the essence especially on a busy weekday morning, so the simpler the curry the better it is 🙂

This curry requires minimum prep time and will be ready in less than 10 minutes 🙂

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You will need:
2 Capsicum or Green Bell Pepper – Wash and chop into cubes. I usually get rid of the seeds in the middle, you can use them too if you like.
1 Large tomato – Wash, chop into rough cubes and coarse puree in a blender (just 1 round).
2 tbsp Roasted Peanuts – Dry roast 2 tbsp peanuts on a pan until golden brown, cool and remove the peel. Coarse grind into a dry coarse powder.
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Curry Powder or Sambar Powder
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp or 1 small piece Jaggery
1 tbsp Oil
Cumin, Mustard seeds and hing for seasoning

Method:
1. Prep the peanuts, Tomato and capsicum as mentioned above. Keep everything ready.
2. In a pan, heat the oil. Add the hing, cumin and mustard seeds. Allow the mustard to splutter.
3. Add the chopped capsicum and turmeric powder. Mix well.
4. Then add the Sambar powder or curry powder and salt. Mix well.
5. Add about 1/2 cup water and pureed tomato , mix and cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes.
6. Allow the gravy to thicken a bit. Then add the Peanut powder and Jaggery and mix well.
7. Serve hot with Rotis or Rice.

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Thanks for stopping by 🙂

 

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Memories and melt in the mouth Aloo Ki Subzi (Potato Curry)

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The two things that this Aloo subzi reminds me off every time I make it is – Mathura and Sai Baba.
I feel blessed to have been able to live in the Delhi NCR area for a short few years. If you know India, then no two regions are the same. You begin to appreciate the diversity and culture of different parts of India only when you move out of home (read comfort zone). That said, South India and North India are like South and North pole. You will notice the diverse culture, languages, food, people etc. and truly wonder at how a land can be as eclectic and yet so beautifully different! I have had the good fortune of visiting Mathura a couple of times. Of course, Mathura not only stands for Sree Krishna and all the wonderful folklore and stories, Mathura also stands for its unique cuisine. If you have been to Mathura and missed the Kachori and Aloo Sabzi then you have not truly seen Mathura the way it should have been. Yummy hot kachoris dunked in a thin Potato gravy served in handmade little bowls, served on the streets of Mathura or even in the Mathura Railway station is something to die for!
The next part of my story is a personal story I would like to share. Back in those days, every Thursday was “Fasting” day for me in an effort to please Sai Baba, whom I ardently admire and believe in for his simplicity and teachings. Of course, Sai Baba never asks his devotees to fast. But to me fasting or “Vrat” in Hindi, is more of a self control technique helping the “faster”/person to achieve a level of self control and abstinence from the most notorious of our senses which is “Taste”. So going back to my story, I would fast diligently every Thursday through the day with surviving on water and in the evening would stop by our local Sai Mandir on my way home. After the evening Aarti and prayers, i would stand in this long line to receive “Prasad”. And look forward to that prasad every thursday, since that was my only meal of the day and a way to break my fast. And every thursday, Sai Baba offered me 2 Puris with a generous helping of vrat waali “Aloo ki Sabzi” much like the Mathura waali Aloo ki sabzi. Trust me, after a long day, these two puris and the delicious aloo ki sabzi felt divine and worth the long wait through the day and in the line.
So what is this special “Aloo ki sabzi all about”. This is special because it is mostly made in North India surely around Navratri since it does not contain Onion or Garlic which are considered Rajasic foods according to Ayurveda causing an imbalance in your body.
Even though i have modified and updated my recipe over the years a little to suit our needs, the original recipe comes from a neighbor friend of mine who is originally from Mathura. She freely shared recipes and was very kind to send us samples as well 🙂

Delicious Vrat waali Aloo ki Sabzi - Potato Curry

Delicious Vrat waali Aloo ki Sabzi – Potato Curry

You will need:
4 to 5 Medium sized Potatoes
1 small handful of chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (I use a mix of red chilli and dhaniya powder)
1/2 tsp Dhaniya/Coriander Powder
Salt to taste
Hing or Asafoetida
1 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Ghee
a few bay leaves

For the dry Garam Masala:
2 tsp Coriander seeds/Dhaniya seeds
1/4 tsp Kala Namak / Black Salt
1/4 tsp Amchur or Dry Mango Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds or Jeera
1/4 tsp Black pepper
3 to 4 Cardamom (Green cardamom)
2 Badi Elaichi (Black cardamom) – not shown here because i ran out
1/2 tsp Cloves
2 big pieces Cinnamom
a few strands dagad phool/ black stone flower(optional)

Whole Masala Ingredients

Whole Masala Ingredients

Combine all of the above and dry grind into a coarse powder in a mixer or food processor.

Method for Aloo Sabzi:
1. Wash and chop the Potatoes into halves. Pressure cook with enough water for about 2 whistles. Cool, peel and mash roughly.

DSC_05772. The specialty of this dish is that it is typically made in a huge iron wok or kadai and cooked in low heat to perfection. The iron lends its a taste and flavor that is typical to this dish. Here I have used my cast iron pan, that i treasure and keep well seasoned. Heat oil in this iron pan. Season with hing and cumin seeds/jeera.

DSC_05793. Add the bay leaves, fry for a minute. Then add the boiled, mashed potatoes. Add the turmeric powder and the ground garam masala powder. Mix well and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

DSC_0580DSC_05834. Add about 2 cups of water and salt to taste. Mix gently and evenly.

DSC_0585DSC_05865. Allow to cook in low to medium flame in an open pan for about 10 minutes. Add more water if needed. The consistency of this curry is thin to semi thick. You may add water to bring it to the consistency you prefer.

DSC_05876. Add chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and mix well.

DSC_0588DSC_05897. Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat the ghee for seasoning(tadka/chounk). When the ghee is hot, add the cumin seeds, one dry red chilli and 1 to 1.5 tsp of the Red chilli and dhaniya powder. Mix well and pour on top of the boiling curry.

DSC_05908. Mix well and Serve hot.

Delicious Vrat waali Aloo ki Sabzi - Potato Curry

Delicious Vrat waali Aloo ki Sabzi – Potato Curry

9. This is best served with Urad Kachoris or Khasta Kachoris. The Kachoris call for a post on their own 🙂
Here I have served this delicious Aloo ki sabzi with Nachni and Juwar ki Puris – Puris made with a mix of Nachni/ Ragi (Finger millet) and Juwar (Jowar/ Sorghum) Flours.
Vrat waala food for Navratri is ready!!

Vrat waali Aloo/Mathura Ki Aloo Sabzi served with Nachni Puris

Vrat waali Aloo/Mathura Ki Aloo Sabzi served with Nachni Puris

Just one more bite please!!

Just one more bite please!!

Anyway you eat it, this is delicious!

Anyway you eat it, this is delicious!

Hope you enjoyed my stories and post. Thank you for stopping by!!

Moong Spinach Curry and a Healthy meal

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We eat Rotis/chapathis in my home on a daily basis. It is our staple dinner on most nights. Over the years to make it more interesting and to ensure my kids eat their dinner well, I have learnt and innovated so many side dishes or curries. I am sure you would agree with me that an interesting or flavorful sabji would make your chapathi dinner delicious 🙂

This curry is one such innovation in my kitchen. It is an interesting blend of whole moong or whole mung beans, spinach and spices. I typically use Chinese Spinach also Amaranth Greens or “Thotakura” / “Dantina Soppu” / “Tandulto” / “Thandu Keerai”. But you can also use regular spinach/palak and this curry will taste just as good.

Delicious Moong Spinach Sabji

Delicious Moong Spinach Sabji

You will need:
1 cup Whole Green Moong
1 bunch Amaranth Greens or Chinese Spinach – Wash and chop fine
1 Medium Onion – Chop fine
1 Medium Tomato – Chop into cubes
1 small piece ginger – grated
1 Garlic – grated (optional)
3 green chillies – Chopped lengthwise
1 tsp Curry Powder or Sambar Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)
Salt to taste
To Season: Oil, Hing, Mustard seeds, cumin seeds

Method:
1. In a microwave safe dish, place the whole green moong and microwave for 1 minute until slightly roasted. Wash. Place in a pressure cooker or pressure pan, add enough water and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and cook for 3 to 4 whistles. Cool
2. Meanwhile chop all veggies and keep aside.
3. In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing/asafoetida. Allow to splutter.
4. Add the chopped onions, green chillies and grated ginger-garlic and saute until the onions are golden brown.
5. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and a pinch of salt and saute well until tomatoes are mushy.
6.To this add the chopped spinach, curry powder or sambar powder and saute. Then add about 1 cup water and cook covered until the spinach is cooked for about 8 to 10 minutes.
7. Then add the cooked whole green moong. Add any moong water also. Do not discard.
8. Add salt if needed and allow to cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the curry comes together.
9. Add grated coconut and mix well.
10. Serve hot with Rotis.

Delicious and flavorful whole moong and spinach curry served with Rotis

Delicious and flavorful whole green moong and spinach curry served with Rotis

And a complete meal :-) Rotis with Whole moong and spinach curry and an asian vegetable salad for lunch

And a complete meal 🙂 Rotis with Whole moong and spinach curry and an asian vegetable salad for lunch

Thank you for stopping by!

A DIY Project and Mango Dal

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I am so excited about this post..last week I found M Khan of unkhanny.com – a lovely blog with wonderful recipes, some great myths debunked straight from the Dr.’s mouth, lovely beauty facts and tips and some awesome DIY ideas!! I so fell in love with this DIY idea of hers that I had to try it right away!!!

Dal to go...

Dal to go…

I stopped by the store yesterday to pick up some Mason jars and had a fun time putting together this great Dal To Go Gift idea 🙂 I did improvise a bit with the dal recipe itself from M Khan’s recipe… I added in the jar my signature home made Chilli masala powder, some home made cumin powder, amchur and turmeric powder. I toasted the seasoning ingredients as she has suggested and love that all one has to now do it to add the ingredients of the jar in a pressure cooker, add some salt and ghee for good measure 🙂 and cook until soft and of course serve hot!!

Some pictures from my DIY Photoshoot 😉 A handwritten recipe also goes out with each jar…..Huh…whom do I gift it to now?? 🙂

Thank you M Khan for this great idea!!

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To continue the Dal Saga I am going to share with you today a Dal recipe from my kitchen..it is a South Indian Dal recipe, more specifically an Andhra dal recipe called “Mamidikaya Pappu” or “Mango Dal”..With the onset of summer raw mangoes in all forms and sizes are now available in the market in India..

The Mango Market and season in full swing Photo Courtesy: thetimesofindia.com

The Mango Market and season in full swing
Photo Courtesy: thetimesofindia.com

Yummy Mangoes Photo Courtesy: Internet

Yummy Mangoes
Photo Courtesy: Internet

I miss the vibrant markets of India, the abundance of vegetables and fruits and the hot summers.. But I am not one to fret over it 🙂 I do enjoy my local groceries and whole foods market here in the US. I was lucky to find some raw mangoes in our Indian store here in the US..

Green Raw Mango

Green Raw Mango

I saved one of these babies to make my mom’s signature Mango Thokku. The other I used up for the Mango Dal below…

You will need:

Ingredients for Mango Dal

Ingredients for Mango Dal

1 Cup Toor Dal
3/4th Raw Mango – Peel and cube, discard the large seed
1 Large tomato – Chop roughly
5 Green chillies – Slit lengthwise
2 cloves Garlic – Peel
1/4 Onion – Chop
Turmeric Powder

Combine all of the above in a pressure pan or pressure cooker. Add about 3 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Allow the pressure from the cooker to cool.
Open the lids, Use a large ladle, masher or a hand blender to slightly mash the dal. If the dal is too thick you may add about 1/2 cup water. Add salt to taste and boil uncovered for 5 minutes.

Delicious Mango Dal

Delicious Mango Dal

Season with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, dry red chillies, some chopped garlic and some hing.You may also add chopped onions for seasoning.

Serve Mango Dal with Hot Rice, Papad and Pickle...

Serve Mango Dal with Hot Rice, Papad and Pickle…

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Serve hot with rice, papad and pickle..or just plain with hot steaming rice 🙂
Hope you enjoyed my post! Thanks for stopping by…

Tomato Onion Curry

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In an effort to post more frequently, I am dipping into my treasure of pictures to post on a simple dish from Karnataka – Tomato Onion Curry also called Tomato Onion Gojju. This recipe is quick, easy to make and great for days when you have no time to spend in the kitchen but equally delicious that is typically served with roti/chapatis.

Delicious and quick Tomato Onion Gojju served with hot rotis and a quick Tender Cucumber Salad

Delicious and quick Tomato Onion Gojju served with hot rotis and a quick Tender Cucumber Salad

You will need:

2 Large Tomatoes – Chop into small cubes
1 Medium Onion – Chop into small cubes
1 Green chilli – Chop lengthwise
1 1/2 tsp Sambar Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 small piece jaggery
1 tbsp grated coconut for garnishing (optional)
Cilantro – Chopped for garnishing
Salt to taste

For Seasoning:
1 tbsp Oil
Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Urad dal
Curry Leaves
Hing or Asafoetida
Method:
1. Chop the Onion, Tomatoes and Green chilli.
2. In a pan, heat the oil. Season with mustard seeds. Allow to splutter. Add the urad dal and hing. Allow the dal to turn golden brown and then add the curry leaves.Saute.
3. Add the chopped green chilli and onions. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until onions turn golden brown. Then add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
4. Saute for a few minutes until the tomatoes are mushy. Then add the sambar powder and mix well. Saute for a minute or so.
5. Add about 1/2 cup of water and cover with a lid. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes on a medium flame. Don’t allow all water to evaporate. If it seems dry, add about 1/4 cup of water again. The curry should be a semi-gravy.
6. Add the jaggery and grated coconut and mix well. Allow to cook for a minute or so.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rotis.

 

Whole Moong Curry and Whole Tuvar Sambar

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Blogging is tough work.. 🙂 I spent a lot of my weekend cooking, food styling and taking pictures! And of course I had fun doing it. Except when you spend all that time doing the stuff you love, the regular mundane chores never get done 😛
However, I never did get to upload my pictures so my big post with exciting stuff has to wait.

For today, I am going to dip into my treasure of saved pictures and share two simple recipes…

The first one is – Whole Moong Curry. This is a Karnataka style gravy curry recipe and is called “Hesar kaalu Gojju” – Hesar Kaalu the Kannada term for Whole Mung Beans or Whole Moong; Gojju is typically any gravy dish made with a combination of tomato, tamarind and any vegetable or beans/lentils. I learnt how to make this dish from my mother-in-law whose predominant style of cooking is Karanataka Cuisine. It is regular fare in my home just because I keep running out of ideas for what to serve and also the fact that it is a wholesome dish with the Moong beans providing the much needed protein and that the dish is a perfect compliment to both rice and roti.

Whole Moong Curry

Whole Moong Curry

You will need:
1 cup Whole Moong/ Whole Mung beans
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

To be ground into a Paste:

Ingredients to be ground into paste

Ingredients to be ground into paste

1/2 cup grated coconut
1 Small tomato or 1/2 large tomato – Chopped roughly
a few sprigs of fresh Cilantro/Coriander leaves
1 small Garlic (optional)
1/2 small onion – Chopped roughly
2 1/2 tsp Red Chilli and Dhaniya powder (equal proportion)

Combine all of the above raw with 1/2 cup water and grind to a smooth paste.

For Seasoning:
2 tsp Oil
Asafoetida or Hing – a pinch
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 Onion – Chopped fine
a few curry leaves

Method:

1. Roast the Moong in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Wash and combine with 3 cups of water and the turmeric powder and pressure cook in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles.
2. Alternatively, you may soak the moong overnight and pressure cook next day for just 1 whistle. I prefer the method in step 1, because I always forget to soak 🙂
3. Grind everything mentioned above for the paste and keep aside.
4. Combine the cooked Moong and ground paste. Do not discard the water from the cooked beans, use that water also.
5. Add salt and enough water to make it a semi liquid consistency and boil on stove top for 5 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, heat a small pan for seasoning. Add the oil, season with mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves. Allow the mustard to splutter, add the chopped onions and fry until golden brown. Add the seasoning to the above cooked gravy and mix well.
7. Serve hot with Rotis and/or Rice.

Delicious and Wholesome Whole Moong Curry served with Rotis and Rice

Delicious and Wholesome Whole Moong Curry served with Rotis and Rice

The second recipe for today is – Whole Tuvar Sambar. Again, this is a Karnataka style Sambar or Huli as it is called in Kannada. Wholesome, simple and very tasty this is great for when you run out of veggies. Whole Tuvar or Pigeon Peas as it is called is available in bean pods in India. Here in the US we are not as lucky to get the fresh variety. It is available as “Tuvar Liliva” in the frozen section and is as close as it can get to the fresh variety.

Tuvar Lilva or Fresh Pigeon Peas

Tuvar Lilva or Fresh Pigeon Peas

You will need:
2 cups Whole Tuvar
1/2 cup Toor Dal
1 small piece garlic (optional)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Large tomato – Chopped into cubes
1 small piece tamarind soaked in water for 10 minutes

Combine the above in a pressure cooker with about 2 to 3 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Allow the pressure to cool.

Salt as needed
1 1/2 tsp Sambar powder

To be ground into Paste:
1/2 cup grated coconut
a few sprigs of fresh Cilantro/Coriander leaves
1 tsp Red Chilli and Dhaniya powder (equal proportion)

For Seasoning:
2 tsp Oil
Asafoetida or Hing – a pinch
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 Onion – Chopped fine
a few curry leaves

Method:
1. In a pan combine the cooked tuvar/dal mixture including the cooked tomatoes and the ground paste. Add salt as needed, sambar powder and allow the mixture to boil for about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat a small pan for seasoning. Add the oil, season with mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves. Allow the mustard to splutter, add the chopped onions and fry until golden brown. Add the seasoning to the above cooked sambar and mix well.
3. Serve hot with rice. Here below I have served it with cooked Quinoa.

Whole Tuvar Sambar

Whole Tuvar Sambar

Yummy Tuvar Sambar served with Quinoa

Yummy Tuvar Sambar served with Quinoa

Happy cooking 🙂

 

Dinner and a Movie – Series 2

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The movie on the radar for this week was “Listen Amaya”. This movie was recommended to me by a friend a while back but somehow we never got around to watching it. Sometimes when we are looking for a movie to watch, some of these movie suggestions just dont come to mind..until you are out of options and then you suddenly remember!! 🙂

Listen Amaya                      Photo Courtesy: Internet

Listen Amaya Photo Courtesy: Internet

The movie was a pleasant surprise and refreshingly different. And not to mention how bold a topic it was..
“Listen Amaya” is a 2013 Hindi Art movie if I may say, starring Deepti Naval, Farooq Shaikh and Swara Bhaskar (never seen her before and really enjoyed her portrayal of Amaya). Deepti Naval of course is a seasoned favorite actress..she is in a league of actresses that just get better and better with age kinda like aging wine 🙂
Farooq Shaikh, another wonderful actor – I still remember seeing “Noorie” and Umrao Jaan in the good old days!!

The movie explores the complex relationship of a mother and a daughter and the intense emotions when that relationship is threatened by a friendship between the mother and her widowed photgrapher friend “Jazz”.. What i loved about the movie is the old world Delhi charm, the lovely book club cafe that is the venue the story plays out in and the intricate but yet the delicate way emotions are played out by each of the characters… Not giving out much about the movie but encouraging you to watch it if you get a hold of it 🙂 We enjoyed the movie.. it was a perfect Friday night movie.

And what is a movie without food really??? On the menu was “Moogachi Usal”..a side made with Whole green moong – my favorite side dish from the plethora of Maharashtrian dishes.. have I told you I love Maharashtrian food ?? 🙂

Moogachi Usal

Moogachi Usal

I have been following Richa’s recipe for Moogachi Usal for so long now that I can claim it as my own 🙂 You know how sometimes you make a dish long enough that you forget where you actually learnt it from?? Except here I do remember where I first learnt to make it 🙂
No changes to the recipe, just keeping it simple.. served it with roti and salad on the side 🙂

And just as a side note :-), Some blogs that I discovered these past few days:

1. BawanDinesh– Was referred to this blog by a friend. Love the way these guys write!! and boy are they so happy..soemthing about happy people, they spread so much cheer and positivity – happy reading folks 🙂

2. TurmericSaffron – This very beautiful blog about Persian food and stories, resplandant with pictures and experiences!! Written by Azita this blog is a must visit if you are curious about different lives in different parts of the world!

3. Aahaaram – Chanced upon Aruna’s food blog, loved the simple recipes and mouth watering pictures!! Need I say more 🙂