Recipes: Cauliflower and Broccoli Pulao

Since GG started her internship, I have been trying to make more one-pot meals that she can take with her. Some experiments in making one-pot meals are successful or some are a big failure. Today’s recipe is one of those experiments which were successful. Everyone loved it and S who is usually not a big fan of the cauliflower and broccoli combination asked me to make this instead of the usual stir fry I make.

This is a very simple recipe to make and barely took me 10 minutes to prep and put in the rice cooker. If you are making this on the stovetop, it will need a bit more care as you need to keep an eye on the water level.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Pulao

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ½ a head of cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florets
  • ½ a head of broccoli, cut into medium=-sized florets
  • 1 medium-sized onion, halved and sliced finely
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • inch cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp green chilli paste or 1 green chilli, chopped into big pieces
  • 10 pieces of cashew nuts
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 cups water

Method:

  • Wash the basmati rice well till the water runs clear and then soak it in water for 20 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
  • Heat a pan and add the ghee and when the ghee warms, add the cashew nuts and let the nuts become golden brown.
  • At this point, add the cumin seeds and let the seeds pop.
  • Once the cumin seeds pop, add in the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods and saute for a few seconds each.
  • Then add in the green chillies or the chilli paste and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add the chopped and washed cauliflower and broccoli florets and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Once the florets are cooking for a few minutes, add in the washed and drained rice and season with salt. I usually add about 1 tsp of salt for a cup of rice, but this is a personal preference.
  • Transfer the rice mixture to a rice cooker and add 1.5 cups of water and cook until done. If you are using the stovetop, stir once a while until all the water is completely absorbed by the rice and the rice is cooked.
  • Once the rice is done, switch off the stove or rice cooker and let it sit for a while before opening it and fluffing it with a fork.
  • Serve hot with a raita.

Recipes: Sabudana Khichdi

A recipe that instantly takes me back to Mumbai and to a time when I was younger Sabudana Khichdi is a recipe I always associate with my home state of Maharashtra. This recipe is the quintessential fasting recipe and can be found in all restaurants. Made from soaked tapioca pearls or sabudana, it is typically prepared in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. A popular comfort food, it is often served with crunchy roasted peanuts and sautéed with potatoes using spices with a generous squeeze of lemon. It has a chewy texture and takes on the taste of its accompaniments and is known as Sabudana Usal in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Sabudana Khichdi is nearly pure carbohydrate and has very little protein, vitamins, or minerals. The addition of peanuts adds to the protein making it a more balanced meal. It has a high caloric content, due to the quantity of starch and fat present. This makes it a great fasting food.

Sabudana Khichdi

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tapioca pearls or Sabudana
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • ½ cup raw peanuts
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp green chilli paste or 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste

Method:

  • Wash the Sabudana and soak it for about 4-5 hours. This will depend on the type of the pearls with some need less soaking time and some more. Make sure there is water just above the pearls, any more and they will oversoak.
  • While the pearls are soaking, dry roast the raw peanuts till they are crunchy. You will know when it’s done when the skin starts to split and becomes brown. Keep aside.
  • When the peanuts are completely cool, blitz them into a coarse powder. You can also keep about a tbsp of peanuts aside and use them in the khichdi.  
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Make sure they are not too small, but not too large also.
  • Heat the ghee in a wide-bottomed pan and fry the potatoes till they are cooked, but not roasted. Stop when the potatoes start to brown.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, add the salt, sugar and peanut powder to the sabudana and mix gently. Make sure to do the mixing gently and not break the pearls.
  • At this point, add the cumin seeds and let them pop and at this point, add the minced green chillies or chilli paste and cook for a few seconds.
  • Add the soaked sabudana and mix gently. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until the sabudana pearls start becoming translucent. If you are not planning to eat the Khichdi immediately, then switch off the gas just before the pearls start becoming translucent. If it’s cooked longer, the pearls will start to clump and become lumpy.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Recipes: Methi Palak Dal

I’ve blogged about dals many times previously and here’s another one today. I had some fresh methi leaves and so instead of making it into a sabzi or kneading it into a dough for methi parathas, I thought of adding it to a dal with some fresh spinach. The result was a super yummy dal that kept well even when we had it the next day.

Methi and Palak Dal

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of fresh methi or fenugreek leaves, plucked, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh palak or spinach, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 cup yellow moong dal, washed and soaked in water for 15-20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp green chilli paste or 1 tbsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Soak the chopped spinach and methi in some water so that any dirt gets to the bottom. Wash it well and keep it aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat the ghee and oil and when warm, add the cumin seeds. Let the seeds pop and then add the garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  • Then add the minced garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add the finely chopped onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • When the onions are translucent, add the finely chopped tomatoes and some salt and let the onions cook.
  • When the tomatoes start to turn mushy and are fully cooked, add in the chopped greens and saute till the greens start to wilt.
  • At this point, add in the soaked dal and add salt, jaggery, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala.
  • Add in water to cover the dal, close the cooker and cook it for three whistles. If you are cooking on a stovetop, cook until the dal is completely cooked and the dal is completely dissolved.
  • Open the pressure cooker and mash the dal and greens together and switch on the flame again
  • Adjust seasonings and add water to bring it to the consistency you desire and when you are satisfied with the taste and consistency, switch off the flame and add the lemon juice.
  • Serve hot with rice or rotis or any Indian flatbread.

Recipes: Paneer Butter Masala

A restaurant favourite, Paneer Butter Masala is a staple in pretty much every Indian restaurant, even those not serving north Indian food. A mild but creamy dish made with lots of butter and ghee with onions, tomatoes and cream and paneer is the star of the show.

I had been thinking about making this for a while and finally made it a couple of weeks back. But please do not stint on the liberal use of ghee and butter, so this is something you can make for a special occasion or when you have guests over. You can also make the gravy ahead of time and freeze it. I also made a double batch of the gravy, froze some and make a mixed veg curry with uit which was equally yummy. Everyone loved the recipe so much I already got requests to make it again.

Paneer Butter Masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen paneer, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and then drained
  • 3 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 5-6 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 200 ml cooking cream
  • 1 bulb of garlic, peeled
  • inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 15-20 pieces of cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes and drained
  • 4-5 tbsp ghee
  • 3-4 tbsp butter
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 3-4 fresh or dried red chillies
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped to garnish

Method:

  • Heat half the butter and ghee in a pan and when the butter melts add in the cloves and cardamom pods and saute for a few seconds.
  • Then add in the cumin seeds, onions, garlic, red chillies and ginger, sauteing for a few seconds before you add the next ingredient.
  • When the onions start becoming translucent, add in the cashew nuts and let the nuts start to soften.
  • Then add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt and let the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are completely cooked and mushy. Remove from the flame and keep aside to cool completely.
  • Once this mixture is completely cool, blend to a fine paste, adding water as needed. Make sure the paste is completely fine and there are no bits of anything left. Use a strainer if needed otherwise, the recipe will not be restaurant quality. Keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat the balance ghee and butter and pour the tomato paste into the pan. Season with salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and stir well. This mixture will splutter a lot, so make sure you cover the pan and let the tomato paste, stirring at intervals.
  • When the tomato paste starts leaving oil on the sides, add in the cooking cream and crush the kasuri methi in the palms of your hand and sprinkle over the gravy. Add a bit of water to thin the gravy if needed.
  • Add the paneer cubes and gently stir so the paneer is completely covered by the gravy. Gently mix everything so the paneer pieces do not break.
  • Cook on low to medium heat for 5-7 minutes and then switch off the flame.
  • Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with jeera rice, rotis or any Indian flatbread.

Recipes: Phirni

I like to think of Phirni as a sophisticated cousin of the Payasam. Also known as Kheer, Kheeri, Payesh, Payox, Payasam, Phirni is a sweet dish and a type of wet pudding, usually made by boiling milk, sugar or jaggery, and rice, although rice is sometimes substituted with dals, tapioca or vermicelli. It is typically flavoured with desiccated coconut, cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashews, pistachios, almonds, or other dry fruits and nuts and is typically served as a dessert. The word kheer is derived from the Sanskrit word for milk, ksheer and is also the archaic name for sweet rice pudding. The difference as I see between kheer or payasam and phirni is that payasam has whole rice grains cooked in it while Phirni has powdered rice, usually, Basmati added to it. Tasting great both hot and cold, we prefer it cold, but this is a personal preference.

Phirni

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup basmati rice
  • 1-litre full cream milk
  • ½ cup sugar or as required
  • 10 to 12 almonds, blanched and peeled, keep about a tbsp for garnishing
  • 10 to 12 pistachios, blanched and peeled, keep about a tbsp for garnishing
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • A large pinch of saffron strands
  • 2 tsp rose water

Method:

  • Rinse the basmati rice a couple of times in water. Drain the water and dry the rice by spreading them on a tray or plate. Let the rice dry completely and keep it aside.
  • Grind the rice in a grinder till the consistency resembles fine semolina or couscous and keep the ground rice aside.
  • In a small bowl, add the nuts, add boiling water to it and keep aside for about 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, drain the water and let the nuts cool slightly. Peel the nuts and slice or chop them finely and keep them aside. Keep aside about 1 tbsp each of the almonds and pistachios for the garnish.
  • Heat milk in a thick-bottomed broad pan.
  • When the milk starts to boil, take 1 tbsp of the milk into a small bowl, add in the saffron strands and stir it until the saffron dissolves and the milk becomes a lovely orange colour.
  • Let the milk in the pan reach a rolling boil, lower the heat and add the ground rice. Stir and add the sugar.
  • Cook the ground rice in the milk on low to medium heat on the pan with the pan uncovered and keep stirring at intervals so that the milk is completely lump-free.
  • Add In the cardamom powder, almonds, pistachios, cardamom powder and saffron-infused milk.
  • Stir and cook for another five minutes, or a bit more until the Phirni thickens and the rice granules are softened and cooked completely.
  • Switch off the flame and drizzle the rose water.
  • Garnish it with the reserved chopped nuts and cover tightly and let the Phirni cool down.
  • Once the Phirni is cool, refrigerate until it becomes cold and serve cold as a dessert. It should stay for 2-3 days in the fridge, but I doubt it will last that long!