Urad Dal Chutney – Side Dish for Idli/Dosa

When you want something that’s a little different from the traditional coconut or coriander chutneys, this Urad Dal Chutney steps in as a perfect side dish for idlis and dosas. Since this is a no coconut chutney, it can be prepared in larger quantities and refrigerated – typically for up to a week. The red chillies and tamarind make a spicy and tangy combination and the dish attains balance. This chutney makes me breeze through a work week if I have idlis or dosas in my breakfast plan.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 15 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 1/4 cup urad dal
  • A small ball of tamarind
  • 3 red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic pod, skin peeled (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil

Urad dal chutney

Urad dal chutney


Method:

  • In a pan, add the oil and a pinch of asafoetida. Stir for a bit and then add the urad dal, red chilli and tamarind. Sauté the dal on a low flame till it turns golden brown. Then switch off the flame and remove this aside on a plate to cool.
  • In the same pan, add the chopped onions and garlic and cook them till the onions turn brown. Then switch off the flame.
  • Now allow both sets of roasted items to cool completely.
  • Then put these items into a mixer. Add salt and grind into a smooth paste. Add water depending on the consistency you want and your chutney is ready.
  • Finally temper the chutney in sesame oil with mustard seeds, urad dal and a single red chilli just before serving.
  • Urad dal chutney

    Urad dal chutney


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Methi Chole Sabzi / Fenugreek Leaves and Chickpeas Sabzi

When you want to pack proteins in your diet, get going with chickpeas. North Indian style curries with chickpeas are perfect for lunchbox recipes. Methi Chole is a popular Punjabi dish that combines fenugreek leaves with chole in a spicy gravy. It’s also a convenient way to include greens in your meal in a tasty manner. The aroma of this curry is amazing and it’ll make you want to eat it as soon as you make it.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 2 cups methi leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods (break and finely powder)
  • 2 green chillies, slit in half along the length
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp aamchur / dry mango powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp oil

Methi Chole

Methi Chole


Method:

  • Wash the fenugreek leaves and chop them roughly.
  • Fenugreek leaves

    Fenugreek leaves

  • Wash and soak the chole in water for 6 – 8 hours.
  • Drain the water and add the chole in a pressure cooker along with 3 tsp of salt and 3 cups water. Pressure cook this for 6 whistles on a medium flame. Then switch off the cooker and let it cool till the pressure is naturally released.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom powder and let them crackle for a few seconds.
  • Now add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and saute them till they are translucent. Add ginger garlic paste to the onions and continue cooking till they are golden brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies at this stage and fry them for 2 mins.
  • Then add the turmeric powder, garam masala powder, dry mango powder and coriander powder. Mix well to combine. Let this paste cook for 2-3 mins.
  • Add the chole along with the cooking water. Taste and add more salt, if required.
  • Cook the chole for around 10 mins on a low flame.
  • Finally add the chopped fenugreek leaves and mix them well and cook them for another 3 mins. The aroma of the sabzi is amazing.
  • Methi chole

    Methi chole

  • Tastes good when served hot and best paired with roti or naan.

Tips:

  • Make sure the chole is well cooked before you add it to the gravy. You can cook it for some more time in the pressure cooker if needed.
  • Ensure that the methi leaves are washed well. Rinse them multiple times before cutting.

Brinjal Gothsu / Eggplant Gothsu

Gothsu is a traditional South Indian side dish mainly used as an accompaniment for idli, dosa, upma and Pongal. It is made with brinjals as the primary ingredient as the smoky aroma of the vegetable combines well with the tamarind and the tempering of lentils. The Indian spices are brought to the forefront in this tangy gravy.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 big eggplant/ brinjal [This is the big purple eggplant that is available in Indian stores. Some would identify it as bhartha baingan.]
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped [If you use small onions / shallots, then take around 12 of them]
  • 1/2 cup tamarind extract
  • 1 tbsp chana dal/ bengal gram dal
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp sambhar powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander for garnish
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil

Brinjal Gothsu

Brinjal Gothsu


Method:

  • Roast the brinjal on an open and low flame after applying cooking oil on it. For ease of cooking, pierce the brinjal in multiple locations with a fork.
  • After a few minutes, the brinjal will shrink in size – at this point switch off the flame. Wait for it to cool down and peel off the skin of the brinjal. Once the skin is peeled, rinse the brinjal in a bowl of water to prevent the smoky smell from overpowering the dish.
  • Once the peeled brinjal has cooled down, mash the brinjal nicely by hand for at least 10 mins till you can feel a smooth texture. This can also be done in a mixer but I prefer doing it by hand. This also helps me to keep a check in case there are any insects in the brinjal.
  • Now in a pan add a little oil and then add the chana dal. Once the dal turns golden brown, add in the coriander seeds and red chillies. Roast the mixture well and switch off the flame. Let it cool for around 10 mins. Then pulse them into a fine powder in a mixer.
  • Take oil in a pan and wait for it to warm up a bit on a low flame. Add the chopped onions and saute them till they turn translucent.
  • Once the onions turn into a light pink colour, add the tamarind extract, sambhar powder, asafoetida and salt. Add very little water at this stage. Stir them well and let this boil on a low flame for around 7 mins.
  • Now add in the ground powder from the mixer along with a cup of water and allow this to boil for another 5 mins.
  • Finally add in the mashed brinjals to this gravy and mix well. Add in another cup of water and salt at this stage. If the consistency is too thick, you can balance the water accordingly. Let this boil for another 5 mins. If you cover the vessel with a lid, it will cook and boil faster.
  • Brinjal Gothsu

    Brinjal Gothsu

  • Before serving, add the sesame oil and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Tastes good when served hot.

Tips:

  • Make sure you get the right brinjal for the recipe – do not use the smaller version.
  • Use a low flame to roast the brinjal and keep turning it to make sure it’s roasted evenly.

Ridge gourd and Taro Leaves Curry/ Turiya Patra Sabzi

Cooking on weekends is therapeutic for me as I get the time to experiment with new dishes. Last weekend while grocery shopping, I found taro leaves at Mustafa and decided to pick them up to make Alu Vadi. Alu Vadi is an Indian snack made with stuffed and rolled taro leaves. It is usually eaten at tea time and is common in Gujarati and Maharashtrian cuisine. I, however, wanted to make something for lunch and decided to go the gravy/curry route by combining taro leaves with ridge gourd. I remember eating ‘Turiya Patra nu Shaak’ at my Gujarati neighbour’s house in India, and could place the flavour profile between spicy and tangy. As daunting as it sounded to start this preparation from scratch, I gave it a go and the result was pleasantly surprising. Patience is key to nailing this dish successfully.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4-5 pax
Time: 60 mins
Difficulty: High

Main Ingredients :

  • 1 packet of taro leaves (12-15 leaves)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp asafoetida powder (optional)
  • 2 ridge gourd, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp finely cut green chillies
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for gram flour paste:

  • 1.5 cups gram flour/besan
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed jaggery
  • 2 tbsp seedless tamarind soaked in 1/4 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander for garnish (optional)

Ridge gourd and taro leaves curry

Ridge gourd and taro leaves curry


Method:

  • Wash the taro leaves thoroughly in running water and set them aside. Ensure that the leaves are fresh. Wipe them with a cloth until they are dry. Cut off the stalks from the base of the leaves.
  • Washed taro leaves

    Washed taro leaves

  • Mix all the ingredients mentioned in the preparation of the gram flour paste in a bowl. The paste has to be slightly thick for easy application on the leaves.
  • Place the leaves with the vein side facing downwards and the tip facing towards you. Gently apply the gram flour paste all over the leaf surface. Now place a leaf with the tip in the opposite direction and create an alternate stack of leaves, applying the paste on each alternate surface. Keep a minimum of 8 leaves to make a roll.
  • Spreading of gram flour paste on taro leaves

    Spreading of gram flour paste on taro leaves

  • After the paste is applied on 8 leaves placed alternately facing on top of each other, roll the stack into a neat and tight pattern horizontally.
  • Rolling of leaves

    Rolling of leaves

  • Then cut this rolled leaf into 2 or 3 pieces depending on the length of the rolled leaf stack.
  • Now heat oil in a non-stick pan and add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the cut ridge gourd pieces to it. Add the rolled taro leaves to the pan at the same time.
  • Cut ridge gourd pieces

    Cut ridge gourd pieces

  • Do not stir too much after placing the leaves as they might tear. Shake the pan (do not use a ladle) generously to mix the ingredients.
  • Next, add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 10 mins on a medium flame.
  • If the gravy is too thick, add a bit of warm water to help cook the leaves. This also helps in not letting the ingredients stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt, cumin and coriander powder when you add water. Keep checking the gravy consistency because gram flour has a tendency to absorb water.
  • Cooking of the curry

    Cooking of the curry

  • Keep checking in between to ensure that the taro leaves are turning tender. Try breaking the leaves with a spoon. If they break easily, add the garam masala powder and stir well. After 2 mins, switch off the pan. Cook it in pan without lid at this stage.
  • Finally add the coriander garnish and serve hot with rotis, naans or rice.

Tips:

  • Take your time while making the rolls. Work slowly but consistently – do not let the paste dry on the leaves.
  • Keep the gram flour paste on the thicker side – it’s easy to take a little in a smaller vessel and thin it as required.
  • Ensure that the taro leaves as well as the stuffing are fully cooked before serving.

Bitter gourd Potato Curry / Karela Batata Sabzi

For ages, bitter gourd has been the one vegetable that does not have many takers due to its bitter taste. The health benefits of bitter gourd are numerous and it should be made in a way that appeals to kids as well as grown-ups. During my childhood in India, we had a Gujarati family in our building who were (partially) my daycare. They used to make this dish called ‘Karela Batata Nu Shaak’ quite often. It is them to whom I owe this recipe and the fond memories of this dish. The addition of a pinch of sugar helps you overcome the bitter taste of the gourd and the crunch of the cashews along with the ever-favourite potato make this an appealing dish.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 4 small sized bitter gourd, peeled, seeds removed and cut into small crescents
  • 1 big potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup crushed cashews
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Coriander for garnish (optional)

Bittergourd potato Curry

Bittergourd potato Curry


Method:

  • Sprinkle some salt on the cut bitter gourd pieces and keep them aside.
  • Cut bittergourd pieces

    Cut bittergourd pieces

  • Take oil in a non stick vessel and wait for it to warm on medium flame.
  • Add the cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter.
  • Squeeze out the water from the bitter gourd and add the pieces in the vessel. Cover the vessel with a lid and let it cook for 7-8 mins on low flame.
  • Then add the potato pieces along with a bit of salt and turmeric. Let the combination cook for a further 10 mins with the lid covered.
  • Now add the chopped coriander, white sesame seeds and crushed cashews. Mix them well and let them cook for 2 mins. Keep the vessel uncovered at this stage.
  • Spicing stage

    Spicing stage

  • Finally add in the coriander powder, red chilli powder and sugar and mix them nicely into the cooked vegetables.
  • Final stage

    Final stage

  • Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Tips:

  • Preferably pick up young bitter gourd for this recipe.
  • To remove the seeds easily, peel the bitter gourd, slice down vertically and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
  • Squeeze the bitter gourd pieces well before adding them to the pan for cooking.

Chayote Sabzi / Chow Chow Sabzi

Chayote is a light green, pear-shaped tropical squash with coarse wrinkles and can be used in a variety of preparations. It is a good source of dietary fiber and has Vitamin C in it. Commonly known as chow chow, this ingredient works well in dry as well as gravy based curries. The mild flavour of chayote makes it perfect to take on the addition of spices which seep into it to give an enhanced taste. While peeling chayote, you can apply oil to your palms for ease. Make sure you peel it well, as the outer skin is rough. For those staying in Singapore, chayote is available in NTUC and the other supermarket stores.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 600-700 gms (2 medium sized) chayote, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1 big onion, finely diced
  • 1-1.5 cups tomato puree (homemade or ready made)
  • 1-2 inches of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp Kitchen King masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder>
  • 0.5 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp oil

Chayote sabzi

Chayote sabzi / Chow Chow Sabzi


Method:

  • Place a pressure cooker over a medium-low flame and add 2 tbsp of oil to it.
  • Once the oil is warm, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add the onions and cook gently till they are soft, but not browned.
  • Once the onions are soft, add in the tomato puree and cook till the raw smell goes away.
  • Now add coriander, kitchen king and red chilli powders followed by salt and turmeric.
  • Cook covered, stirring occasionally till the mixture thickens and releases oil.
  • Add the chayote pieces and mix well till the pieces are fully coated with the tomato-spice mixture.
  • Add 1 – 2 cups of water (depending on how thick you want the final gravy) and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Switch off the flame and let the cooker cool down.
  • Taste the chayote and gravy and adjust the seasoning.
  • Add garam masala and crushed dried fenugreek leaves.
  • Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Tips:

  • The amount of water you have to add depends on the chayote type you are using as the water content may vary.
  • Do not overcook the chayote as it will turn into mush.

Potato Okra Stir Fry / Lahsuni Aloo Bhindi Sabzi

Potato and okra are two basic vegetables in Indian cooking that come together beautifully in this dish. The spice powders add heat and complexity and the garlic twist adds a huge amount of flavour to the dish. This simple preparation goes great in lunch boxes and appeals to all ages.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 40 mins
Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients :

  • 800 gms Okra/bhindi, washed and kept to dry for 30 mins and then chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut approximately the same size as okra
  • 10 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp oil

lahsuni aloo bhindi

Lahsuni Aloo Bhindi


Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and let it warm a bit. Then add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add in the cumin seeds.
  • Swirl the pan to spread the oil a bit on the sides of the pan and wait for the cumin seeds to turn slightly brown.
  • Then add the dry red chillies and asafoetida and immediately add the garlic.
  • Addition of garlic

    Addition of garlic

  • When garlic becomes light brown, add in the potatoes. Then add half of turmeric powder and salt required just for the potatoes. Cook through for around 4-5 mins.
  • Addition of potato

    Addition of potato

  • Add the chopped onions and fenugreek seeds and mix them well together. Let the onions cook through till they become soft.
  • After this, add the okra, rest of the turmeric powder and salt. Mix everything well and cook it in open pan. First cook it in high flame and then after 3 mins, keep it on medium low flame.
  • Addition of okra

    Addition of okra

  • When the okra is 90% done, add in the coriander powder and red chilli powder.
  • Spread it evenly across the pan and cook more till the okra turns nicely crisp.
  • Switch off the flame. Goes best with jeera rice and rotis.

Tips:

  • Once you add the okra, keep stirring from time to time to redistribute the veggies – you may get burnt bits otherwise.
  • You can add less garlic if you don’t like the flavour – but I would recommend adding some at least.