Cooking for Mom

Tucked up whole day in office today with a series of meetings, restaurant updates and some telephonic interviews.

Yesterday we had some special demonstrations for Wonderchef during the first part of the day.Finished and went home as we had special guests over for high tea! About thirty of Mom’s senior citizen friends came over (well it was a planned evening) as they wanted to have a chit chat with me! We had quite an interactive session with a lot of recipe swapping. I had decided the menu before hand with close consultation of my mother and we served the popular favourites like kulche chole, bhel puri, sev puri, khandvi, dahi bhalle and phirni. I admit that Alyona’s khandvi turns out better than mine and the dahi bhalle (with stuffing ) that my mother makes I cannot copy! So all my cooking prowess was put to test making the other items. One lady was quite enthusiastic about different flavours of phirni and we had a long discussion about that. She came up with the contention that if ice creams can be available in so many flavours then why not Indian desserts! So her ideas are of orange phirni, chocolate kheer ( I have made chocolate phirni, fruit kheer, chocolate shrikhand), gulab jamuns in strawberry juice….This does get one down to thinking!

As some Til Poli is coming off the tawa in the kitchen, in readiness for a perfected recipe for you, time for me to go check it out at lunch!

Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor

Healthy Mixed Vegetable Kurma Recipe

India continues to occupy its historic position as the largest producer of spices in the world. There is something magical about the Indian herbs and spices that transforms simple ingredients into exotic dishes.
Kurma or korma is a popular curry. Here we have a Healthy Mixed Vegetable Kurma recipe which has been made without the use of oil. First make a masala paste. Heat a non-stick pan and roast ½ cup scraped coconut, 8-10 garlic cloves, 1 inch ginger, 1 green chilli, 2 seeded dried red chillies, 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (khus khus), 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf) till light brown. Cool and grind to a paste with half a cup of water. Boil 1 cubed carrot, 1 cubed potato, ¼ chopped cauliflower, 10 chopped French beans till half done in salted water. Drain and keep aside. Heat a non-stick pan, add 2 chopped onions and roast till golden brown. Add 10-12 curry leaves and the prepared masala paste. Add half a cup of water and cook for three to four minutes. Add the boiled vegetables, ½ green peas, 1 cubed capsicum and ½ cup tomato puree and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp and mix well. Add two and half cups of water and salt to taste. Once it comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer till the vegetables are cooked and the gravy is thick. Add ½ cup coconut milk and stir. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. Stir well. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves. To make it without coconut milk, simply replace it with yogurt. It tastes very good and adds a different flavour to the preparation.
Use of spices with a balance is what makes the Indian curry so distinctive. In fact a change in the variety of spices used in curry and the proportion of their quantities makes different recipes of curries. Spices are healthy and their medicinal use in the past, like herbs, were often indistinguishable from the culinary uses. Try some of the other korma recipes like Paneer Dhania Korma and Navaratan Korma.
In medieval times, apothecary prescribed herbs and spices not merely for digestive problems, but for all types of ailments in a truly natural form of medicine. Spices and herbs have had a long standing and even in present – days have not only culinary and medicinal usage but also a lot of other utilities. But our first and foremost focus is on healthy Indian recipes.

Top 5 Indian recipes – dals rock and rule!

One very important part played in Indian diets is by the dried version of peas and beans called pulses. Pulses as well as lentils, legumes, beans and peas have been part of daily diet for times immemorial. The traditional Indian diet is healthy and nutritious and revolves around dal, bhaat (rice), sabzi (vegetables) and chapati. Moong ki Dal and Kali Dal are popular fare in homes in North India.

Pulses, as we all know, are the edible seeds of the legume family. Pulses include peas, beans and lentils. Some, as green French beans, papdi, green peas and broad beans are eaten fresh. Others, like moong, urad, chana and masoor are eaten dried or sprouted. Regardless of their place of origin, most of the pulses are available world-wide and have become widely naturalized outside their native regions. But greens combined with dal are also healthy preparations. Something like Methiwali Dal.

Beans are dried as quickly as possible after picking to preserve their flavour and texture. There used to be a time when most of the pulses were sundried, but now in the present days of automation, most of it is artificially dried. Most pulses are widely available and the lesser known can usually be found in specialized stores in wholesale grain market. Pulses keep well and are easily reconstituted but should be stored in a cool and dry place. The normal shelf life of dried beans and pulses is six to nine months, then they begin to harden and shrivel.

All types of beans and lentils are high in protein and 30 per cent more is released if they are eaten with a cereal. That is why, in India, dal is eaten mostly with rice or roti. Most pulses need soaking and cooking, the exact time depends on the particular type and quality of the bean. Beans and lentils should be picked over before washing and soaking to remove any stones or pieces of grit.

In the Indian kitchen, dal is ubiquitous. Egyptian lentils called masoor, black eyed peas called lobia and mung beans called moong are worth mentioning. Dishes like Sambhar and Rasam use split pigeon peas, Dhansak uses meat and lentils. Dosas also have rice and lentils like black gram or urad. Up north, urad is a favourite as is rajma and chana.