Monday, 27 May 2013

Dal Amristsari or Maah Choleyan di Daal...or My Mommy’s Dal

Dal Amristsari or Maah Choleyan di Daalthe two official names this dal is known by...there is a third name…"My Mommy’s Dal"!!...For the longest time I didn’t know that the Punjabi name for black lentils was "Mah", for me it was always "Ma"…and hence ma ki dal/mom’s dal/my mommy’s dal!! Simple, right? Well things normally are, aren’t they? So here is my Mom’s dal, the dal she makes the best or the dal I like the best (I know, I know, I say this every time I post a dal recipe but this one really is my favoritecross my heart!!)

Dal Amristsari or Maah Choleyan di Daal


  • Mah/Maa/Chilkewaali Urad Dal/Split Black Gram with skin, ½ cup
  • Chana dal/Split Bengal Gram, ½ cup
  • Fresh Ginger, finely grated, 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric, ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste

For tempering:

  • Fresh Ginger, finely grated, 1 tbsp
  • Fresh Garlic, chopped very fine, 1 tbsp
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 medium
  • Tomatoes, finally chopped, 2 medium
  • Fresh Green Chilies, finely chopped, 2-3
  • Desi Ghee/ Butter or Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Fresh Coriander leaves, Chopped


Combine both the dals and wash them till water runs clear. Soak for about half an hour, drain the water and keep aside.

Cook the dals together with salt, turmeric and ginger till almost done. (I pressure cooked with about 4 cups of water, 2 whistles – one on high, one on medium flame; if using a pan to cook the dals, you will need a little more water).

In a small frying pan, heat oil and sauté the onions till they start to turn brown. 

Add in the ginger ,garlic and green chilies. Sauté till onions go golden brown. 

Add in the tomatoes and cook till tomatoes go completely mushy and release oil.

Add this onion tomato mix to the cooked dal and lightly mash the dal against the sides of the pan/cooker with a ladle. 

Let the dal simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes till thick or medium thick consistency.

Serve topped with fresh coriander and butter (optional, but sooo worth it).

Ideally best served with tandoori roti but hits the spot with any kind of bread or rice or even on its own (which is how I eat my second and third bowl!!)


  • Vary the proportion of Chana Dal to Urad dal from 1:1 to 2:1 or 1:2
  • Add other spices in the tempering like cumin seeds and coriander powder; a pinch of garam masala when the dal is ready
  • Add about a tsp of Kasoori Methi in the tempering
  • Add a big fat pinch of Hing/Asafoetida when tempering
  • Add about ½ cup of milk in the last 10 minutes of cooking

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sabudana Khichdi /Sago Pilaf...when only starch can save you!!

Sabudana Khichdi /Sago Pilaffor those days when nothing else but starch would dothe comparatively less oil microwave version 

Sabudana Khichdi /Sago Pilaf (microwave version)


  • Sabudana/Sago, medium size pearls, 1 cup
  • Potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into small cubes, 1 cup
  • Skinless Roasted Peanuts, ½ cup (3/4 cup if you love love love peanuts!! Or if you consider them your protein sub for the day)
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
  • Green Chilies, finely chopped, 4-5 (seeds removed if you want)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Coriander leaves, chopped, a handful
  • Sugar, ½ tsp (optional)
  • Lime juice, to taste (optional)


Wash sago thoroughly in a sieve. 

Let the water drain and then let it stand covered for around 4-5 hours in a wide bottom bowl with not more than 3-4 tbsp of water. (if you need to leave it overnight, drain the water completely)

Fluff up and separate the lumps, if any in the sago with a fork – it should be swelled up and translucent with each pearl separated.

Coarsely pound the peanuts in a mortar and pestle or pulse in the food processor. Need to have three distinct textures – powder, small pieces and some remain whole. The powder will keep sago from sticking and the bigger pieces for texture.

Mix the salt, sugar (if using) and peanuts with the sago in a microwaveable bowl.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start spluttering add in the potatoes and half of the green chilies. 

Sauté till potatoes become crisp and golden. Mix in the potatoes mix with the sago.

Put the bowl in the microwave and cook on full power for 6-8 minutes. Mix and toss well every two minutes.

Add in the balance green chilies and coriander leaves. Serve hot!!  (and don't limit it to only breakfast or one of those 'fasting' days) 


  • Another option is to add in some grated ginger and/or  curry leaves when sautéing the potatoes. I don’t like grated coconut in this one so not even giving that as option!!
  • Every brand/packet of sago behaves differently. Soak and test a small quantity to avoid a soggy mess.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Basil Garlic Prawns...over, under or tossed around!!

Basil Garlic is another quick one from Friday evening

Basil Garlic Prawns


  • Prawns, deveined & cleaned, medium size 500 gms (with or without tails, up to you)
  • Basil leaves, about 1 – 1 ½ cups
  • Garlic cloves, thin diagonally cut slices, 6-7
  • Olive Oil, 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp (or more if you want) 
  • Cornflour/Cornstarch, 2-3 tbsp
  • Black pepper, crushed, 1 tsp or to taste
  • Red Chili Flakes, 1 tsp or to taste
  • Salt, to taste


Wash and clean the prawns. 

Pat dry and put them in a bowl. Season the prawns well salt and pepper.  

Liberally sprinkle cornflour on the prawns, toss around in the bowl and then remove them on to a plate shaking off the excess cornflour.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large flat pan. 

Add the prawns – laying them out in the pan in a single layer. 

Let the prawns cook for a minute or two on each side – till they go pink and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.

Add the chopped garlic. Fry the garlic till it starts getting crisp and golden brown. 

Add salt, red chili flakes and basil leaves. Basil leaves will splutter  quite a bit (same as the curry leaves ) so stand back. Let the leaves get crisp and switch off the gas.

Serve over, under or tossed around with the prawns…but serve this one piping hot!


  • No Basil leaves?  Use curry leaves and dried red chilies or fresh green chilies. Replace cornflour with rice flour as well if you want.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Butter Garlic Pepper Prawns...the follies of the young know-it-all!!!

Butter Garlic Pepper Prawnsthe first prawn dish that I ever cooked quite a few years backand was so afraid of overcooking the prawns that I served them still raw!!...and not just once, but a few times Jand every time insisted that they were cooked and that people eating it had no clue and needed to get their heads examined!!!...well now I know betternow I have eaten and cooked so many prawns that I had even once dreamt that I was jailed because I had singlehandedly managed to put the little critters on the endangered species list!! L that’s saying a lot for someone who had exclaimed “this tastes just like chicken” when eating prawns for the first time ever back in school daystch tch, the follies of the young know-it-all!!...the pic is of the handful of medium-sized prawns that I managed to sneak off to the terrace for the daylight picture out of the 2 kgs that I cooked on Friday evening for friends...and before you ask, no one needs to get their head examined anymore!!

Butter Garlic Pepper Prawns


  • Prawns, deveined & cleaned, medium size 500 gms (with or without tails, up to you)
  • Garlic cloves, thin diagonally cut slices, 10-12
  • Black pepper, coarsely crushed, 1 tsp or to taste
  • Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp (optional)
  • Butter, 1 ½ tbsp (Salted or Unsalted, up to you)
  • Olive Oil, 1 ½  tbsp
  • Cornflour/Cornstarch, 1-2 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste


Wash and clean the prawns. 

Pat dry and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle cornflour on the prawns and keep them aside for 15-20 minutes. Just before cooking, wash the cornflour off the prawns and pat dry.

Heat butter & oil in a large flat pan. 

Add chopped garlic and sauté till it just about starts to turn golden brown at the edges.

Add prawns, black pepper , Tabasco sauce and salt. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes without the lid till prawns turn pink. 

Serve hot! (pssstt...with crusty bread!)


  • Add a little more oil, butter, a few dried or fresh herbs; mix in freshly cooked spaghetti and Voila!!! a quick meal taken care of !!
  • If you want cleaner looking dish or should I say not so rustic looking dish, finely grind the black pepper and finely chop the garlic...though IMO, it takes the fun away from fighting over the crisped up garlic

Friday, 17 May 2013

Pav Bhaji/Indian Vegetable Chili served with Bread Buns...Bombay scores!!!

Pav Bhajihow does one translate this without losing the essence of the dish??…IndianVegetable mash or Indian Vegetable chili, served with bread buns seems too timidtoo alienBut then, that is the case with MOST of the street foodThe minute you try and translatewhoosh, goes the taste!!!....Originated in Bombay and spread everywhere in the countryEveryone swears by the Bombay (a.k.a. Mumbai) Pav Bhaji and, this time me, the quintessential Delhi girl doesn’t argue JI mean, in any debate about Delhi versus Bombay, Delhi wins hands down (in my head anyways!!) but this is one thing (well, ok!! this and a couple of more things, but more on those some other day)  that we guys in Delhi just don’t get rightAnd, no, I am not saying that what you will read below is “authentic” or that I am the Queen of Pav Bhaji this side of the country but this is how I like it instead of the pasty version found everywhere around here J

Pav Bhaji/Indian Vegetable Chili served with Bread Buns


To be ground into a paste:
  • Dried red chilies, 2-3
  • Fresh Ginger, 1” – 1 ½” piece (optional)
  • Fresh garlic, 6-7 cloves

For the Bhaji/Vegetable mash:

  • Potatoes, Boiled and mashed with hands, 2 ½ cups
  • Onions, finely chopped, ¾ cup 
  • Tomatoes, finely chopped, 2 cups
  • Tomatoes, pureed, ½ cup (blitz fresh tomatoes in a blender/processor) 
  • Capsicum, 1 medium size
  • Cauliflower, cut into florets, 1 cup
  • Carrots, cut into chunks, ½ cup
  • Green Peas, Fresh or Frozen, ½ cup (I used frozen)
  • Pav Bhaaji Masala powder, 2 heaped tbsp (I used Everest brand, to make your own refer to notes below)
  • Kashmiri Red Chili powder, 1-2 tsp as needed/if needed (to be used only for colour, amount required will depend on the tomatoes you are using)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Butter, 2 tbsp
  • Oil, 2 tbsp ( or use butter here as well)
  • Water, as needed

For the Pavs/Bread Buns:

  • Pavs
  • Butter
  • Pav Bhaji Masala

For garnishing and serving:

  • Chopped Fresh Green coriander
  • Finely chopped onions
  • Lemon wedges
  • Butter


For the paste:

Soak dried red chilies in warm water. When they plump up, drain and grind together with ginger and garlic into a fine paste. Keep aside. (if you don’t have or don’t have dried red chilies, skip it and use green chilies and/or regular red chili powder)

For the Bhaji/Veggie mash:

Preparing the veggies
Potatoes, Onions and tomatoes – prepare as mentioned in the ingredient listing.

Capsicum: Roast the capsicum. Peel the charred skin, remove the seeds and white membrane. Chop fine. (Ideally raw capsicum is used; I am not too fond of capsicum so roasting it works for us to mellow it down)

Carrots, Cauliflower, Peas:  Boil them till barely tender (not mushy), strain the water (keep aside to be used later) and then using a potato masher or back of a heavy spatula mash them coarsely. I  zap them in the microwave with about ¾  cup of salted water – 4 minutes for cauliflower + carrots and then add the peas and then again about  a minute and half together.

You will be using the potato masher/spatula to mash the veggies while cooking so use a pan big and strong enough to handle all the mashing going on.

Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan and add onions to it. When the onions start going soft, add in the capsicum and the chili paste. Stir and cook till onions turn light brown. Add in both the chopped tomatoes and cook till oil separates.

Add in the pav bhaji masala, kashmiri red chili powder and salt and coo for a minute or two stirring all the time to ensure the spice powders don't burn.

Add all the boiled vegetables and mashed potatoes and mix well. Let the mix cook for about 5-10 minutes stirring and mashing everything together. 

Add in the fresh tomato puree and the water from the boiled veggies (and more if needed). Bring it to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, pressing with potato masher/ back of a heavy spatula a few times – remember the texture needs to slightly coarse and not completely pasty.

Once the bhaji has reached the right consistency to your liking, add in 2 tbsp butter.

For the Pavs/Buns:

Slice the pav horizontally into 2.

Heat some butter on a tawa/pan, sprinkle a pinch or two of pav bhaji masala and toast the pavs in butter for a minute or two till they soak up all the butter and go slightly crisp.

To serve:
Garnish the bhaji with some chopped onions and coriander, add in a dollop of butter and serve hot with pav accompanied with a lemon wedges on the side.


  • In my rambling about the bhaji I have tried to hide the real essence of the Pav Bhaji - the Pav Bun- the sad truth is that you can try and replicate the bhaji as much as you like but it just doesn't taste the same without the Bombay Pav. Now, THAT is a different beast altogether and just cannot be replicated - I hear something to do with the Bombay water. So grin and bear and try not to think about it because there is no way you can can get that here..the only option is to get them straight from Bombay J

  • Typically ginger is not added to the bhaji but we kind of like it more with ginger added.

  • If the bhaji is too tomatoey for your liking or is too sour depending on the kind of tomatoes used, you can saute another  ½  to 1 cup finely chopped onions in butter/oil till they turn light golden brown and add to the bhaji mix. Mix well before serving. 

  • In case you don’t have/ can’t find packaged Pav Bhaji masala powder, you can use the below quick fix spice mix recipe to make your own.


  • Coriander seeds, 5 gms
  • Dried Red Chilies, 5 gms 
  • Cumin seeds, 2.5 gms
  • Black peppercorns, 2.5 gms
  • Cinnamon, 2.5 gms
  • Clove, 2.5 gms
  • Saunf/Fennel seeds, 1 gm
  • Black Cardamom, 1
  • Aamchur/Dried Mango powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder, 1 tsp


Separately dry roast all ingredients except Aamchur and Turmeric.
Let cool completely and then grind into a fine powder.
Add in the aamchur , turmeric and mix well.

(If you think this is long list, the original authentic one has 15-18 spices!!

Update 16th June 2016: Added a new photo clicked in better light. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Sesame Chili Ginger Noodles......Yes, I am still at it!!

Sesame Chilli Ginger Noodles...Yes, I am still at it!! those 10 minute meals, inspired by South East Asia, curled up in bed, reading and chomping away!! If you are still in the kitchen peeling, chopping, cooking and then cleaning after a 3-4 course meal, I bow to you!!J

Sesame Chilli Ginger Noodles


  • Hakka Noodles, 1 packet (150 gm)
  • Spring/Green onions/Scallions, only the green portion, 2-3
  • Dark Soy sauce, ½ tsp
  • Salt, if needed to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp 

For the paste:
  • Sesame Seeds, 3 heaped tbsp
  • Vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • Light Soy sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Dried red chilies, 3-4
  • Fresh Ginger, 1" -1 ½" piece
  • Sugar, ½ -1 tsp (depending on how hot your red chilies are and how many you use)


Soak dried red chilies in hot water to re-hydrate for about half an hour. Drain the chilies and save a couple of tablespoons of the water.

Make a coarse thick paste by grinding together the chilies, sesame seeds, ginger, sugar, vinegar and light soy sauce. Use a little water saved from the soaked chilies if needed.  

Boil the noodles in well salted water per instructions given on the packet. Drain, run through cold water, drain and keep aside.

Heat the wok on high heat and add oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, fry the ground paste in it for a couple of minutes. 

Add in the noodles, dark soy sauce and toss to mix well. 

Check for seasoning and adjust. Add in the green onions and mix well.

Plate up!

Good enough to eat on its own or with your favorite Indo Chinese curry.

  • You can add veggies or meat of your choice if you want but we like them best with just spring onions. (hah!! And you thought I didn’t add any veggies just because I am lazy!!!)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Cashew Chicken with Basil...have 10 minutes? Let’s cook!!

Cashew Chicken with Basil is another one of those ‘10 minute’ recipes that I have been putting up latelythis phase shall pass soon enough but till then be a lazy queen/king and enjoy all that extra time doing other stuffmake time for that spa appointment or go watch a moviethe home, the kitchen and rest of the stuff will be still here when you get backI am off to watch second movie of the day for me J

Cashew Chicken with Basil mmskitchenbites

Cashew Chicken with Basil


  • Chicken, boneless thighs, 300 gm
  • Onion, sliced, 1 large
  • Bell peppers, 1” square pieces, as much or as little as you want ( I only had red)
  • Plain Cashew nuts, broken (so that Hubz feels I have added enough even though I haven’t), a handful and then some more!!
  • Garlic, sliced, 3-4 cloves
  • Dried red chillies, 4-5 (or fresh if you can find)
  • Basil leaves, about a cup
  • Dark Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Thai Chilli paste, about 1 tbsp (if you don’t have this, soak some dried red chillies in water and then grind adding some vinegar and brown sugar)
  • Fish sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Brown Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Oil, 2 tbsp


Remove any excess fat and wash the chicken. Wipe dry and cut into bite sized pieces.
Leave it to marinate with the chilli paste, sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce. Keep aside.
Soak the dried red chillies in a little warm water. When they go soft, remove and cut diagonally into slightly large pieces. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok/large pan over the medium-high heat and add about a teaspoon of oil. Add cashew nuts, and fry until golden then remove from the pan and keep aside.
Wipe the pan clean and add the balance oil.
Add the chillies, garlic, onions and fry till onions go soft.
Add in the chicken with the marinade and toss around for a few minutes on each side till is almost done. 

Add in bell peppers and half of the basil leaves and mix well.
Cook till chicken gets done.
Check for seasonings and adjust to taste. 

Add in the fried cashews and rest of the basil leaves. 

Mix well and serve over steamed rice.


  • Regular sugar would do in case you don’t have brown or palm sugar.
  • Make this healthier by using chicken breasts and/or adding any/all veggies of your choice

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Baked Red Snapper...Desi Style!!

Baked Red SnapperThis was part of Sunday lunchnormally nothing tastes better than fried red snapper but this one comes pretty closehad seen the standing upright method sometime back on “Food Safari” Italian food episode and have been using it ever sincewanted to insert a coin in the mouth (fish’s mouth and not mine!!) to copy what they did but hubz threw a fit!!! The expression on the fish matched mine when he said no!!!...anyways, the original had flat leaf parsley, dried oregano, red chili flakes and olive oil but I didn't have fresh parsley so made it desi style with fresh coriander

 Baked Red Snapper


  • Red Snapper, cleaned and scaled, 1 kg
  • Fresh Coriander leaves and tender stems, chopped very finely, about ¼ cup
  • Fresh Ginger, paste/minced/finely grated, about 2 tbsp
  • Garlic, paste/minced/finely grated, 2 cloves
  • Green Chilies, paste/minced, 2-3
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1+ 1 tbsp


Wash the fish and pat dry. Make 3-4 long and deep diagonal slashes on each side of the fish.

Mix the coriander, ginger, garlic, chilies, lime juice and salt with 1 tbsp of oil in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Mix a little salt with the balance 1 tbsp of oil and rub it all over the fish and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Fill in the slashes nicely with coriander paste and any leftover gets rubbed over the fish.

Transfer the fish to a baking sheet/tray. 

To get the skin crisp on both sides – fish would need to stand upright i.e. has to be baked on its belly and not flat on its side. A couple of  crumpled foil or baking paper balls help – under the tail,head,belly.

Place the fish in the oven for about 30 minutes or so, until the flesh just flakes.

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or on its own.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Thai Red Curry Paste…Rice!!

Thai Red Curry Paste RiceAnother one of those quick dish and a light cucumber salad and dinner done!!

Thai Red Curry Paste Rice


  • Boiled rice, about 4 cups
  • Chicken breasts, boneless, cut into strips, 300 gms
  • Thai Red Curry paste, 1 ½ heaped tbsp
  • Fish Sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Light Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Palm or Brown Sugar, 1 tsp 
  • Juice of 1 lime,
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Dried Red chilli, 1-2 (optional)
  • Coriander leaves, a handful
  • Lemon slices/wedges


Heat oil in a wok and fry the dried red chilli till it changes colour. Strain out the chilli and keep aside.

Add the curry paste to the same pan and fry on low heat till the oil separates.
Increase the heat to high and add in the chicken. Mix well with paste and cook for about 5-6 minutes till chicken gets cooked through.
Add in the sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and mix well.
Tip in the cooked rice and stir to mix well.
Switch off the heat once the rice is coated and heated through. 

Squeeze in the lime juice. Mix well and serve garnished with the fried red chilli, coriander leaves and lemon slices/wedges.


  • The amount of curry paste will depend on the brand you are using. 
  • Adjust the amount of paste and other seasonings according to taste.
  • Can use normal sugar if you don't have palm or brown sugar.
  •  Do feel free to saute and add veggies of your choice

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Chili Garlic Fish...pretty pretty hot hot!!!

Chilli Garlic Fish...another quick dish...adjust the amount of chillies and the kind of chillies you use depending on the heat you can handle...the dried red chillies that I used were not so hot...not by our standards anyway...and chillies keep my temper down...not chilli per se, but the gallons of Cold coffee I drink after that J

Chilli Garlic Fish


  •  Fish Fillets, Sole or Bhetki or any firm white fish of your choice, 300 grams (I used Sole)
  • Onion, sliced finely, 1 large
  • White Wine, couple of tablespoons (or hot water, I used wine)
  • Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Fresh Coriander leaves, for garnishing
  • Red chilli flakes, if needed/optional

For the marinade:
  • Dried Red Chillies, 3-4
  • Garlic, 7-8 cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • White Vinegar, 2 tbsp
  • Oil, 1 tsp 


Cut the fish fillets into bite sized pieces.

Soak dried red chillies in hot water for half an hour.

Drain and then using mortar and pestle or food processor, pound into a rough paste. You can discard all or some seeds – depending on the amount of heat you can handle.

Finely chop half the amount of garlic. Pound the other half into a thick paste.

Mix the chopped garlic, garlic paste and chill paste with vinegar, 1tsp oil and salt. 

Rub this marinade over the fish and keep it in the fridge for about half an hour to one hour.

Get the fish back to room temperature before cooking.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish on both sides till golden brown. Take out the fish and plate up.

In the same pan, add the onions and any leftover marinade from the bowl used earlier. Sauté for a few seconds.

Add wine or hot water to the pan to deglaze and cook till onions go soft.

Top the fish with the onions.

Serve hot, garnished with some coriander leaves and red chilli flakes (if you want)