Categories
Cooking Food General

How to make Indian Style Cold Coffee (with a sugar- free and vegan version too!)

I know this is an unseasonable post, but it just so happens that I have been craving cold coffee recently. I think it’s because we went to a dosa place for lunch the other day, and I ordered a delicious Indian style cold coffee, post lunch. Ever since then, it’s been on my mind. So, as much as it seems like a more appropriate drink for the summer, I’ve been whipping up cold coffees for myself these days.

It also reminds me of my best friend from high school, who used to be obsessed (and I am not exaggerating, she didn’t use to be able to get through a day without at least a glass of the stuff) with cold coffee. I miss her and I am nostalgic for the good times we shared together. Oh, to be young again 😉

Sometimes nostalgia makes foods and drinks that much more enjoyable! So if you’ve been missing cold coffees too, read on and make yourself some! And if you’ve never had some before, try it out, as trying new and strange concoctions can be as joyful an experience as reliving past good times 😊

Equipment:

Blender

Glass

An espresso maker (optional)

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of ice (you can add more or less according to your preference)

Coffee (either a shot of espresso, or 1-2 tsp of instant coffee)

1 cup of milk (dairy, almond, coconut, or any kind really)

Sugar or stevia or monkfruit extract to taste

Method:

1. Pour a glass of milk into the blender.

2. Add the other ingredients in.

3. Blend until incorporated and foamy.

4. Drink away!

Categories
Cooking Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Rajma (Spicy, Buttery, Kidney Beans) Recipe

Homemade Rajma

In some ways, Rajma is to North Indian cuisine what Macaroni and Cheese is to North American cuisine: it is ubiquitous and seen as a comforting food that reminds one of home. Rajma is also similar to Mac and Cheese in the sense that it is often made badly. And bad Rajma is especially like bad Mac and Cheese in that it’s often bad because its texture is all wrong.

Having said that, it takes a bit more time to make good Rajma than it does to make a  decent Mac and Cheese. Moreover, and this might prove to be controversial, I think Rajma represents a more complex harmony of flavours than Mac and Cheese does.

As you can see, I love Rajma! And as it happens, I’ve recently put together a delicious Rajma recipe, which I am very excited about. If you’d like to give it a try, here’s what you will need:

Equipment:

  • A Pressure Cooker (if you don’t have one, you could just use a large saucepan)
  • A saucier pan or a saucepan
  • A Knife
  • A Cutting Board
  • A Spatula
  • A Bowl and a Plate

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Red Kidney Beans, soaked for at least 7 hours in a lot of water
  • 3 Cardamom Pods
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Large Bay Leaf (or two small leaves)
  • 1/2 Stick of Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Red Onion, finely diced
  • 3 Large Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Inch Piece of Ginger, grated
  • 4 Green Chillies, chopped coarsely
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1-2 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1-3 Tsp Chilli Powder (adjust the amount of chilli to your preferred spice level. If you use 3 tsp (which I do) the Rajma will have a bit of a kick to it ;))
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2-3 Medium Tomatoes, chopped
  • 3-4 Tbsp Oil or Ghee (I prefer ghee; here is my recipe, if you want to make it at home)
  • As much butter as you like 🙂
  • A Sprig of Coriander/Cilantro, optional

Spices for Indian Cooking

Method:

Note about Serving Size: This makes enough Rajma for 6 people if they’re eating modest portions or if it is served with something else, like a dal (lentil) or a vegetable or chicken based preparation (as it generally would be in, in India).

1. Drain the excess water out of the bowl/pan in which you soaked the beans. Add about a half cup of water to the beans and cook them in a pressure cooker, on medium-high heat, until the whistle of the cooker goes off about 4-5 times. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, place the beans in a large saucepan and cook them with several cups of water until they become soft and cooked through. You can figure out if the beans are properly cooked by squishing one between your finger (or between two spoons). If you’re able to press through the bean and reduce it to mush, the beans are done are ready to be used in the recipe.

2. Pour the oil into a saucier or saucepan. Place the pan on medium-high heat. Once the oil becomes sufficiently hot (you can test the oil temperature by adding a cumin seed to the oil and seeing if it begins to sizzle) add in the cumin seeds. Just as the seeds begin to pop, lower the heat to medium and add in the cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, and a stick of cinnamon. Toss these about in the oil for a bit, until you can smell their fragrance.

Tadka, Indian spice tempering, popu, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, bay leaf

3. Increase the heat to medium-high again and add in the chopped onion and sauté it until it begins to brown.

Cooking onions for north Indian cooking

4. Now, reduce the heat to medium again and add in the ginger, garlic, and chillies. Toss them about constantly, until the raw smell of the garlic dissipates.

5. Next, add the cumin, coriander, garam masala, and chilli powders to the pot, along with salt, and stir everything together. Let the masalas cook in the oil for a minute or two, before adding the chopped tomatoes to the pot. Stir well, cover the pot, and let the this tomato-onion-masala mixture cook on low-medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, checking on it and stirring as needed every few minutes. You will know the mixture is cooked enough once the oil starts to separate from the rest of the ingredients.

Basic north indian cooking

IMG_2260

6. At this stage, I recommend fishing out the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick. This is so the finished product feels smooth and creamy, without little bits of crunchy spices ruining the overall mouth feel of the dish,

7. Finally, add the cooked Rajma to this mixture, along with a cup or two of water and loads of butter. Cover the pot and let the beans cook with the onion-tomato-masala mixture for about 4-6 hours, on low heat, stirring intermittently. This slow cooking will allow the flavours to intermingle and “mature”.

Rajma (kidney beans) cooking with butter

6. Serve the Rajma with rice or roti and yoghurt! (My current favourite way to eat it is with a Rumali roti.) You can garnish the Rajma with a sprig of fresh coriander/cilantro, if you like. Enjoy!

Categories
Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Dondakaya Vepudu: A Delicious, Easy, Andhra-Style Vegetable SautĂ©

Tindora, Dondakaya, Indian Ivy Gourd, Low fat South Indian Vegetable Sauté

Dondakaya is a common vegetable in Andhra Pradesh (a State in Southern India). While I normally hate eating vegetables, this particular vegetable, prepared in the way my parents make it, I find absolutely delicious! If you’d like to try it, all you have to do is go to an Indian store and ask for “Tindora” which is the Hindi name for it. Once you get your hands on this vegetable, this is a fairly easy recipe to replicate.

Dondakaya Vepudu, Tindora fry, South Indian Veggie Sauté

Dondakaya or Tindora has a slightly tangy taste, and when sautĂ©ed in the manner I describe below, it turns out mostly soft, but slightly crunchy. Overall, it’s a flavourful vegetable with nutritional and health benefits. For one thing, according to WebMd it is “possibly effective” for helping manage diabetes by improving blood sugar control. It is also rich in beta carotene which can be converted by the body to Vitamin A (See Artemis C. Simopolous & C. Gopalan, Plants in Human Health, Basel, Switzerland: Karger, 2003) page 64-65).

If you’d like to give it a try, here is what you will beed:

Ingredients:

500 g Tindora/Dondakaya/Indian Ivy Gourd

1 small or medium onion, sliced (yellow or red)

3-4 dried red chillis

1 -2 tsp of red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 – 3/4 tsp cumin powder (optional)

1/2- 3/4 tsp coriander powder (cilantro seeds, ground) (optional)

3 tbsp oil (I use avocado oil, but you can use any oil that doesn’t have a very strong flavour/fragrance)

 

Method:

1. Slice the Dondakaya either widthways into rings, or lengthways into strips.

2. Add about 1.5 tbsp oil in a pan and heat it at medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced Dondakaya to the pan.

Tindora, Indian Ivy Gourd, Dondakaya

3. Sauté the Dondakaya for a few minutes, tossing the slices constantly.

4. Cover the pan and let the Dondakaya cook on low heat for about 10-13 minutes until the vegetable is softened.



5. Move the Dondakaya into a separate bowl. Add 1.5 tbsp of oil to the pan again, increase the heat to medium, and add the red chillies and toss until they darken. Then, add the onions and sauté.


6. Once the onions are softened and browned, add the Dondakaya to the pan again, and toss. Season with turmeric, chilli powder and cumin and coriander (if using) and stir the contents of the pan about, for a few minutes, until the spices are more evenly distributed over the Dondakaya pieces.

7. Once the spices are well distributed, take the pan of the heat and serve the Dondakaya Vepudu!

You can serve it as part of a South Indian meal with Pappu (lentils) and/or Pulusu (a tamarind broth with vegetables) and/or Rasam and/or Sambar, rice, roti, and yogurt.

Dondakaya Vepudu in South Indian Meal

 

Dondakaya Vepudu; Tindora fry, Healthy Veggie Sauté

Sometimes though, when I am busy, I make just the Vepudu and eat it with yogurt 🙂

 

Categories
Cooking Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Buttery, Fiery Fish Kebabs, Inspired by Hyderabad

The wonderful weather we had over the Easter weekend had me excited about summer being around the corner. Then, as some of you know, the weather took a turn for the worse; it’s been rainy, grey and relatively unpleasant, on and off, since that weekend, and summer seems like a far away dream. This combined with the fact that I miss India, my parent’s home, the sun, my family and most importantly (:P) the ease with which I could get my hands on some delicious food, and the whole thing made me depressed.

But, instead of giving in to the grey, I decided that I was going to protest the gloom and the fact that I was not in India any more, by making some spicy, nay, fiery Indian food! And what combines Indian spices with the suggestion of summer in North America better than kababs (kebabs in this part of the world)?

Since I eat neither meat nor chicken, I decided that I was going to use fish instead. Also, since it was Hyderabad in particular, that I was missing, I wanted to make something with a Hyderabadi base (for more on Hyderabadi food, read this post). So I did some reading and thinking, and revisited memories of some of the more delicious kababs I’d eaten in my good old meat-eating days, and then went to work.

It took some experimenting, but I finally ended up with a literal and figurative mash-up: fish kababs that pay homage to Hyderabad. I won’t of course stake any claim to either originality or authenticity; all I will say is that these turned out to be spicy, soft, buttery and delicious fish kababs.

Spicy, buttery fish kebabs!

If you’d like to re-create this magic, read on for my instructions.

Ingredients:

1 pound white fish fillets

1 pound salmon fillets

1 tablespoon yoghurt

4 tablespoons butter

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons coriander leaves

2 tablespoons mint leaves

4 spring onions

4 Indian green chillies or two jalapeño peppers, coarsely chopped

Zest of 1 lime, finely grated

3 cloves of garlic, with their skins removed

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon red chili powder

Oil or ghee (indian clarified butter, go here for more information on this and a recipe for making it at home) for frying or grilling the kababs

Spices to be Dry Roasted:

1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds

1.5 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons Chana dal

3 whole dried red chilies

2 cloves

Seeds from 1 black cardamom pod

Method:

Place the spices to be dry roasted in a pan, and roast them on low heat until fragrant. Take them off the heat and let them cool.

image

In the meantime, place the coriander, mint, spring onions, chilis, lime zest, garlic and ginger in a food processor.

image

Whizz the ingredients around until they are finely chopped up, like this:

image

Remove (what I am going to elegantly refer to from now on as) the ‘green mixture’ into a bowl.

In the same food processor, process the fish fillets until they become an even paste, like this:

image

While the fish is being processed, grind the dry roasted spices (with a mortar and pestle or in a dry grinder) to a powder.

Once the fish is processed  mix in the ‘green mixture’, chili powder, dry roasted and ground spices, and salt.

image

Add the yoghurt, egg whites and butter, and process until smooth, like this:

image

Your ‘kabab batter’, if you will, is now ready. You can refrigerate this. Whenever you’re ready to eat, take it out, and cook up your kababs.

I tried pan searing the kababs, and that worked out fine. However, the best way to cook them, in my opinion, is to grill them in the oven on a baking sheet, at a fairly high temperature. I went with 450 fahrenheit. Also, instead of oil, I used ghee to grease the tray, and halfway through the grilling (about 7 minutes in) I flipped the kababs and brushed some ghee on them with a basting brush.

And voilĂ , you have some delicious, buttery, spicy as hell kababs, right in the comfort of your home! I felt a wee bit less home sick after a few of these!

Spicy, buttery fish kebobs!

A great way to serve these kababs is with some green chutney. This is the recipe I used to make it. 

Spicy Indian fish kebab recipe!