Thursday, January 30, 2014

Punjabi Kadhi

Kadhi, is a typical North Indian Punjabi dish for hot summer days. Going south, you find regional variations across the arid, dusty deserts of Mewar, Rajputana to the salt plains in the Rann of Katch. Typical to local cuisine which developed over ages, it is slightly tangy and made from yogurt gone sour and locally vailable chickpeas. Incorporation of ginger, pepper and cumin not only add a twist to the dish, but are traditional spices and condiments which help the body cool down and rehydrate. The chickpea flour is not only a good source of protein but traditionally is used in cooling drinks in India during summer time.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • Sour Yogurt - 250 ml(I normally use Laban/ Aryan to substitute
  • Besan( Chickpea flour)- 100 gm
  • Ginger- 2 inch piece; shredded
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon- 1/4 inch stick, crushed
  • Turmeric- 1 tsp
  • Cayene powder- 1/2 tsp (for colour)
  •  Pepper- 1 tsp whole
  • Red Chilli- 3
  • Salt- To taste
  • Sunflower oil- 1/2 tbsp

 Preparation (30 mins):

Whisk the yougurt with 1/2 a cup of water in a large bowl. Gently fold in the chickpea flour, whisking constantly so that there are no lumps left. Add the turmeric to the mixture and continue blending.

Saute the ginger, add cumin, cinnamon and red chilis to the mix. Once it starts to pop add cayene, a dash of salt and pour in the yogurt mix.

Cook on low heat for 15 mins while stirring continuously. Add a little water if required.
Just before finishing, throw in the pepper corns, cover and let it simmer for 5 mins.

Cool and serve.


  • Kadhi leftover from dinnermakes for a great lunch with rice- especially if you have one of those marathon siestas planned.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spinach Cream with Arteisan Indian Cheese Cubes

Ok, Let's call this as how it's called back home in India- "Palak Paneer". But I kinda liked the new name- more exotic. Palak (spinach) was seasonal, before the advent of hypermarkets and frozen veggies. Winter meant new potatoes, carrots, beets, raddish, turnips, spinach, mustard, and new rice. And 'Palak Paneer' was a seasonal treat. Here's a quick recipe that evolved while trying to conjure a part of that wintry evening magic for a guest of mine.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Cottage Cheese (Paneer)- 200 gm cut into 1 inch sticks.If you are unable to locate paneer, you could try with whatever local option's available. Maybe a haloumi?
  • Spinach- 500 gm
  • Onion- 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Garam Masala- 1/2  tsp
  • Red Chilli's- 2 large
  • Ghee (clarified butter)- 3 tbsp
  • Salt- To taste
Preparation (45 mins):

Wash and puree the spinach. On low heat fry the paneer pieces, taking care that they do not break, till one side is golden brown. Remove the paneer from the pan and add the onions. Saute till translucent, add red chillis and turn up heat. In a minute or so add garam masala and stir.

Add the blended spinach, paneer. Cover and let simmer for 10 mins.


Serve hot with rice or roti


  • If you prefer a mellower rather than a spinachy flavour, you could cook for another ten minutes or so, but mind you, you will be loosing all the vitamin boost that comes from fresh veggies. ;)
  • For a creamier taste stir in a couple of spoonfuls of fresh cream just before taking it off the stove.
  • If you are adventurous, you could substitute the spinach with mustard leaves for a drier, pungent dish- a recipe common to North Indian Punjabi kitchens in winter.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chicken Reshmi Kebabs

Going camping to Dimaniyat Islands off the Batinah coast of Oman over the weekend. If you are ever this side it's highly recommended. Great snorkel and dive spot, it's a protected sanctuary- nesting site for Hawksbill & Green Turtles besides being among the few places left in Oman where you can spot the rare Sooty Falcon. You can get permits to camp on the islands can be obtained from the Ministry of Tourism.

It's going to be a full moon night and we are camping on Police Island and the plan is to have a barbecue on the island. For my contribution I thought of doing a quick Reshmi Kebab. Here's the recipe, and will update on the final version and the trip once I am back. And, oh yes, this recipe is a tribute to one of the best kebab places from my home town- Shiraaz

Ingredients (Serves 4- as main course):

  • Chicken breasts- 1kg
  • Onion- 1 large
  • Garlic- 4 large cloves
  • Ginger- 1/2 inch
  • Pepper- 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli- 1large (for colour)
  • Garam Masala- 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon- 1/2 large
  • Oil- 1 tbsp
  • Salt- To taste

Preparation (Marination- Overnight, cooking time- 15 mins):

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Grind chilli, pepper into fine powder. Chop onion, garlic, ginger- add to pepper chilli powder and blend into fine paste.


Clean chicken, add salt, oil, lemon juice, garam masala, and the blended onion-garlic-ginger-chilli-pepper paste. Mix well. Leave overnight to marinate.


When cooking just skewer on bamboo sticks, or alternately seal in double layer of aluminum foil and place over barbecue fire. If you are going the skewer way, you know it's done when the chicken starts to glaze over. You can use a spare skewer to see if the meat comes cleanly off- then it's done. Alternatively, just wrap in foil and toss in the fire for 10 mins. It will be done.

Will post photo's of the final product if I can over the weekend. Till then m'salama.

Added later: Setting the barbecue pit right
Added later: And cooking away to glory. With a proper fire the meat gets done in 20 mins.  

  • If you are doing this at home sans a barbecue fire, just place in a baking dish, cover with foil and cook in oven for 20 mins at 150C. One other thing, I would recommend adding a little more garam masala, a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the marinade. You will have a nice sauce to accompany your kebab-curry
  • While barbecuing you will know that the meat is done when it starts glazing over slightly. Poke with a spare skewer to see it comes out cleanly or not.