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Bharwan Karela Recipe | Stuffed Karela/Bitter Gourd Recipe | भरवाँ करेले

Bharwan Karela Recipe | Stuffed Karela/Bitter Gourd Recipe | भरवाँ करेले

Stuffed Karela or bharwan karela is a delicacy. Don’t screw your nose — bitter gourd if pre-treated correctly and cooked well is delicious. This is a recipe which requires time but rewards you generously in terms of flavour. This is my late mother’s recipe. As this was dad’s favourite, she would make it often and for some reason I’ve loved it since childhood. My kids are not so fond of the karela though they love to eat the stuffing. I am gently nudging them to try out the karela too. 🙂 After all, they enjoy bitter chocolate and coffee now.

So, whenever I can get the smaller, rounder variety, I make a large batch of stuffed karela. You can keep it in fridge for 3-4 days and keep frying them as per need.

bharwan karela stuffed karela

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

8-9 small bittergourd (karelas)

2 onions sliced

1 onion chopped

1 tbsp. ginger paste

1 tbsp. garlic paste

1 tbsp. cumin powder

2 tbsp. coriander powder

1 tbsp. aniseed (saunf) powder

1 tbsp. red chilly powder

1 tbsp. tamarind paste

salt to taste

1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds

Mustard oil to fry

Recipe:

Take the bittergourd and scrape lightly with a knife. Now make a vertical slit from top to the bottom and scoop out the flesh and seeds of the karela. Discard the seeds if hard. Keep the scrapings and scooped flesh. Generally to reduce the bitterness of karela, I apply some salt both inside and outside and keep aside for half an hour. You can apply salt to the scrapings as well and keep aside.

After half an hour, wash off the karelas off all the salt, dry and keep aside.

Prepare the stuffing

Take some mustard oil in a kadhai. Add sliced onions, ginger garlic paste, bitter gourd scrapings and flesh and fry till golden brown. Now blend into a thick paste when it cools down. Fry this paste in the kadhai along with the chopped onion and all the masala powders, salt and tamarind pulp. Let the stuffing be thick. Check taste and adjust seasoning. Let the stuffing cool down.

Prepare the karelas

Now take the split karelas and spoon the stuffing inside generously. To prevent the karelas from opening up while frying, I tie the normal sewing thread around them to keep them intact.

Now heat some more mustard oil. Add fenugreek seeds and allow them to sputter. Shallow fry the karelas on both sides on a low flame till they are well cooked and brown in colour. You can cover the kadhai when they are cooking.

Serve them hot with chapatis and dal. They are delicious.

Try them and let me know how you liked it.

Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe

Baingan Ka Bharta Recipe

Plump large eggplants or brinjal have almost exclusively been used to make bharta at my place. This is one simple recipe that can transform this bland vegetable to a delightfully spicy and tasty dish. It is also a very simple dish to prepare. Here is the recipe of baingan ka bharta:

baingan bharta recipe

Ingredients

1/2 Kg large eggplants

1 onion finely chopped

2-3 tomatoes finely chopped

1.5 large tbsp. ginger garlic green chillies minced or crushed

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. chilly powder

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. coriander powder

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

2 tsp. mustard oil or any other oil that you have

salt to taste

coriander leaves to garnish

Recipe:

Roast the brinjal on fire till they are charred on the outside and well cooked on the inside. Let them cool and then peel off the burnt skin. Finely chop or mash the pulp and keep aside. Now take oil in a pan. Put in cumin seeds and allow them to sputter. Add onions and ginger-garlic-chilly chopped. Cook for a few minutes till onions are transparent and slightly golden. Now add the tomatoes and cook some more till they have released their water. Add in the brinjal pulp and all the masalas including salt. Mix well. Cover and cook till everything seems well integrated. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Your baingan ka bharta is ready. Serve hot. Have with hot rotis smeared with ghee. Absolute bliss! This is pure homecooked comfort food. Do try this recipe and let me know.

baingan bharta recipe

Tip

Roasted brinjal tastes better if roasted on coal fire.

Some people discard the stub but I enjoy having it.

 

Chicken Teriyaki Easy Recipe

Chicken Teriyaki Easy Recipe

I’ve eaten chicken teriyaki many times in restaurants and finally I decided to make it at home. Made with a few ingredients, this is a surprisingly tasty dish to conjure. It is also versatile, and I did innovate a bit with the ingredients. The best part about making this is that you just need to marinate the chicken for 15 minutes, and hence it is a tasty dish that you can make in a rush.

chicken teriyaki

Here is my recipe:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 chicken breast fillets (further cut into thinner fillets)

2 tbsp. dark soy sauce

1 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tbsp. miso (optional)

1 tbsp. grated ginger

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper

A little salt

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. sesame seeds for garnish

Recipe:

Add all the marinade ingredients to the chicken breast fillets and let them marinate for about 15 minutes. Now take a hot pan. Add sesame oil and then add in the fillets. Cook on both sides till well cooked and caramelly.

Serve hot, garnished with sesame seeds. It truly is delicious. Sweet, peppery and salty, you will love it. Have it as is or with sticky rice/fried rice.

You can watch my video of how to make this dish:

 

Let me know how it turned out.

Methi Chicken Recipe | Chicken Curry with Fenugreek Leaves

Methi Chicken Recipe | Chicken Curry with Fenugreek Leaves

I had methi chicken for the first time at Tandoor in Bangalore and totally loved it. Methi (which is normally slightly bitter) went so well with chicken and the spices complemented the gravy perfectly. So, well I had to try it out at home. This recipe is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe and it did turn out quite good even at first attempt.

Here is the recipe:

methi chicken

Ingredients:

750 gm. chicken cut in pieces with bone

1 cup fresh methi leaves (you can use 3 tbsp. kasoori methi as a substitute)

2 tbsp. ginger paste

2 tbsp. garlic paste

2 medium onions finely chopped

3-4 green chillies slit

2 tbsp. oil

2 tsp. red chilly powder

2 tbsp. coriander powder

2 tsp. garam masala powder

1 tsp. turmeric powder

1 cup yoghurt/curd whisked

Salt to taste

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2-3 cloves

4 green cardamom

2 bay leaves

1 small piece cinnamon

2 black cardamom

1/2 tsp. kasoori methi for garnish

Recipe:

Clean and wash the chicken. Dry and keep aside.

Heat oil in a large pan/kadhai. Add in the cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom both green and black, cinnamom and bay leaves. Saute for about a minute till the spices get cooked. Now add in the onions. Cook it till they are translucent. Add in the ginger-garlic paste and saute for about 3-4 minutes till they seem cooked. Now add in the slit green chillies, turmeric powder, coriander powder and chilly powder and saute for a minute.

Now add chicken pieces to this masala along with yoghurt. Mix well and cook on high for about 7-8 minutes.

Finely chop the methi leaves and saute in a tsp. of oil till cooked. Add this to the chicken and add a little water if it is too dry. Add salt. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. The chicken should be tender by now and the gravy becomes thick. Add in the garam masala now.You can add more water if you want thinner gravy. Do taste and adjust salt and spices if you do so.

You can add more water if you want thinner gravy. Do taste and adjust salt and spices if you do so.

Serve hot garnished with some kasuri methi (dried methi leaves). This goes equally well with both chapatis and rice. It does taste better if kept for some hours.

Tip: If you don’t have fresh methi leaves, use 3 tbsp. kasuri methi instead. You don’t need to saute it. Just add it to the chicken with some water.

 

 

Dum Aloo UP Style Recipe

Dum Aloo UP Style Recipe

Dum Aloo made UP style was a favourite at my home. There was a special Dum aloo spice mix that dad used to bring from Allahabad which was really delicious. But in its absence mum made do with garam masala. This recipe is simple comfort, home food and a bit different from the famous Kashmiri Dum Aloo.

dum aloo UP style

Ingredients

½ Kg. Baby Potatoes

1 cup thick curd or yoghurt

1 large tomato finely chopped or grated

1-inch piece ginger grated

2-3 green chillies slit in half

1 tsp. chilly powder (You can use 1 tsp. Degi or Kashmiri Mirch powder for its beautiful red colour and 1 tsp. regular chilly powder for taste)

1 tsp. garam masala powder

½ tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. coriander powder

1 tsp. roasted and powdered saunf (fennel) powder

1-2 cups water

3 tbsp. ghee/oil

salt to taste

Coriander leaves for garnish

Whole garam masala

1 bay leaf

4 cloves

1 small piece cinnamon

3-4 green cardamom

½ tsp. cumin seeds

Recipe:

Parboil the baby potatoes either in a pan or a pressure cooker. Make sure it is slightly underdone. Now let them cool and peel them. This is the most time-consuming process and takes about 15-20 minutes. Pierce them with fork and keep aside.

Now heat ghee/oil in the pan. Lightly saute the potatoes till they are golden brown and keep aside. Some people deep fry the potatoes but I avoid doing that.

Now use the ghee/oil left in the pan. Add in all the whole garam masala (cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves). Fry for a minute. Now add in the grated tomato and ginger. Cook it for 5 minutes till the tomato looks cooked. Now add the slit green chillies and baby potatoes. Fry for about 2 minutes.

Take the curd and beat it well. Add it gently to the mix in the pan after lowering the heat. Add in the turmeric powder, chilly powder, garam masala powder, saunf powder and coriander powder and mix well. Add salt to taste.

Simmer it for 8-10 minutes keeping a lid on. If the curd curdles, do not worry. Just mix everything well. Add more water if you want a thinner gravy. If not you will get a thicker gravy.

Serve it hot after garnishing with coriander leaves with rotis or boiled rice.

It is simple and delicious home-cooked food. Let me know if you try the recipe.

Panchmel Dal / Pachmel Dal Recipe

Panchmel Dal / Pachmel Dal Recipe

Panchmel Dal / Pachmel Dal Recipe

Panchmel Dal or Pachmel Dal as my mum used to call it is a delectable lentil recipe that is bursting with nutrition and flavour. Dal or lentils are an essential part of an Indian vegetarian diet. It is a fantastic source of protein and is made all over the country albeit in different variations.

So panchmel dal is made with a combination of 5 lentils. It is made in Rajasthan and UP (at least in my home).

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup split pigeon peas (Tuar/Arhar Dal)
1/4 cup whole green gram (Moong)
1/4 cup split bengal gram (Chana Dal)
1/4 cup split black gram with skin (Split Urad Dal)
1/4 cup whole red lentils (Saboot Masoor Dal)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. red chilly powder
1 tbsp. coriander powder

1 tbsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. garam masala powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1 tbsp. garlic paste
2-3 split green chillies
2 large tomatoes

For Tadka (Tempering)

2 tbsp. Ghee (clarified butter)/oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 pinch asafoetida
2-3 dry red chillies
1 inch piece ginger juliennes
5-6 cloves garlic minced
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:

Wash and soak the lentils for 2 hours. Pressure cook them in enough water with ginger garlic paste, split green chillies, tomatoes and turmeric till they are mushy. Keep aside.
Heat the lentil mix in a large pan/kadhai. If very thick add some water. Now add in the coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder along with salt. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Prepare the tempering in another pan. Heat ghee. Add in cumin, asafoetida and red chillies. Let the cumin splutter.

Now add the julienned ginger and minced garlic. Heat for a couple of minutes. Don’t let them burn.

Now tip them in hot Panchmel Dal that is simmering away. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with boiled rice or rotis.

Tip

  1. This dal is served slightly thick and not runny. As you store it, it gets even thicker and tastier as the flavours of the spices get enhanced. So add a little water and adjust seasoning.
  2. If you like your dal mild, you can reduce the quantity of chilly powder or do away with it. Trust me, this dal is not very spicy or hot.
Rohu in Bengali Style Mustard Curry

Rohu in Bengali Style Mustard Curry

rohu in bengali style mustard  curry

Golden brown pieces of succulent rohu (Indian carp) in golden brown, silken pungent, fiery gravy is the stuff dreams are made of. I took to fish very late in life. This mustard style curry that I’ve had at my Bengali friends’ houses, I’ve loved. I tried making it with recipes on the internet but somehow it never turned right. Either it was too pungent or too tasteless.

Many failed experiments, and I’ve finally come up with a recipe that tastes pretty good. Thanks to a Bengali friend who gave me some good inputs and also Sanjeev Kapoor recipe that I modified. So here you go:

Ingredients:

8 pieces/fillets Rohu fish (ask for Bengali curry cut) (without head)

2 onions chopped finely

1 tbsp. ginger paste

1 tbsp. garlic paste

1 tbsp. mustard paste

4 tbsp. Mustard oil

1 tsp. mustard seeds

½ tsp. kalonji (onion) seeds

2 tsp. red chilly powder

2 tsp. coriander powder

1 tsp. turmeric powder

2 tsp. lemon juice

4-5 green chillies

chopped coriander to garnish

Salt to taste

Recipe:

First, clean the fish and marinate it with turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice and keep aside.

Heat 2 tbsp. of mustard oil and cook the fish fillets till they are golden brown. Keep aside.

To make the gravy, take the remaining mustard oil in the same pan. Heat it and add mustard seeds and kalonji. Allow them to sputter. Add in the onions and ginger-garlic paste and cook till the onions are golden brown and ginger garlic paste is assimilated.

You can make the mustard paste by adding a little warm water and blending it. Now add this paste to the onion, ginger-garlic paste. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Now add chilly powder, coriander powder and salt. Add in a cup of water and the fried fish pieces along with slit green chillies. Cover and cook till the gravy looks well cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with boiled rice.

The gravy is slightly runny and goes well with rice. You will love this curry.

Enjoy.

Tips:

  1. Unless you’ve grown up eating mustard, keep the amount of mustard paste less when you cook for the first time. The pungency of mustard is not everyone’s cup of tea.
  2. Buy fresh fish. Check the eyes. They should look clear and transparent. You can use Catla (Bengal carp) or any other firm fish.

Let me know how it turned out.

Avarekai Bisi Bele Bath recipe

Avarekai Bisi Bele Bath recipe

avarekai bisi bele bath

It is Sunday and the only day when I feel like putting in some extra time to cook elaborate dishes like Bisi Bele Bath (yes, that is how they spell it here) and Chicken Biryani. This dish is a special rice dish served in the South. You will find it on the menu of grahpravesh (housewarming) and wedding meals among other special feasts. I fell in love with this dish when I had it for the first time. Spicy, tangy and yummy. What’s not to like, eh? My mother-in-law’s younger sister who is known for her culinary prowess in the family makes it from scratch every time which includes making the masala powder fresh. I do dig her bisi bele bath powder which makes my work easier. But poor health is stopping her from making it these days.

Then, my friend Janaki, who has started her own food venture, Nutrisattva, came to my rescue. I have already tried her sambhar powder and like it. So, I asked her to send her fresh, homemade bisi bele bath powder. Armed with it, I decided to make this dish today morning for breakfast. It is heavy enough for a brunch but then you have not seen the appetite of my boys.

This one is made with fresh avarekai (also called avarebele) which is in season right now. Avarekai is a local bean, flat bean that the Kannadigas have orgasms over. This bean is in season only for the two winter months of December and January. It is the time when you find an overload of this quaint bean in everything that comes out of the Kannadiga kitchen. Tossed in upma, used in sambhar, made a curry with, used generously in dosas, idlis, akki roti — you get the picture, right? You also have an avarekai mela every year near Sajjan Rao Circle in Bangalore where you can get to taste yummy dishes and weird ones like avarekai halwa (which looked like green goo and tasted only of sugar) and avarekai kaju katli (which was terrible). The avarekai dosa, akki roti, sambhar, obbattu were yummy though. The crowds were maddening. No place to even stand and eat while we jostled with annoying hawkers, bikers and two wheeler riders. Long queues and general disorder put you off. I am definitely not visiting again but I have added a couple of recipes to my repertoire after eating here.

So back to this recipe now. Inputs from Janaki for the recipe with my minor tweaks.

6 hearty serves

Ingredients:

250 gms. Avarekai beans (peeled, shell removed) (You could alternatively use onions, potatoes, tomatoes, french beans, carrots, knol khol etc.)

3 cups rice

1.5 cups tuar dal (pigeon peas)

1 small ball of tamarind immersed in hot water, strain its juice

4 tbsp. bisi bele bath powder (Start with lesser quantity and add more depending on your taste)

1 tbsp. chilly powder (I prefer mine hotter but you could skip it)

1 sprig curry leaves

salt to taste

For tempering:

2 tbsp. ghee or oil

1 tsp. mustard seeds

2 sprigs curry leaves

1 tbsp. gram dal and udad dal

1/2 tsp. heeng or asafoetida

Recipe:

Wash the rice and dal and cook it with equal quantity of water and 1 tsp. of salt in a pressure cooker till it is soft and mushy. If you are using vegetables cook them separately in water with a bit of salt till done. I avoid cooking them in the pressure cooker along with rice and dal because they get overcooked. Now in a kadhai or big patila/pan, boil 1 cup of water. If you are using avarekai beans, add them to hot water. They cook pretty quickly. Now to this water add the tamarind extract, bisi bele bath powder, salt and curry leaves. Let it simmer till the avarekai beans are cooked. Takes about 10-15 minutes.

Now tip your cooked dal and rice mixture to the simmering beans with tamarind and masala. Add well. If it is too thick add more water. Taste and adjust seasoning. I added some chilly powder as it was a little less hot for my taste. You can add more bisi bele bath powder too if you want. The consistency should be porridgy that is slightly runny. Cook on simmer for about 5 minutes so that everything is well incorporated.

Before serving, temper with the tempering ingredients. Heat ghee/oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, heeng and dal till the mustard sputters. Now add the curry leaves and after 30 seconds, tip it into the bisi bele bath. Mix well and serve hot. It is tasty as it is. In many places, it is served with potato chips or khara boondi. You can also serve it with a side of raita (yoghurt with cucumber, onion and chillies). Enjoy! It is hearty, filling and yummy. A lovely brunch on a Sunday. Hope you enjoy it.

Kolhapuri style chicken curry

Kolhapuri style chicken curry

kolhapuri style chicken curry

These days, my husband has taken onto chicken in a big way. And, I am quickly exhausting my chicken curry recipes. So, I decided to try this recipe. It is fiery, creamy, coconutty and spicy — what’s not to like! And, I must tell you that the gravy turned out so good even with first try. Normally, I make the recipe and make changes in it the second time around to cook to the taste I like. That is actually the key to cooking with any recipe. Improvise on the masalas as you cook and customize as per your taste.

Anyhow, in this recipe, I made a few changes as I went cooking. And the gravy was actually finger-licking tasty. So without much ado, let me share the recipe:

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Serves 6

Ingredients:

I Kg. chicken cut in curry pieces with bone

Marinade:

1/2 cup curd

1 tbsp. garlic paste

2 tsp red chilly powder

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. lemon juice

salt to taste

Curry base

2 tsp. oil

3 medium onions chopped fine

1/2 coconut cut into small pieces

2 tomatoes chopped

Kolhapuri masala:

2 bay leaves

6-7 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

12-15 black peppercorns

1 tbsp. coriander powder

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. chilly powder

Recipe:

Marinate the chicken in the marinade ingredients for an hour.

In a kadhai/wok, heat oil. Add in the bay leaves, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and fry for a couple of minutes. Add in the onion. Fry for about 5 minutes till translucent. Add in the coconut and fry for 5 more minutes. Now tip in the tomatoes and cook till they are squishy. Take it off the fire and blend to a smooth paste in the mixer.

Take some oil in the wok. Add the marinated chicken and cook covered on low heat for about 25 minutes. Now add in the masala paste. Add the coriander powder and garam masala powder. Mix well and cook for some more time till the chicken is well cooked and the gravy is nice and thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve with boiled rice. Enjoy!

Thai Red Curry with shrimp

Thai Red Curry with shrimp

Thai red curry recipe

I just love Thai food. The aroma of lemon grass, the subtle taste of basil and the fire from the Thai chillies. Thai food has sweet, sour and spicy and what is not to like about that. 🙂 Since I can’t source galangal and kaffir lime leaves, I prefer to buy the red curry paste. Of course, one many substitute with local ingredients. This recipe uses store-bought Thai red curry paste.

Now, this recipe is very versatile. You can vary the vegetables you use depending upon what you have at home. You can change the protein as per your preference. I have made this curry with shrimp, fish, chicken and paneer, and each time it is yummy. Of course, the vegetarians can replace the oyster sauce with soy sauce.

This really is very quick to prepare. Serve it hot with aromatic jasmine rice, basmati rice or any other good quality steamed rice.

For 4 hearty serves:

Ingredients:

100 gm. Mushroom chopped

I cup Peppers (green, red, yellow) cut long

1 Zucchini cut in rounds

4 small brinjals cut in slices

1 broccoli cut in florets

8-10 baby corn chopped

250 gm. shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined

Basil leaves 10-15

Fresh lemon grass 1 (use only the tender white base) chopped fine

2-3 hot thai chillies for garnish (optional)

1 tsp. Lemon juice

1 tsp. jaggery or palm sugar

Salt to taste

Thai red curry paste 3-4 tbsp.

Shrimp stock 1/2 cup or plain water

2 tbsp. Oyster sauce

400 ml. Coconut milk

2 tsp. vegetable oil

Recipe:

Clean and chop all vegetables. I prefer not to steam the veggies as I don’t like them mushy. I prefer them to retain their bite. Heat oil in a wok/kadhai and fry the red curry paste for a couple of minutes. Add in the chopped lemon grass. Add in the slowest cooking veggies like broccoli, brinjal and baby corn. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Now add in the zucchini.  Saute for a minute more. Now, slowly add the coconut milk to the kadhai. Make sure that you mix well to not leave any lumps of paste in the curry. I normally make stock with prawn shells and head that I add half a cup of to this curry. You can add plain water as well.

To this curry, add in the mushrooms and peppers. Add oyster sauce and palm sugar to the curry. Add salt but after tasting. Remember oyster sauce is salty too. Let the curry come to a boil. Now add in the prawns and basil leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning. Turn off the heat after 2 minutes.

After taking it off the heat, add the lemon juice. If you do it when it is on boil, then the coconut milk may curdle. Garnish with remaining basil leaves and sliced red chillies. Your fragrant Thai red curry is ready to serve. It is really yummy. Try it.

Helpful notes:

  • You may steam the veggies if you like them tender and then add them to the curry as they would require no initial cooking then.
  • Skip the lemon grass and basil if you can’t find them. Use lemon zest and coriander leaves instead.
  • To make shrimp stock, just boil the shells and head with lemon grass stalks and coriander stalks. Boil in water for about 10 minutes and strain the stock.
  • Prawns cook very fast and we don’t want them overcooked. If you are using chicken, you can use boiled chicken. For paneer just tip it in after the veggies and cook for 5 minutes.
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