Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dum Aloo

I find baby potatoes so cute looking and adorable that I never miss a chance to buy them when I spot them. I usually make either dum aloo with them or a spicy, dry masala fry. I don't use the dum technique per se for cooking these but just let them simmer for a long time so the potatoes can absorb the masalas.



Baby potatoes - 12, parboiled and peeled
Coriander leaves - chopped, for garnish
Thick yogurt - 2 tbsp
Milk / Cream - 2 tbsp
Oil - 4 tsp, divided
Cloves - 1
Cinnamon stick - half inch piece
Cumin seeds - half tsp
Salt - to taste

To Fry & Grind:
Onion - 1 large, peeled and cut into big pieces
Tomato - 1 medium, ripe
Garlic - 3 cloves
Ginger - half inch piece
Almonds/Cashews - about 8

Masala powders (to be mixed into a paste with some water)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Kitchen King Masala - 1 to 2 tsp

1) Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry the onion, ginger and garlic till browned on the edges. Add the tomatoes with a bit of salt and when they are mushy. Transfer out to a bowl and allow to cool a bit. Then grind this with almonds or cashews to a fine paste.

2) Return the same pan to the stove and add another tsp of oil, slightly prick the parboiled ( I used a microwave to do this), peeled potatoes and toss in the oil with a pinch or two of salt and allow them to get fried a bit.. They will just get a light brown colour. Take this out and keep aside.

3) Now add the remaining 2 tsp of oil and season with cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds and add the ground onion-tomato paste, followed by the masala powder paste with some salt and allow this to cook on a medium flame till it is nice and thick and the raw smell is gone.

4) Now add about a cup of water and the fried potatoes, let this come to a boil, cover, reduce flame and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or till thick. You will see some oil splitting and floating on the top after this. The reason we want this thick now is so the curd and milk mixture will bring it back to the right consistency.

5) Blend the curd with milk/cream until smooth and add to the gravy. Switch off the stove and cover again and let it stay for about 10 to 15 minutes before garnishing with coriander leaves and serving. If desired more cream can be drizzled on top.
Serve with naan, rotis or pulaos.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Potstickers / Vegetable Dumplings

I love potstickers and find these just as satisfying (sometimes even more so) than the deep fried spring rolls. These have a crunchy coating from the pan frying and the steaming method makes them a bit chewy as well. I usually use wonton wrappers that one can find in the freezers at the supermarket and they really make life easy because one just makes the filling and encloses them in the wrappers. These can then be frozen for later or pan-fried immediately or even steamed.

The wonton wrappers that I had on hand weren't wrapped properly after the first time I took them out so turned rather brittle. I then resorted to making the outer covering myself similar to what is used for momos, just a dough of all purpose flour, salt and some water. These were time consuming but they still tasted good and were a lot chewier than the wonton wrappers. One could also just steam these and they are just as tasty.


For the dough: (or use store-bought wonton wrappers)
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Water - as required to make a stiff dough
Oil - 2 to 3 tsp to cook the dumplings

For the Filling:
Carrots - 2, cut into thin slivers
Cabbage - 1 cup, sliced thinly or chopped
Ginger - 1/2 inch, grated
Garlic - 1 to 2 cloves, chopped
Spring Onions - 3 to 4, chopped (I didn't have any this time)
Soy Sauce - 1 to 2 tsp
Sriracha chilli sauce - to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
(You could add other veggies as per your preference like mushrooms, beans etc.)


1) For homemade dough, mix the flour, salt and water to make a stiff dough.

2) For the filling, heat the 2 tsp of oil and add the whites of spring onions, ginger and garlic, after abt 20-30 seconds, add in the veggies and a pinch of salt and stir-fry till crisp-tender. Stir in the soy & chilli sauces with pepper to taste & spring onion tops (greens) and when done. Keep aside and allow to cool a bit.

3) Pinch small portions of the dough and roll out into circles of 3 to 4 inch diameters. Place the filling in the middle and close over to make a semi-circle. Pinch the edges together. If using the wonton wrappers, follow a similar procedure and fold over to form triangles, a bit of water along the edges will help seal the wrappers. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.

4) Heat a wide, shallow pan and spread a layer of oil... Place the potstickers/dumplings flat in a single layer (possibly in batches). Allow to cook for a few minutes until the bottoms of the pot stickers brown a bit and get crispy. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the hot pan, cover and allow the dumplings to get steam cooked.

5) Serve with dipping sauce of choice or even plain.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spicy Cabbage Curry

This is a very simple, spicy, dry curry and something that a friend whipped up. I've only made poriyals/thorans with cabbage or a few kootu varieties and that usually involves coconut but this just needs a bit of chilli powder and the channa dhal lends a bit of bite and comes together very quickly... so I was sure to try this at home and liked it.


Cabbage - 3 to 4 cups, chopped into half inch pieces
Onion - half of a medium one, sliced thinly into 1 inch pieces
Ginger - 1/4 inch piece, grated
Chilli powder - 1 to 2 tsp, or to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - half tsp
Urad dhal - half tsp
Channa dhal - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - few

1) Heat the oil in a pan and add the seasonings, asafoetida and curry leaves.

2) Next add the ginger and onion and fry till transparent. Then add the chopped cabbage, chilli powder and salt.

3) Allow this to fry for a few minutes, sprinkle some water, cover and allow to cook on a medium flame, till done. I usually don't let it become too soft so there's a bit of crunch. Keep stirring every few minutes so it doesn't stick to the bottom.

4) When it's dry, remove from the stove and it's ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coconut Buns

I've always loved Coconut Buns that we get in Indian bakeries and was so happy when the Salara I tried from Cynthia's place was pretty close. They were my absolute favorite with soft buns (cut into triangular wedges) encasing a sweet, coconut-tutti frutti mixture. On those days my mom couldn't get these, she would buy the coconut puffs instead but that never quite stood up to the buns. Infact, since I loved it so much, my grandparents actually bought an entire round bun (which was not cut into wedges) from a bakery and I cut into that for one of my birthdays instead of a cake :)

So, a few weeks back, I decided to bake these coconut stuffed buns and we really enjoyed the treat. The buns were soft and the coconut filling was delicious. I had some tutti frutti leftover from this Plum Cake I had baked and so added that as well along with some dates and raisins. The next time however, I think I will use brown sugar instead of white so the filing can get that deep colour that the store bought ones have. I also didn't glaze the buns with egg whites or mik so they had a dull looking exterior but that didn't take away from the taste one bit.


For the Buns:
Active dry yeast - 1 pack
Warm water - 1/4 cup
Warm milk - 1 cup
Butter - 3 tbsp, softened
Eggs - 1
Sugar - 3 to 4 tbsp
Salt - 0.5 tsp
Bread flour - 3.5 cups (bread flour is preferable, else All purpose flour is fine)

For the Filling: (Combine the following in a bowl)Coconut grated - 1.5 cups, run it through the mixie to make it softer if using frozen
Combination of Tutti Frutti, Raisins & Dates - 0.5 cups, chopped
Sugar - 1 cup or slighty lesser.
Cardamom, powdered - 1/4 tsp or more

Method:1) To the warm milk, add yeast and sugar and mix. Allow this to proof for about 10 minutes. It will become foamy.

2) Mix flour and salt and butter. Add the yeast-milk mixture and combine until you get a  sticky dough. Knead well until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 6 to 8 minutes).

3) Spray a bowl with some oil, place dough, cover with wrap and put in a warm place (e.g. oven with light on) and let it rise for an hour or so until it doubles.

4) Punch down the dough and knead lightly. Then take a piece of about 2.5 inches diameter and flatten it lightly to a circle, place about 2 tbsp of the filling in the middle. Pull the edges over the filling and enclose it. Seal it and place on a greased parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough. I got about 16 buns. 

5) Cover with wrap and allow to rise again till doubled about 45 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. If preferred you can brush an egg white wash or milk over the buns before baking.

6) Allow to cool a bit and serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps well for a few days on the counter.