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Rasagulla or Rosogulla

The culinary journey can not be replete without the mention of the sweets of the region which has carved a niche for itself all across the globe. The tinned rasagulla are also easily available in most parts of the world especially the ones boasting of trendy Indian restaurants and eateries. They are also available on the shelves of supermarkets storing ready to eat Indian food.

I was greatly surprised to find that Rasagulla originally did not belong to Bengal but travelled from the neighbouring state of Orissa. The history of Rasagulla is also not very old and it reached in the hands of Nobin Das in West Bengal somewhere around 1868 who made a name for himself while perfecting it for the masses. His recipe was readily accepted by the people of Bengal thus giving him the title of “Columbus of Rasagulla”.

Some of you adventurous readers, if still willing to explore the popular recipe in its originality, you can undertake a visit to the small village of “Pahala”, just 5 km north of Bhubaneswar which is the capital city of the state of Orissa located in eastern India.

The village has a long history of selling milk based sweets but they are different from the popular size, shape and texture of Rasagulla.  What also came in aid of of Nobin Das was that his recipe also eliminated the possibility of the sweet turning sour which was precisely the case with the Oriya recipe; hence he was able to exploit the marketing potential of this sweet at the time when travelling was arduous and time consuming.

The now eponymous K.C.Das sweet shops and ready to eat Rasgulla is the best example of how the modified recipe has changed the destiny of this famous dish. K.C. Das co-incidentally is the direct descendants of “Halwai “Moin Das and have made fortunes just selling this delectable sweet.

How would one describe it to the person who wou;d taste it for the first time. I am not sure but one can develop their own description which somehow would sound like “soft, spongy balls of cottage cheese simmered in flavoured sugar syrup…. Nicely made Rasgulla melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting more…always and nobody would know it better than the Bengalis.

The recipe which I have given below also depends upon the kind of milk you are using. The one I prefer to use if the low fat cow milk containing around 2%fat. If this remains an obstacle, then remove the cream from the cold cow milk after it has been boiled to reach nearly to the stage of obtaining 1.5-2%milk fat.


2 litres 2% cow milk

¼ cup lime juice

1/4 cup warm water

2 tbsp refined flour


2 ½ cup sugar

5 cups water

1 whole lime, halved


    Slowly bring the milk to boil in a suitable large stainless container stirring from time to time to prevent sticking to the bottom.. As soon as it reaches the boiling point, add the diluted lemon juice and stir to mix well. At this stage the whey will separate from the milk protein which appears like coarse big irregular cheese.
    After the curdling, the good indication of which is the clear light green whey, strain the content through a muslin cloth and in the cloth itself wash the cheese with cold running water to remove as much lime taste from the surface as possible.
    Rest the cheese in the muslin cloth, hanging it from a hook at this time for 30minutes to remove excess moisture. Do not press which will unnecessarily harden the cheese and ultimately affect the rasagulla.
    Remove the cheese on to a marble/granite/kitchen surface and start kneading until cheese is almost smooth. This may make your hand feel greasy which good indication that it has been kneaded well is.
    Sprinkle little refined flour at a time and slowly work it to amalgamate with the now smoothen cheese.
    Mix the sugar and water in a suitably large stainless steel pressure cooker and bring the mixture to a boil (without covering the pressure cooker). Drop the lemon without squeezing to clarify the impurities
    While the sugar syrup is getting ready, divide the cheese dough into equal size pieces. Shape them into balls rolling firmly between two palms until smooth on top.
    Gently add the balls to the sugar syrup and cover the pressure cooker without applying the weight. Gently simmer them in the sugar liquid until they become double in size (getting the perfect shape and size requires some good practice before you can obtain the prefect rasagulla).
    Remove the lid from the cooker and allow the rasagulla to cool down completely before touching them. They will have expanded to almost double their original size and will be delicate when hot.
    When cool, pour the rose water or saffron syrup (made by soaking the saffron strands in a little warm water) on the Rasgullas and chill for a few hours before serving.

Bon appétit

Tags: tikka masala, dhokla, vindaloo, palak, roti, sambhar, idli, handi, dal, bhatura

Delicacies of the past- royal regalia episode

While I also have to wait for sometime now to post few of the recipes from the Rajasthan
episode, it was always there in the mind to back up the earlier posted blogs with some fantastic

Hara Mutton
1 kg shoulder of lamb
3 medium red onions
½ cup refined oil
1 bunch of fresh spinach
1small bunch of spring onion
1bunch fresh coriander leaves
2tbsp green chili paste
1tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
5 green cardamom
2 black cardamom
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
5 cloves
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

For the preparation:
Debone the lamb, remove sinews and extra fat, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. You can also ask your
butcher to do the same for you. For extra flavour, you can also prepare the lamb stock with the
bone by simmering it for 2-3hours with few onions, carrot, bayleaf and peppercorn.
Peel and chop the onions. Clean and wash spinach, spring onion and coriander. Blend them
using small amount of water until smooth. Remove in a bowl and add the green chili paste.

For the cooking:
Heat oil in a pan; add both the cardamoms, cinnamon and bay leaf. As soon as it starts
crackling, add chopped onions and fry until light golden. In order to enable onion release water,
add pinch of salt which is hygroscopic in nature.
Next add cubes of mutton and some salt and stir fry on medium heat until surface of lamb has
all browned. At this stage add ginger-garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.
It is the time for the masalas do the wonders now, add all the powdered maslaas and fry until
each of the mutton cubes are well coated with the blend.
Check the doneness of the mutton, add little water/ mutton stock and simmer until mutton is
almost done. Stir in the green paste from the bowl (spring onion, spinach, coriander and green
chili paste) and simmer for another 2-3minutes until mutton pieces are well coated with the
paste. Check seasoning, sprinkle lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot

The other interesting recipe which is unique and little difficult for the moderate palate is laal
. It challenges even the fiercest supporters of authentic spicy food.
1 kg leg of lamb
20 red Rajasthani chili
½ cup refined oil
3 medium red onions
1 whole garlic pod
5 green cardamom
3 black cardamom
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup thick curd
3 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For garnish

For the preparation:
Clean the lamb, remove excess fat, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes on the bone.
Remove stems from the chilies, slit open in half and remove seeds. Soak in warm water for
10minutes. Blend to obtain smooth paste.
Peel and crush garlic. Peel, wash and finely slice onions. Peel and cut the ginger into julienne
(matchstick size). Wash and chop coriander.
Toast the cumin in a dry pan until lightly colored and aromatic, immediately transfer to a cold
surface. Crush it into fine powder using a pestle.
Whisk curd in a bowl, add cumin, coriander and turmeric powder and whisk again lightly to mix

For the cooking:
Heat oil in a deep bottom pan, add garlic and sauté for 2minutes until lightly colored and
aromatic. Add sliced onion and both the cardamoms and fry for 8-10minutes until onion is
golden brown.
Next add mutton cubes and salt, stir for 8-10minutes until the pieces are lightly colored. Add
the yogurt mixture and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Check doneness of lamb, add enough water to cover the lamb and bring to simmer. Cover with
a lid, stirring occasionally to make sure that it is not sticking to bottom. Check for doneness
again, it should be tender and the gravy should be thick. Adjust seasoning and remove from
Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and ginger julienne and serve on the bed of chapatti as
tradition would suggest. Few people would crush some crispy poppadum on sprinkle on top of

Tags: chicken, bhatura, curries, chana, gosht, balti, dosa, indian curry, roti, sambhar


One of the recent highlight of my trip to Jaipur was a dish made with three berries namely kair,
sangria and kumita. I am not sure whether five star hotels are the real place to have the original
experience as they are famous for developing their own version. Out of wild berries growing
freely in the Thar dessert, one of Marwari’s cuisine’s signature dish was born to be known all
around India as a culinary representative of Marwaris of Rajsthan.
Piquant and tangy, Kair-sangri-kumita is a simple vegetarian preparation and an experience of
Rajsthani cuisine is not replete without a curious bite of this otherwise mundane preparation.
Kair, sangria and kumita are actually wild berries which grow abundantly in Thar dessert region
and are there for easy picking. The scarcity of green vegetables and their high prices have
pushed these berries into day to day usage in the home kitchen of Rajsthan. Legend has it that
these berries were discovered long ago during a severe famine which struck the region. All
other natural vegetables and cattle died but Kair (small pods), Sangri and Kumita (long dried
beans) flourished uninhibited during the testing time. Their existence brought joyous
revelations and delightful reactions amongst the inhabitants who plucked all three and took
them to their home for cooking. Of these sangria is a very good source of protein, while the
other two provide the bulk in the preparation.
These three wild berries were put to test with some other ingredients in the absence of water
which came as premium during famine. As there was no water, villagers kept the berries to dry
and sourced out whatever they could lay their hand on at home from their kitchen shelves like
mustard oil, red mathania chilies, amchur (dried mango powder), salt and yogurt. A paste was
made with all the available ingredients and those three dried berries were marinated in them.
The same was stored for some day to allow the pickling flavor to develop; as a result a great
invention was born out of necessity which was consumed with bajre ki roti (millet bread).
Nowadays Kair, sangri are generally soaked overnight for their better utilization, boiled and
then fried in oil, to prepare a mouth-watering delicacy flavored with tints of dried dates, red
chillies, turmeric powder, shredded dried mango, salt, coriander and cumin seeds.These three
berries have survived the test of the time due to its long shelf life when converted to pickle and
continues to be prepared in this ostensibly simple and mundane ways, more so because much
help is available now during famines and floods. This is highly regarded, even today, as one of
the mainstays of Marwari cuisine of Rajsthan.
The modern day kitchen preparation also incorporates the fresh kair, sangri and kumita which is
soaked overnight and then simmered in yogurt based curry. These three ingredients are,
coincidentally, also a contributor to the very well know Rajsthani delicacy called “Panchkuta”
which also comprises of the other ingredients namely. Dried mathania chilies and whole dried
amchur. These are then fried with spices in little oil and served with local bread. They also do
not require refrigeration and keeps well.
¼ cup kair
¼ cup sangria
¼ cup kumita
3tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1tsp cumin seed
2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced thinly
3 cup full fat yogurt
2tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
3tbsp coriander seed
¼ tsp turmeric powder
For garnish
Chopped fresh coriander
Ginger julienne (matchstick size)
Soak the kair, sangria a nd kumita in a non-reactive bowl (stainless steel bowl, glass bowl etc.).
Wash, drain the dried berries and discard the water. Bring them to boil in a suitably large pan
for 5-7minutes until done but still retaining a slight crunch. Drain and keep aside.
In a kadhai (Indian wok) heat ghee and bring just to smoking point, add cumin and allow to
splatter, 10seconds. Next add onion and sauté for 5-7minutes until light golden. Add kair,
sangria and kumita and continue cooking until water from the berries is released. Remove from
heat and rest until yogurt gravy is ready.
In a bowl, stir together the yogurt and besan until smooth, bring to boil in a suitably large pan/
kadhai, reduce to simmer, add turmeric and season with salt.
Next, add the berry mixture to the yogurt mixture and continue simmering at slow heat until
the sauce thickens and coat the berries.
Garnish with chopped coriander and ginger julienne and serve with the local bread of your

Tags: naan, gosht, tandoori, curries, handi, dhokla, chicken, indian food, chana, tandoor

Exploring Lentil- Bengali Kechudi (Lentil and rice gruel from West Bengal)

The story of lentil would not be complete without mention of the eponymous “Kichdi”, the Indian rice and lentil combinations. I am sure there will be as many recipes of this preparation as the number of home cooks which clearly means that people love this easy to digest and easy to prepare recipe.

The writings of 15th century suggest its origin in India when there were also the recipes containing meat as is found in offerings during the prayers of Goddess Kali. One of the varieties containing prawns is also very popular in Western India. Kichdi is also the source of inspiration of popular variation called “Kedgerre” which contains haddock and boiled egg and is found all across UK. Kichdi of the summer season are less thick than that of winter which contains more vegetables also to provide richness to counter the extremely cold nights.

Kichdi – the regional variations

Though it is popular both in India and Pakistan and in some parts of the world, it is worthwhile to look at some of the popular variations found elsewhere in different Indian states. The one served in Bengal is accompanied with Chokha (Potato hash), Begun Bhaja (Aubergine fry), chutney, papad and pickle. The gruel itself contains the seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, potato, green peas, spinach, spring onion etc. which make the entire preparation full of nutrition and taste. While it is rich delicacy found in the region of West Bengal and even fit to be offered during all the important occasions including festivals, in other parts of India it reincarnate itself as the food of the invalids and sick. Rice and lentil are cooked together until completely amalgamated and mushy and seasoned to appear as a very bland and ordinary cousin of the rich and suave Bengali delicacy.

Kichdi on its own as a main course is a very good source of carbohydrate, protein and vitamins if prepared with vegetables and essential minerals and at the same time very easy to digest.

Bengali Kechudi

Preparation time: 30minutes

Cooking time: 30minutes

Serves- 4-6


1 Cup broken basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
1/2 cup arhar dal (split yellow lentil), washed and soaked for 30 minutes
½ cup Channa dal (split Bengal gram), washed and soaked for 30 minutes
1 medium onion

½ medium cauliflower

½ cups shelled peas

1 medium carrot

6-8 baby potatoes

1 Bay leaf
3 Green cardamoms
1″ Stick cinnamon
3 Cloves
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp Garlic, peeled and grated
3-4 Green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala powder (hot spice powder)
Salt to taste
5 Cups water
4 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)

Chopped coriander leaves, for garnish



Drain lentils and rice separately and keep aside.


In a manual mortar and pestle crush cardamom, cinnamon and cloves lightly.


For the vegetables:


Cut the cauliflowers in small florets, peel and chop the onions, peel and dice the carrot, peel the potatoes and submerge in water to prevent discoloration.


Heat about three quarters of ghee in a heavy bottom vessel, add cumin seeds, bay leaf and crushed spices and fry until lightly colored and aromatic. Add onion and sauté for 3-5minutes until lightly browned. Next add grated ginger and grated garlic and continue cooking until raw aroma of ginger-garlic has disappeared.


At this stage, add cauliflower, drained potatoes, carrot and green peas and continue frying for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are lightly fried and light brown. Add lentil and rice and gently fry on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until all the grains are nicely coated with ghee and shiny. Add turmeric and hot spice powder and stir in to mix well. Pour in water and bring the entire mixture to boil, reduce to simmer and cover with a lid. Stir from time to time to prevent sticking to bottom. Check the gruel for doneness after most of the water is absorbed and kichdi is of porridge consistency. Check seasoning and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves. Just before serving stir in the remaining 1tbsp of ghee extra flavor.

Serve hot immediately with pickle, chutney and papad.





























Tags: curries, chana, tandoori, tandoor, kulfi, dosa, handi, vindaloo, palak, indian curry

Dal Hyderabadi Keoti

The word “keoti” means a medley of lentils here and hope is a recipe of interest for the readers
of sonzyskitchen blog. One of the cousins of this lentil recipe is called Hyderabadi Saat Nizami
which is a blend of seven lentils and host of tempering. The difficulty of this lentil has forced me
to think of its inclusion in the recipe section but if some of you reading the sonzyskitchen blog
are really interested, I will definitely send it across.
With its typical Hyderabadi flavor and mix of four lentils, dal keoti is a complex blend of lentils
where they complement each other rather than standing out. You can chose the lentil as per
your convenience and personal preference but we do outline the followings in the recipe
¼ cup arhar dal (yellow lentil)
¼ cup masoor dal (red lentil)
¼ cup moong lentil (moong lentil without skin)
½ cup chana dal (Bengal gram)
2 medium red onion, sliced
1tsp ginger-garlic paste
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp hot spice powder
2 fresh green chili, cut into four
2 tbsp lemon juice (dry mango powder as alternative)
2tbsp refined oil
2 tbsp ghee
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 dry red chili
10-15 curry leaves
2-3 garlic, crushed
1. Soak the lentils separately for half an hour, boil chana dal for 10minutes or pressure
cook in enough water for 3-4minutes (2whistles).
2. Add rest of the lentils, add turmeric and salt and cook with enough water until tender.
Mash the lentil lightly.
3. Heat oil in a pan, sauté onions until light brown, 5-8minutes; add ginger-garlic paste and
sauté until raw aroma disappears. Next add lentil and some water if they are too thick.
4. Add hot spice powder and green chili and simmer for another 3-4minutes. Season with
salt and lemon juice and remove from heat.
5. For the tempering, heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, red chili,
curry leaves and garlic. When seeds start splattering and chili & garlic has become
aromatic, pour it onto the lentils and cover the container with a lid to trap the aroma
6. Serve hot with the Indian bread or rice of your choice.

Tags: chettinad, handi, chana, palak, gosht, idli, curries, roti, balti, dal


Time to acknowledge the importance of the “festival of light” in every Indian life and bask in the
glory of the festivities which also include the festival food. Divali is derived from the word
‘Dipavali’ meaning ‘a cluster of lights’. Rows and rows of small earthenware lamps are seen in
every home. Diwali is also known for fireworks which go on particularly for almost two to three
days and is especially very popular in kids and grown-ups.
Dipavali is a joyous celebration of the death of titan of hell, Narkasura at the hands of Lord
Krishna. This festivals like all other festivals and rituals, explains the inner personality of man
and his deliverance from his ignorance and ego to attainment of his supreme nature of Godrealisation.
Every man within him both positive and negative tendencies and to pull himself out
of the state of ignorance and ego, he has to employ his positive tendencies to direct his
attention to the higher Self.
Most of the culinary endeavors during this festival revolve around the myriad sweets which
form part of the symbolic transformation that brings about gaiety, joy, bliss and merry-making.
The sharing of sweets and food with friends and relatives next morning carries the new vision,
the vision of Divinity, the vision of Supreme self in one and all.
There are so many sweets which are shared during the occasion. I recount one of my favorites
called Lapsi which is a preparation of broken wheat and sugar. Broken wheat, in fact, is really
versatile as some of you can recollect its role in wheat porridge, haleem (Hyderabadi broken
wheat and ground lamb preparation). The broken wheat for this recipe is available in the
market and one can also obtain it in the home food processor.
1 cup broken wheat (Dalia)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp green cardamom powder
1 tbsp chopped almond and pistachio
¼ cup full fat milk
5tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
In a pan, melt the sugar in milk, stir to dissolve equally.
In another pan, melt ghee and add broken wheat, stir from time to time and cook until wheat
takes on a golden hue and exudes nutty aroma.
Next add the sweet milk and bring to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains
of wheat are soft and cooked. The good indication of this being ready would be the appearance
of ghee on the sides. Stir gently cardamom powder in the wheat pudding and garnish with
chopped almonds and pistachio.

Tags: kebab, balti, gosht, chana, naan, chettinad, dhokla, handi, lentil, desi

Exploring Lentil

I am myself amazed to see the variety of preparation one would come across visiting different
states of India and also the different countries of the world. While we have seen few of the
lentil recipes in the previous blogs; this does not in any sense means that the lentil repertoire is
over. In some of the upcoming blogs the effort will be to continue to witness the various
application and nuances of lentil right from a standalone main course preparation to being an
important ingredient for a particular recipe. There will be few crossovers also between Indian
and Western preparations as some of the classical Western recipes are almost made in the
same way as their Indian counterpart except for little uniqueness.
The recipe that we have chosen for today is the savoury porridge of ground meat (one can
make with mutton, lamb or beef as the case may be) lentil and wheat. In some of the cases you
may come across some traditional recipes without the lentils; so do not be taken aback by the
various versions of Haleem as the idea is not to create confusion but enjoyment. Some of the
people have also developed the chicken and fish variety for people preferring the mild flavor
out of the dish.
This traditional porridge has its roots in Middle East but the one that we have included today is
the Hyderabadi (Southern state capital of Andhra Pradesh in India) variant which is a meal in
itself. During the month of Ramadan the aroma of this porridge will fill the lungs with the
craving of the same as most of the roadside eateries to popular restaurant will make their own
version to lure the customer on the occasion of Iftar, when the day long fasting comes to an
end and allows the people to break their fast.
Haleem (mutton, lentil and pounded wheat porridge)
Preparation time: 20-30minutes
Cooking time: 45-60minutes
Serves: 4-6
½ cup broken wheat
½ kg mutton (alternately lamb or beef)
¼ cup masoor dal (split red lentil)
¼ cup chana dal (split Bengal gram)
4 medium red onion
1tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/3 tsp haldi (turmeric)powder
1tsp red chili powder
1/3 tsp garam masala (hot spice) powder (see the notes on e-book available with sonzyskitchen)
1/3 cup Ghee (clarified butter)
¼ cup cooking oil
2-3green chilies (optional), chopped
1 cup full fat yogurt
Salt to taste
few mint leaves
2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Soak the broken wheat overnight. Boil the wheat the following day until tender in a suitably large
pan, drain any extra water and cool the wheat down. Using a grinder, grind the moist wheat until
fine and set aside.
In a separate heavy bottom pan, heat oil and fry the onions until lightly caramelized. Remove half
the onion and keep aside for later use.
To the onion remaining in the pan, add ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2-3minutes until raw
aroma of the paste has disappeared. Add mutton, both the lentils, salt, chili powder and turmeric
and cook until the liquid released by lamb have almost evaporated.
In a bowl gently whisk the yogurt until smooth and add it to the mutton taking care to lower the
heat to avoid splitting the yogurt. Stir from time to time until oil starts floating on top. At this
stage add enough water to cover the mutton, cook until the meat is tender and most of the
water has been absorbed.
Remove the pan from the heat and cool down the mixture. Next, grind the mutton mixture until
Heat ghee in a suitably large heavy bottom pan, add the ground mutton and the wheat and cook
on medium heat for 8-10minutes until the specks of ghee start coming to the sides. Add hot
spice powder and lemon juice and stir to mix well. Check the seasoning and the consistency too,
the texture should be like a thick porridge.
Remove from heat and garnish with previously kept fried onion, chopped green chili and freshly
torn mint leaves. Serve hot.

Tags: indian curry, tandoor, dhokla, desi, tandoori, naan, kulfi, idli, sambhar, chicken

Khatti Dal

While going through the length and breadth of India through our culinary journey, we come
across so many common and uncommon lentil preparations, some straightforward and some
very complex. Today we will explore the streets of Hyderabad to pick up some of the best local
but unusual dal recipes. Some of you might have experienced them in local restaurants but it
always remains a challenge to produce them in the home kitchen.
Khatti dal (sour lentil stew), is the typical Hyderabadi preparation soured with either tamarind
or raw mango.
1 ½ cup Arhar dal (yellow lentil)
2 plum tomato, chopped
1 medium ball of tamarind
1 small knob ginger, peeled and grated
2-3clovs of garlic, crushed
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and powdered
1-2 fresh green chili (cut into 2pieces each)
100 g fresh coriander leaves
For tempering:
3 tablespoons ghee
½ teaspoons cumin seeds
10-15 fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1. Soak tamarind in a cup of water for about 10minutes to hydrate the pulp and
remove the seed. Using the tip of your finger, force the seed out of the pulp. Discard
the seeds and pass the pulp through a strainer or muslin cloth to obtain the extract
of tamarind.
2. Wash the lentil, if using pressure cooker, cook the dal with 4 cup of water, tomato,
ginger, garlic and turmeric for 5-7 minutes (4-5whistles), allow the pressure to
escape completely before opening the lid, and remove the dal from cooker and
place in a serving container. If using a vessel to cook the dal, cook in a suitably large
container on medium heat for 20-25minutes until soft, checking in between to
ensure that they have cooked well.
3. Remove in a suitably large pan, add water if the lentil has become too thick to adjust
the consistency. Add salt, chili powder, green chili, coriander powder and tamarind
water, simmer on low heat for about 10minutes. By now most of the individual lentil
grains will give way to homogenous liquid. Season with salt.
4. For tempering, heat ghee in a small pan, add crushed garlic, cumin seeds, mustard
seeds and curry leaves. When they start splattering, pour the tempering
immediately on to the lentil, sprinkle chopped coriander on top and cover it with the
lid to trap the aroma inside.
5. Serve hot with the choice of bread or rice from Hyderabad.

Tags: karahi, chettinad, desi, kulfi, indian food, paneer, tandoor, dal, tikka masala, dhokla

King of Lentils : Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is a King of Lentils and a favourite of restaurateurs and gourmets to the extent that the menus would not be complete without its inclusion. The recipe also varies from region to region and restaurant to restaurant. This type of dal is cooked very slowly on low heat for hours before the flavor burst and develops into intricate blend of taste coming from lentil, tomatoes and butter. They also, surprisingly taste a lot better on the second day as the flavor keeps on developing.


2/3 cup whole urad (whole black lentils)
3 tbsp rajma (kidney beans)
1tbsp ginger-garlic paste of equal ginger and garlic
½ cup tomato puree (tinned)
1 tsp red chili powder
½ cup white unsalted butter
½ cup cream

Thoroughly wash black lentil and kidney bean separately until the water runs clear. Soak overnight preferably or 5-6 hours to facilitate even cooking of each individual grain. If you are pressure cooking lentils, cook them for 3-4 whistles on medium heat. Alternatively, put the drained lentil and kidney bean in a suitably large steel pan, add approximately 7 cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer until the grains are cooked and 2/3 rd of water is used up. Crush the lentils with the back of a wooden spoon.

In a pan heat half the butter, add ginger-garlic paste and cook until raw aroma has subsided. Add tomato puree and cook for another 5minutes on medium heat until the colour of the tomato has darkened to pronounced red. Add chili powder and cook for another minute.

Add this mixture to lentil along with rest of the butter until mixed well and cook for another 10-15 minutes until lentil has thickened and colour has become light brown. Finally add the cream and stir for another 2-3minutes. Check seasoning and serve hot with butter naan or rice.

- Kuntal

Tags: chettinad, idli, tandoori, chana, lentil, indian food, indian curry, sambhar, kebab, bhatura

Imli – Tamarind Chutney

Even though tamarind is referred to as indigenous to India, but it travelled all the way from Africa or most precisely Sudanese and adjoining region. It was also known a long back in Egypt and Greece.  The husk looks vaguely like a withered and dried feves (fava beans). When the husk is removed, it reveals the sticky brown pulp with the seed. The pulp is revered for its souring quality and is one of the most staple ingredients of South Indian cuisine.

Even though extracting the pulp from the seeds can be a little tough but it is worth all the effort as using the fresh has definitive benefit against the readymade paste but to confess tamarind concentrates have become very popular over the years. Even though exclusively used for its souring properties, it also exhibits some medicinal properties like a potent fighter against digestive disorders, the leaves also is said to have anti malarial properties when taken as an herbal infusion.

The recipe which we have included here is one of the most famous tangy chutney eaten during all festivals where it enhances so many of the culinary delights.

Tamarind chutney

1 cup tamarind
1/2 cup dates deseeded
1 cup jaggery
2 cups water
2 nos. red chili whole
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt

Soak the tamarind in equal amount of warm water to release the pulp. Work slowly until all the seeds are removed.  Place the tamarind, dates, jaggery and water in a deep boiling pan. Slowly bring to boil, add red chili, fennel seeds and salt, reduce to simmer for 10-12 minutes until chutney starts to come together. One of the tricks to know whether the chutney is ready is to coat the back of the spoon thinly; if it does it is ready. Cool to room temperature, then store in clean airtight container and refrigerate.
Use with chat, aloo tikki, dahi bhalla etc.

Regards, Kuntal

Tags: naan, karahi, idli, indian food, kulfi, tikka masala, chettinad, gosht, bhatura, palak

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