Green Mango Pachadi

1 large, unripe mango, peeled and diced (with the crunch and consistency of a Granny Smith apple)
1 cup fresh/frozen grated coconut (do not use dried or sweetened coconut)
2 green Thai chili peppers (not seeded), diced (may substitute serrano chile peppers)
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt (may substitute Greek-style yogurt)
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
10 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the mango, coconut and green Thai chili peppers in a high-powered blender; pulse to reduce the mixture to very small pieces. Add a little of the water; pulse just long enough to achieve a slightly grainy, batterlike consistency. Transfer to a large bowl; whisk in the yogurt and water until thoroughly incorporated.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seed and toast briefly; it will crackle and pop almost immediately. Then add the curry leaves and the cumin, turmeric and hing, stirring to keep those ingredients from scorching. Remove from the heat.

Pour the spice mixture into the mango-yogurt mixture in the bowl, then add the salt, whisking to blend. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

VARIATION: If green mango is unavailable, the pachadi can be made with diced shallots and halved cherry tomatoes, kernels of corn or diced cucumber. Simply omit the mango and coconut, and garnish with a chiffonade of fresh cilantro.

Source: Adapted from Vikram Sunderam, executive chef at Rasika in the District.

Dosas

1 cup urad dal (black matpe beans; see headnote)
2 cups raw basmati rice (see headnote)
1 tablespoon methi seed (fenugreek; see headnote)
Water
1 teaspoon salt
Flour (optional)
Vegetable or coconut oil (liquefied)

DIRECTIONS

Rinse the urad dal and rice separately in a fine-mesh strainer to clean and remove any excess starch. Place the rice in one bowl and cover with water. Combine the urad dal and methi seed in a separate bowl and cover with water. Soak each for 6 hours.

Drain, reserving the soaking liquid from the dal.

Combine the dal and a little of the reserved soaking liquid in a high-powered blender; puree until very smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Clean out the blender, then add the rice and some of the reserved soaking liquid; puree until no individual grains or pieces are apparent.

Pour the pureed rice into the pureed dal, stirring until well incorporated. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter or slightly thinner. Season with the salt. Cover the bowl with a plate or loose-fitting lid. Let the batter sit at room temperature to ferment for about 8 hours. It will increase in volume and should smell slightly sour when ready. (In warm weather, keep the batter away from sunlight; in cool weather, place the batter in an oven or microwave (turned off) to ferment away from drafts.)

Refrigerate the fully fermented batter if you’re not going to make dosas right away. Otherwise, heat a griddle or 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter onto the griddle or pan, and very quickly use the bottom of a ladle or bowl to spread it, in one rapid, clockwise motion, into a thin round that’s 6 or 7 inches across. (If the batter seems too thick, add water to the mixture in the bowl in small increments; if it is too thin, flour can be added to thicken it.)

Use a spoon to sprinkle a small amount of oil on the edges of each dosa for crispness and to ease removal from the cooking surface. When the dosa’s underside is a golden brown, gently roll so that one end is a little wider (a slightly loose cone shape), or fold in half. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining dosa batter.

Source: Adapted from Ananda Poojary, owner of Woodlands in Langley Park.

Coconut Chutney

1/4 cup chana dal (split chickpeas; see headnote)
5 tablespoons finely shredded fresh/frozen unsweetened coconut (see headnote)
2 small green Thai chili peppers, stemmed
2 tablespoons minced fresh peeled ginger root
10 fresh/frozen curry leaves (see headnote)
3 to 4 tablespoons room-temperature water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon hing (asafetida; see headnote)

Toast the chana dal in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned. Let cool.

Combine the coconut, green Thai chilies, ginger, 5 of the curry leaves and the toasted chana dal in a high-powered blender. Run until finely chopped, then, with the motor running, add the water (as needed) and lemon juice; puree briefly to form a spoonable chutney with a slightly grainy texture. It should be pale green. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mustard seed, which will start to crackle and pop almost immediately. Quickly add the hing and the remaining 5 curry leaves; stir-fry just until the leaves crisp up, then immediately pour the mustard-seed mixture on top of the coconut chutney (like a garnish).

Serve right away.

Source: Adapted from Ananda Poojary, owner of Woodlands in Langley Park.

Vegetable Poriyal

4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup diced carrots
4 ounces green beans, trimmed and diced
1/4 cup coconut oil (may substitute canola or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons urad dal (black matpe beans)
2 teaspoons chana dal (split chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
1 cup chopped red onion or shallots
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
20 fresh/frozen curry leaves
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger root, finely chopped
5 green small, whole Thai chili peppers (may substitute serrano chile peppers)
1 cup grated fresh/frozen coconut (do not use dried or sweetened coconut)

Fill a large bowl with water and ice.

Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a deep pot over high heat. Add a tablespoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the ground turmeric and the carrots; once the water returns to a boil, add the green beans. Cook for 7 or 8 minutes, until just crisp-tender.

Drain through a fine-mesh strainer; leave the vegetables in the strainer and immediately place it in the bowl of ice water.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is liquefied, add the urad dal and chana dal; cook, stirring a few times, until they begin to brown. Stir in the mustard seed and the red onion or shallots; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

Stir in the hing, curry leaves, ginger and Thai chili peppers, then the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric, the remaining teaspoon of salt and the coconut; toss to make sure the coconut is evenly distributed.

Drain the cooked vegetable mixture (in the strainer) and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring to incorporate and heat through, for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve right away.

VARIATION: To make this recipe with potatoes, boil and skin potatoes before adding, omit the coconut and consider using cilantro, which can be substituted for the curry leaves. For broccoli, omit the onion and add toasted cashews to the mix.

Source: Adapted from Vikram Sunderam, executive chef at Rasika in the District.

Moong Dal with Coconut, Ginger, and Peas

1 cup dry moong dal
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas – thawed
~1/2 inch cube ginger – thinly sliced sticks
lemon juice (optional)
3/4 cup fresh grated coconut – I use frozen and thaw it out
chopped cilantro

Chaunk (spices fried in oil that you pour over the dal at the end)
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 whole dry chili (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of chana dal, urad dal, mustard seed
pinch of hing

Wash the moong dal in water, until the water is almost clear and drain. Add 4 cups of water to the dal and soak for a minimum of 3 hours. I usually soak this overnight so that I can just cook the dal whenever I want the next day.

Drain the dal and get 1 cup of water ready.

Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne (optional) and 1 tablespoon of water.

Heat the oil over a medium flame and when it is hot put in half of the ginger sticks and a few seconds later pour the spice mixture from the cup and stir once. Quickly put in the drained dal and mix it all up. Add the salt and 1 cup water. Once the dal is boiling, cover it and turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The dal should be tender. To this add the peas, coconut and ginger and cook for 5 minutes or so. If you want the dal to be thinner, just add some warm water while cooking. Turn off the heat and at this point you can add some lemon juice (I highly recommend this, but I just can’t have lemons right now!).

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil with the seeds and optional chili. Let the urad dal brown a bit and pour this over the moong dal. You can also fry onion with this, but this adds acidity as well. Garnish with cilantro.

I like to eat this dal with rice and yogurt.

Gojju

This gojju uses eggplant and green peppers, but you can make many gojju variations: green onion, okra, bitter gourd, tomato and even pineapple! Also you can make this dish to suit your preference as far as how soupy you want it.

For cooking vegetable
2 tablespoons oil
pinch of hing or asafetida
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chili pepper
3-4 fresh curry leaves
1 1/2 cups Japanese eggplant, cut into 1 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch thick wedges
1 cup green pepper, rough chop
1 cup onion, rough chop

For grinding
3-4 dried red chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons roasted chana dal
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
few sprigs cilantro
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (can use thawed out frozen)
1/2 cup or more water

1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
2 teaspoons teaspoon jaggery or sugar
salt to taste

Put oil in pan under medium-high heat. When hot, put hing and mustard seeds in. When mustard seeds start to pop, put in fenugreek and let it turn golden brown. Turn the heat to low-medium and put in the red chili and curry leaves and coat with oil. Cook for a few seconds and throw in the onion. After the onion has softened a little, put in the green pepper, eggplant and salt to taste. I add a bit of water too so that the vegetables stay moist. Cover.

While the veggies are cooking put the dried red chili peppers, black mustard seeds, roasted chana dal and turmeric into the blender and grind. Next add in coconut, cilantro and water and grind. If it is looking a bit dry, you can add some water to make it more paste-like.

When the vegetables are almost done cooking, mix in the grinded paste and bring to a boil. At this time you can add some water too if you want to have a more soupy texture. Add in the tamarind paste and the jaggery and mix well. Continue to boil for a few minutes and then simmer. Add salt to taste. Turn the heat off and it will thicken a bit.

I like to eat this with roti and recently have been rolling it into a whole wheat tortill with rice.

Sambar

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 medium red potato
1 carrot
1 cup masoor dal (red lentil)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons sambar powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons frozen fresh coconut (optional)
cilantro leaves for garnishing
salt to taste
For frying:
3 teaspoons oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1 dried red chili (broken into pieces by hand)
1/2 red onion

Note: can use a combo of the following vegetables for this recipe – string beans, japanese eggplant, cabbage, spinach (good with potato), radish (indian variety called mullangi is the best) or watery squash like chayote, etc.

Wash masoor dal until water is clear, drain and set aside.

Heat ghee or oil in a pot at medium heat and put in carrot and potato. Coat with oil and stir a bit. Add in drained lentil and sautee for a few minutes. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil under medium/high heat. Ladle out any foam that comes to the surface. Once foam stops, add turmeric and mix up. The dal and vegetables take about 30 minutes to cook.

Add sambar powder and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to your taste, tamarind and coconut and mix well. Turn off heat.

In a separate small pan, heat 2 teaspoons of ghee or oil and put in mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop a bit. To help this happen, you can put a lid over the pan. Once its popped for a few seconds, turn the heat down a little and put the curry leaves and broken up chilis. Coat the leaves and chili with the oil and fry for a few seconds. Pour this oil mixture over the lentils and vegetables and mix well.

In the same small pan put a teaspoon or 2 of ghee or oil and fry onion until they are fragrant. Add these onions to the sambar and mix well.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

You can serve with rice and some yogurt on the side.

Tandoori Paneer and Peppers

14 oz. block fresh frozen paneer, thawed out and cut into 1 in. cubes (Nanak brand is good)
4 tablespoons Patak Tandoori Paste (mild)
3 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 large red pepper, large chop
1/2 large green pepper, large chop
small red onion, large chop
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of hing (asfeotida)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
red chili powder to taste
salt to taste
juice from 1/3 of a lemon

Put out paneer block to thaw (you can also defrost in the microwave, but make sure not to make it too soft, it starts to fall apart easily). In a bowl, mix the tandoori paste and yogurt well to make the marinade. Cut the paneer and put into a baking dish. Carefully coat all of the paneers with the marinade and put in the fridge for about 3 hours.

In a non-stick fry pan under medium-high heat, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, put in pinch of hing and cumin seeds. Shake up the pan. Once the cumin seeds start to brown, put in the onions. Fry until they become translucent. Put in the coriander powder, turmeric, chili powder and some salt. Mix well. If it is a bit dry, you can add little oil. Then throw in the peppers and mix well. Cook until the peppers are a bit soft, but not too soft. Turn off heat and place in a dish to the side.

In same fry pan*, place 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil under medium heat. When hot, carefully place the paneer pieces into the pan. (There may be some sputtering from the marinade so be careful.) Watching closely, fry the paneers until they start to lightly brown and turn them so at least two sides are browned with marinade (mine are a bit darker in the photos because I like it cooked more:) Try not to mix it too much because the paneers will break. Make sure not to cook it too much because it will get rubbery. *If you don’t want to fry, you can grill the paneers or bake them in an oven until they start to brown.

Mix them up carefully with the peppers and onions so they don’t break. Ideally, lay the curry out on a flat dish and squeeze lemon on top just before serving.

Green Bean Palya

1 tablespoon oil or ghee
3/4 pound green beans – cut into about 1/2 inch long pieces
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
3 fresh curry leaves (can use dry)
1 dried red chili – broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder
2 tablespoons frozen fresh grated coconut – thawed out
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Heat oil under a medium flame. Put in a pinch of hing or asafoetida, mustard seed, urad dal and chana dal.

When the mustard seed starts popping and the dals start browning, put in the curry leaf and broken up chili pieces. Mix everything around for 10 seconds until everything is coated with oil.

Next throw in the green beans.

Mix it all up.

Add a little bit of water, turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are almost tender. Mix in sambar powder and cook until the beans are tender. Add the coconut and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat off and add in the lemon and salt and mix well.

Tomato Rasam

1 cup toor dal, also called split pigeon pea
6 cups water
1 tablespoon oil (peanut, sunflower or corn is best)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 fresh curry leaves
bunch of cilantro stems, chopped
4 tomatoes (4 cups), chopped (you can also use canned)
2 teaspoons rasam powder
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste or fresh tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon brown sugar or jaggery
salt to taste
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

Wash toor dal thoroughly in luke warm water until water is clear.

Put 6 cups of water and the dal in a pot over medium high heat. This dal has a tendency to foam very much. Keep removing the foam and throw it away in the sink. (You can add a bit of ginger which decreases this foaming.)

When the water is boiling and you have gotten rid of the foaminess, add the oil, turmeric, curry leaves and cilantro stems. Next add the tomatoes and mix it all up.

Place the pot over a medium flame with a lid partially covering it. Check on it often so that it does not boil over. This will take about an hour for dal to get tender. (Note – you may need to add more water as needed).

If you are using tamarind pulp as opposed to tamarind paste, break off lime size ball of tamarind and submerge it in warm water for about 15 minutes. Then press the softened pulp and liquid through a strainer over a bowl to separate the usable diluted pulp from the seeds and fibers. Set aside.

When the dal is finished cooking add the rasam powder. Make sure that the powder is homogeneously mixed and that there are no lumps. Let it boil to a golden brown color ~ 15 minutes.

Add tamarind paste or pulp.

Add brown sugar orjaggery and some salt to taste.

Let it all boil. After it has come to a boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat.

In a small pan take 1 tablespoon of butter and heat it under a medium flame. Add asafoetida and cumin seed. When the cumin seed is golden brown and fragrant, pour over. Add cilantro for garnish.

Cabbage Potato Curry

1 small Savoy cabbage, chopped
3 small red potatoes, boiled and chopped in bite size chunks
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger grated
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
juice from 1/2 lime
cilantro for garnish

Heat ghee or oil in a pan under medium-high heat. Put in cumin seeds and pinch of hing and shake the pot up so they mingle. Once the cumin seeds start to turn darker brown and fragrant, turn the heat to medium and mix in garlic and ginger. Sautee them together for 30 seconds.

Throw in cabbage and sautee. Put some water in the pan if you feel the cabbage is burning or getting too dry. Add the spices and cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the potatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Add salt to taste. Turn the heat off and add lime juice and cilantro.

Cantaloupe Chutney

1 cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee
2 dried red chilis broken in two or can use dried red chili flakes to your taste
6 cardamom pods, peeled and crushed
4 cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1/2 cup jaggery or brown sugar
1/2 cup blanched and sliced almonds, toasted
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup honey
1 cup yellow raisins
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped rough

Crush the cardamom and cloves in a mortar and pestle and set aside. Toast almonds in a non stick pan under medium low heat and set aside.

Heat ghee in a pan under medium heat. Put in red chilis, cardamom, cloves and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds. Next add in jaggery and almonds and mix all around for 15 seconds. Throw in cantaloupe and rest of ingredients in pan. Mix well and bring to a boil. Taste for more chili and add flakes accordingly. The chutney should be sweet but with a spicy kick at the end. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until chutney is syrupy.
Puree coursely in blender to make it spreadable.

Yellow Peanut Rice

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon oil
1/3 cup raw peanuts
pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
1 dried red chili, broken in two (alternative is chopped green chilis which adds more spice)
4 fresh curry leaves
juice of 1 lemon
handful frozen fresh grated coconut, thawed
cilantro for garnish
salt

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on stove with water and turmeric mixed in. To make the rice not stick I sometimes add a little oil. Set cooked rice aside.

In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and put in peanuts under medium heat. Fry peanuts until they are fragrant and turn golden brown. Put peanuts aside. (They will get crunchier as they sit out.)

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil under medium heat. To test the oil is hot put in a couple mustard seeds and they should start sizzling. Then add the rest of the mustard seeds and hing. Shake up the pot and cover (this is so the mustard seeds don’t pop out of the pan and burn you!) Once they pop for a few seconds, lower the heat and add the urad dal, chana dal, dried red chili and curry leaves (rub leaves between your hands a little before putting in pan to release oils). Coat them with oil and fry for a few seconds. The urad dal and chana dal should turn a brownish hue. Add the rice into the wok and mix well. Fry for a few minutes.

Turn the heat off and mix in the lemon juice and coconut. Add in the peanuts and salt to your taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve with yogurt raita.

Green Tomato Chutney

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 green tomatoes, chopped
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
8 green chilis (more or less to your taste)
water
1 bunch of basil leaves
handful of cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt
1 cup yogurt (or more to your taste)

Heat oil in a pan under medium heat. Put in hing, cumin seed, mustard seed and shake up pan. Add in the urad dal. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the urad dal is turning golden, throw in the fenugreek seeds. Fry for a few seconds until they turn brown (if you fry these guys too much they taste super bitter). An alternative to frying these seeds is to roast them separately and powder them in a coffee grinder. You can then sprinkle this mixture when you throw in the tomatoes.

Throw in the onions and fry a few minutes. Mix in the turmeric and fry the onions until they are translucent. Mix in the garlic, ginger and chilis. Stir well and add in the tomatoes and salt. Cook the tomatoes until they are soft ~ 20 minutes. If the pan is dry, add in some water. You can also cover with a lid to cook faster.

Spoon the tomato mixture into a blender and puree with the basil, cilantro, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Add more chilis if you want it to be spicier. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in yogurt to your taste.

Serve as a side with roti or rice.

Vangi Baath (Eggplant Rice)

2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
pinch of hing or asafoetida
2 fresh curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 small eggplant, cut into 1 inch long strips (can use different varieties)
1 green pepper – same size as eggplant
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vangi baath powder (recipe below)
1 cup cooked and cooled rice
juice of 1/2 lemon (or tamarind extract)
fresh frozen coconut – optional if not in powder

In a frying pan or wok under medium heat, add oil, mustard seeds and hing. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add in the curry leaves and coat with oil. Add in the onion and fry until translucent. Add in the eggplant and green pepper and the turmeric and stir well.

Cook the vegetables until the eggplant is half-cooked. Add in the vangi baath powder and stir fry thoroughly so that the spice mixture is on all of the vegetables. Turn the heat down to cook through and stir periodically.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the rice and stir well. Turn off heat. Squeeze lemon and mix together. Top with coriander leaves and serve with yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Notes: This was a rice for long car rides or on picnics. It’s quite hardy and since it’s so flavorful, you can just eat it as is. Traditionally, vangi baath is made with eggplants, but it can be made it with cauliflower too. You can also fried peanuts to the mix which was really good. Serve it with plain yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Kadai Paneer

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
14 oz cubed paneer, lightly fried
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger piece, shredded
1 teaspoon cumin seed
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste
fresh cilantro

Heat ghee or vegetable oil under medium heat in a wok. Add in cumin seed and asafetida and shake up in the pan. When the cumin seed starts to brown, add in the onions. When they are starting to get translucent, mix in the garlic and ginger and fry for 30 seconds.

Add in the tomato paste and stir well. Mix in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder and salt. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a touch of water to loosen it up. You don’t want this to get saucy, more of a coating for the paneer so keep that in mind. Fry this all up until the spices get fragrant.

Mix in the paneer gently, until it is coated with the tomato mixture. Turn off heat and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with rice, roti or as an appetizer with chutney.

Cauliflower Coconut Curry

1 head of cauliflower*, cubed
2 green chilies, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 yellow, white or red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 inch piece of cinnamon
3 cardamom pods, optional
15 curry leaves
1 (15 Oz) can coconut milk
Handful cashews, roasted (optional)

Mix the cubed cauliflower pieces with turmeric, garam masala, salt and lime. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. When you see ripples on the surface of the oil, see if it is hot enough by throwing in a mustard seed. If the oil is hot enough, the mustard seed will sizzle. Fry the whole spices and curry leaves for just 15 seconds or till the mustard seeds pop and you can smell the rich aroma of curry leaves and cinnamon. Be careful as the oil may splatter. I like to use a large lid as a shield.

Sauté the onions and green chilies for 3 minutes or till the onion is translucent. Add the cauliflower and most of the cilantro (reserve the rest for garnish) and stir well. Once all the cauliflower is coated with oil and sautéed for 3 minutes, add the coconut milk and turn heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 12 minutes or till the cauliflower has softened to your liking. Add salt to taste.

Garnish with cashews and cilantro. Serve with rice.

*You can substitute paneer or tofu for half the head of cauliflower.

Source: Veena Prasad

Mosaranna (Yogurt Rice)

2 cups white basmati rice, cooked
1 1/2 cup thick whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
pinch of asafetida or hing
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
2 green chills, chopped (to taste)
1 dried red chili
3 curry leaves
cilantro
salt
optional – fried peanuts or pomegranates

Method
In a bowl, combine the cooked rice and yogurt.

In a small sauce pan, heat the oil under medium/high heat. Put in hing, mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal. Shake up and wait for the mustard seeds to pop and the dals to start browning. Next add in the red chili and chopped green chili, stir to coat with oil. Next add the curry leaves and coat with oil. Turn off the heat and pour the fried spices over the rice and yogurt. Mix all together and add more yogurt to your taste or you can also add a little bit of milk if you want it to be a looser consistency. Add salt and freshly chopped cilantro.

Eat plain or add some spicy Indian pickle.

Tamarind Rice

1 cup basmati rice
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 cup dried tamarind or 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
1 1/2 tablespoons untoasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons Indian sesame oil or peanut oil, divided
1/4 cup raw peanuts, preferably with skin – can sub in roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon chana dal? (split desi chickpea)
1 dried red chili pepper, broken in half
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 heaping tablespoon granulated jaggery or brown sugar
1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt to taste

Tamarind Rice Powder **
Indian sesame or peanut oil for frying spices
1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing) powder
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2-4 dried red chili peppers, depending on heat tolerance
4 curry leaves

*To save time, you can cook the rice a day ahead and store it in the fridge.

**You can multiply this quantity to make the powder in bulk if you plan on making the recipe more frequently.

Prepare basmati rice with turmeric powder according to your own method. Spread cooked rice on a sheet pan to completely cool.

If making your own tamarind paste, submerge dried tamarind in 3/4 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes or place tamarind and cold water in the microwave for 1 minute. Loosen up the tamarind with your hand. Place fine-meshed colander on top of a bowl, pour tamarind and water over sieve so soaking water is in bowl and tamarind is in sieve. With a spoon or your hand, press the tamarind pulp through the mesh of the colander into the bowl with the rest of its soaking water. Periodically scrape tamarind pulp from the bottom of colander into the bowl. The stems and seeds should be leftover in colander.

Heat a small cast iron frying pan or heavy pan on a medium-low flame. When warm, add sesame seeds. Roast them until fragrant and golden brown, a couple minutes. Set aside on a plate to cool. When completely cooled, grind in a spice or coffee grinder.

In the pan, add a few drops of oil. Turn the heat to medium-low and fry tamarind powder ingredients in the following order until fragrant, a few seconds: asafetida, black peppercorns, black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Transfer to a plate to cool (separate from sesame seeds).

In the same pan, add a few drops of oil. Toast coriander seeds until fragrant and then add the chilies and fry until you feel a tickle in your nose. Transfer to plate to cool with tamarind rice powder ingredients. Add curry leaves to the pan and roast until they start to dry up. Transfer them to plate to cool with other tamarind rice powder ingredients.

When all tamarind rice powder ingredients are cooled, grind in a spice or coffee grinder.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil under medium heat. Add peanuts to the wok, stirring around until peanuts are fragrant and turn golden brown, a few minutes. Set peanuts aside to cool in a bowl lined with paper towel.

Coat the bottom of the wok with 2 tablespoons of oil and heat to medium. When oil is hot and shimmering, add in one black mustard seed. When the seed sizzles and pops, add in the rest of the mustard seeds and asafetida. Keep a lid handy to cover the pan when the mustard seeds are popping. When the popping starts to subside (few seconds), immediately add in chana dal. Stir to coat with oil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to stir dals so they evenly roast and until they turn a reddish golden-brown color and smell nutty. Rub curry leaves between your fingers a little to release their natural oils and drop them and dried red chili pepper into the oil. Cover immediately as moisture from curry leaves will cause the oil to spurt. Then stir to evenly coat everything with oil for a few seconds.

Next add in tamarind pulp and soaking water. Turn the heat to medium. If you are using tamarind paste, add a couple tablespoons of water to the wok as well. Boil the mixture, add jaggery or brown sugar and mix until dissolved. Add salt and boil until you get to a thick paste and the raw smell of tamarind is no longer, 2-4 minutes. Add in the roasted spice powder and 2 teaspoons of oil and mix well. Turn of the heat.

Transfer rice to a serving bowl. Once cooled, start adding the cooked tamarind paste to the rice, a spoon at a time, mixing it with your hand gently. Per your taste, mix in as much of the paste as you like (I love tamarind so I usually add it all)***. Mix in the ground sesame seed powder and fried peanuts. Taste the rice; it should be sour, spicy and a touch sweet. Add paste, jaggery and salt accordingly. Let the flavors soak into the rice for about a half hour before serving.

Serve plain or with yogurt raita.

***If there is any tamarind paste left, you can store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks.