Simple and Easy

Fig Burfi (Anjeer Burfi)


It is festival season with Diwali just around the corner. I miss the festivities here that we had in India. Over the years we have started celebrating few festivals in a small scale. Ganesh Chaturthi is one festival which we celebrate every year without fail. We think of inviting all our friends but that hasn’t happened yet. We completely focus on a nice pooja with a good spread of food. This year it was a really packed day, I still made a big spread. For sweets, we usually have 5 kinds of sweets. I wanted to pick something simple, so I made these fig burfis.

I bought Figs/Anjeer for the first time to make smoothies. I initially thought of making anjeer modaks but later went with just the burfis. The pictures do not make justice to this dish. I tried to click a good picture but failed and gave up after a few trials. You have to trust me when I say they tasted amazing.

Fig Burfi (Anjeer Burfi)

3.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 -10 pieces

Ingredients
  

  • 7-8 figs anjeer
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 heaped tea spn ghee
  • 1/4 tea spn cardamom powder

Instructions
 

  • Chop figs into small pieces.
  • Take the pieces and sugar in food processor and pulse them till they are well mixed.
  • Heat ghee and add the mixture.
  • Mix it for a couple of mins(just to warm it through).
  • Take off heat and add cardamom powder.
  • Make small balls of the mixture and press them slightly to give a peda like look, or cut them into desired shapes.

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Methi Paneer

Methi Paneer

Methi or fenugreek is one of the things I did not care much when I was a kid. But now it has become my most favorite green. I try to include it in curries, dal, pulavs. It gives a very nice aroma and taste to any dish. This methi paneer is one of my favorite things to make with these delicious greens. Cashew paste gives it a creaminess. My kids love it. I sometimes add almond paste instead of cashew. Marinating the paneer cubes in spices and frying them gives a great taste to paneer cubes.

Pictorial:

Add spices and a little salt to paneer pieces and leave it around for sometime.

 

Heat a little oil and fry the paneer pieces. Take them out.
Heat oil, add cumin seeds. Then add onions and ginger-garlic paste. When they are translucent, add garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder.

Add tomatoes, salt and fry till tomatoes are mushy. Then add chopped methi leaves.

Add the fried paneer and cook for 7-8mins.

Soak cashews in a little hot water. Make a paste and add it to the curry. Cook for 4-5 mins. Serve hot.

 

Methi Paneer

A creamy curry cooked in a thick tomato paste, flavored with fresh methi leaves and spices.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups paneer cubes
  • 1 cup chopped methi fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • 1 tea spn ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder
  • 1/2 tea spn garam masala
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin powder
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander powder
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 2 tbl spn cashews
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Add 1/2 tea spn chilli powder, turmeric, salt to paneer pieces and keep aside for 15-20mins.
  • Heat a little oil and fry paneer for sometime. Take them off the pan.
  • Heat oil, add cumin seeds. Then add ginger-garlic paste, onions.
  • When onions turn translucent, add garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder and fry for few mins.
  • Then add tomatoes and fry till they are mushy.
  • Add methi leaves fry very well.
  • Then add paneer, a little water and cook.
  • Soak cashews in hot water. Make a smooth paste.
  • Add the paste to curry and cook well.
  • Serve hot with chapatis or rice.

 

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Black Chickpeas in Green Masasla(Kala Chana Hara Masala)

Kala Chana Hara Masala
Kala Chana Hara Masala

Few months back when my parents were here, my friend had invited us for dinner. She is one of the few Konkani friends I have here in KS and we always have a great time when we meet. Our kids love to play with each other while we talk about everything under the sun. She made a delicious spread for us and there was one dish – this black chana hara masala, (which is what I have named it by the way) that my aayi particularly liked a lot. She even got the recipe from my friend.

Then in January, my entire family was down with flu and my friend brought me a few dishes as care package. This dish was one of the 4 dishes she brought. That was the week we all had lost our sense of taste because of fever and we did not like anything we ate. But then my husband, who does not care much for any beans/chickpeas, really enjoyed this. I asked my friend for the recipe again and I have made it few times since then.

Also try chane ghashi, chane-kele upkari, chana chaat.

Pictorial:
Cook soaked chana with a pinch of turmeric. Then make the spice paste.
kala chana hara masala1 kala chana hara masala2 kala chana hara masala3 kala chana hara masala4 kala chana hara masala5

Black Chickpeas in Green Masasla(Black Chana Hara Masala)

4.25 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup black chickpeas
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 tea spn garam masala optional
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • For the paste:
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves Along with thick stems
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 tea spn ginger pieces
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
  • 1 tbl spn dried or desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup tomato optional

Instructions
 

  • Soak chickpeas in water for 6-8hrs.
  • Pressure cook them with a pinch of turmeric (about 4 whistles).
  • Make a paste of coriander leaves, ginger, green chillies, cloves, cumin seeds, coconut, tomato(optional).
  • Heat a little oil in the pressure cooked pan and fry onions.
  • When they are translucent, add chana, garam masala and the paste, salt.
  • Mix everything well and pressure cook again for 2 whistles.
  • Serve with rice or chapatis.

Notes

If you want to keep the color of gravy green, avoid tomatoes and use lemon juice instead.
You could mix the paste with chickpeas and pressure cook once instead of pressure cooking twice. I thought the paste would loose some of the aroma by doing that.
Pressure cooking second time is not really necessary. I feel it helps in chickpeas soaking the masala well, so I did it.

 

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Nutty Green Beans

Nutty Green Beans
Nutty Green Beans

My kids love shenga chutney pitto, probably that is the only way they eat peanuts without a fuss. So I have been thinking to use similar combination with vegetables. I have seen my Marathi friends adding a peanut powder to raitas, green beans and some other vegetables. So I prepared this nutty green beans last week and it was received pretty well, the two year old was pretty excited to (atleast) try the green beans.
A complete thali with ambat(dal), rice, fish fry, buttermilk chilli, spiced buttermilk

A complete thali with ambat(dal), rice, fish fry, buttermilk chilli, spiced buttermilk

The roasted peanuts gave a nutty sweetish taste to otherwise spicy dish. The ginger gave a very good flavor to the beans. I am so used to adding potatoes to green beans, I feel potatoes pair really well with them. Today when I prepared the same dish, I added some chutney pitto to it instead of making the peanut-coconut powder. This was a good way to get some vegetables and also protein into the little tummies.

Pictorial:
Dry roast peanuts and coconut and make a powder.
nutty green beans1 nutty green beans2
Heat oil and add mustard seeds, urad dal followed by curry leaves, ginger, onion.
nutty green beans3 nutty green beans4
Add green beans, potatoes and spices. When cooked, add the nut powder.
nutty green beans5 nutty green beans6 nutty green beans7

Nutty Green Beans

Green beans and potatoes cooked till they are soft and flavored with peanuts and coconut to give a sweetish spicy taste.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups green beans use tender beans
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped potatoes optional
  • 2 tbl spns peanuts
  • 1 tbl spn dry coconut
  • 1 tea spn grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tea spn red chilli powder
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander powder
  • 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tea spn urad dal
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Dry roast peanut till they are brownish and then add dry coconut(or dessicated coconut).
  • Roast till coconut is brownish.
  • Grind them to a coarse powder and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds.
  • When they start popping, add urad dal.
  • Fry for a min and then add curry leaves, ginger.
  • Then add onion and fry till brownish.
  • Add green beans, potatoes, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder and salt.
  • Mix everything well.
  • Cover and cook on a medium-low flame till the beans and potatoes are cooked.
  • Make sure to cook on low heat, since there is no water added, it will get burnt if cooked on high.
  • Add the peanut-coconut powder and mix well.
  • Cook for another 1-2mins.
  • Take off heat and serve hot as a sidedish with rice or chapati.

Notes: Roast a big batch of peanuts and make a coarse powder. Use this in various dishes like this to save time
Instead of using dry coconut, use freshly grated coconut in the recipe

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Green Moong – Paneer Masala

Green Moong - Paneer Masala
Green Moong – Paneer Masala

Being from southern part of India, we were introduced to paneer quite late compared to my north Indian friends. Most of my family still do not like this Indian cheese. I have started using it more regularly (once in 15days or so) in recent years to get some protein in our diet. Few days back I had soaked some green moong and I wanted to use up a block of paneer from freezer, so I decided to combine both to make this green moong – paneer masala. I made it a bit tangy and spicy, tasted great with chapatis.

Pictorial:
Heat oil and add whole spices. Add onion, ginger-garlic.
green moong - paneer masala1 green moong - paneer masala2
Add all spices, followed by tomatoes.
green moong - paneer masala3 green moong - paneer masala4
Add moong, paneer, water and cook till done.
green moong - paneer masala5 green moong - paneer masala6 green moong - paneer masala7

Green Moong - Paneer Masala

A spicy and tangy sprouted green moong and paneer masala gravy that goes well with chapatis or rice.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups sprouted green moong
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1 tea spn ginger paste
  • 1 tea spn garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • 15-20 pieces of paneer
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 " cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1/2 tea spn amchoor powder
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1/2 tea spn garam masala or goda masala
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander powder
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin powder
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • In a thick bottomed pan or directly in pressure cooker, heat a little oil and add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf.
  • Then add onion, ginger-garlic paste and fry for few mins.
  • When the onions are translucent, add chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala(or goda masala), coriander-cumin powder.
  • Fry till a nice aroma comes out.
  • Add tomatoes and fry till they are mushy.
  • Add the moong, paneer, 1 cup water, salt and cook till done.
  • I cooked the mixture of 2 whistles. The paneer became quite soft(It was quite hard to begin with). So if you have a soft paneer, I suggest adding it at the end after the moong is cooked.
  • Serve hot with roti/chapati or rice.

 

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Okra Sidedish (Bhende Upkari)

Bhende Upkari
Bhende Upkari

Upkaris are the integral part of Konkani cuisine. We make upkaris with almost all the vegetables and they are a must in any Konkani meal. The vegetables are very lightly spiced to bring out the unique flavor of it. Bhende upkari is one such dish loved by all. Okra(bhende) is cooked in very minimum spices and then garnished with fresh coconut.

When I was a kid, my granddad used to grow a lot of vegetables in out garden. Okra was one such vegetable that was grown. The taste of freshly plucked and cooked okra used to be divine. I feel there is a huge taste difference between the okra that I grew up eating and the one we get in Indian store here in USA. But still it is one the vegetables we love the most.

Pictorial:
Apply salt and turmeric to the cut okra and keep aside. Cook okra in the seasoning. Garnish with coconut.
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Okra Sidedish (Bhende Upkari)

Bhende upkari is a Konkani classic dish prepared by cooking okra in minimum spices and garnished with coconut.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb 1/2 kg apprx okra(bhende) cut into long pieces
  • 1 tea spn mustard seeds
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 4-5 curry leaves optional
  • 1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Cut okra into long pieces.
  • Apply some salt and turmeric to it and set aside. (This step reduces the sliminess of okra when cooked).
  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds.
  • When they start popping, add asafoetida, curry leaves(optional), green chillies slit into halves.
  • Add the okra and mix well.
  • Fry for 2-3 mins and then close the lid and let it cook on medium heat.
  • When it is cooked, sprinkle the fresh coconut on top and take off the heat.
  • Serve hot as a side with rice or chapatis.

 

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Spinach-Buttermilk Gravy (Palak Kadhi)

palak kadhi
palak kadhi

Cooking for weekdays is becoming a juggling act for me. I try to keep things simple, but I still want my family to eat something fresh. My two year old is in his “terrible-twos” phase. So vegetables usually go untouched. I am finding new ways to include it back in their diet. Last week I tried this kadhi. It was simple, delicious and easy to make – 3 things which I look for in whatever I cook.
Also check this spinach tambli.

Pictorial:
Heat oil and add all seasoning. Then add spinach.
palak kadhi1 palak kadhi2
When it is wilted, add water, salt.
palak kadhi3 palak kadhi5

Mix gram flour in buttermilk and mix well. Then add some boiling spinach water into it.

palak kadhi4 palak kadhi6

Add the mix back into boiling water. Cook for few mins.

palak kadhi7 palak kadhi8

Spinach-Buttermilk Gravy (Palak Kadhi)

A spicy, healthy and easy kadhi prepared by cooking spinach in buttermilk gravy.
4 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 -3

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups thick buttermilk or curd/yogurt
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn grated ginger
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tea spn urad dal
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
  • 1 tea spn besan gram flour
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat a little oil and fry mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds.
  • When they start popping, add green chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida, ginger.
  • Fry for few minutes and then add turmeric, spinach.
  • When spinach is wilted, Add a cup of water, salt. Bring to boil.
  • In a separate bowl, take buttermilk, besan and mix well to remove any lumps.
  • Now add a ladle full of spinach-water mix into yogurt and mix very well. (This step helps in bringing up temperature of buttermilk and so it does not curdle much when heated).
  • Beat the mixture very well and add it slowly back into the boiling spinach-water.
  • Cook on a medium-low heat. Mix it occasionally to avoid any curdling.
  • Serve with rice and some spicy side dish.

 

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Pepper Masala Chicken

Pepper Masala Chicken
Pepper Masala Chicken

I have this crazy desire to make different kinds of chicken dishes every time. I change one or the other ingredient every time to see if I can come up with a new dish. Most of the times they all taste almost same even though I switch around something. V loves spicy chicken, so few weeks ago I tried this spicy pepper masala chicken. It reminded me of our days in Bangalore when we loved to eat at Andhra restaurants. I served it with simple spinach dal and rice. It was a very comforting meal.

Pictorial:
Fry onions and ginger-garlic paste.
pepper masala chicken1pepper masala chicken2
Add all the dry masalas and fry for few minutes.
pepper masala chicken3 pepper masala chicken4
Add tomatoes and cook till they are mushy. Then add marinated chicken. Cook till done.
pepper masala chicken5 pepper masala chicken6 pepper masala chicken7

Pepper Masala Chicken

A spicy dry chicken recipe with pepper masala.
4.56 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb 1/2 kg approx boneless chicken
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder
  • 1/2 tea spn coarse pepper powder
  • 1 tea spn coriander powder
  • 1 tea spn cumin powder
  • 1/2 tea spn garam masala
  • 1/2 tea spn amchoor powder
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 1 tea spn ginger garlic powder
  • 1 tbl spn plain yogurt curd
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Apply turmeric powder, a little salt and yogurt to chicken pieces and keep aside for atleast 1 hr.
  • Heat oil, add curry leaves, onion, ginger-garlic paste.
  • Fry till onion is slightly brownish.
  • Now add all dry powders, fry for a min till nice aroma comes out.
  • Add tomatoes and fry till they are mushy.
  • Add chicken pieces and mix well.
  • Cover and cook till chicken is done. In between mix everything couple of times to make sure it doesn't burn.
  • Serve hot.

 

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Bottlegourd Raita (Lauki Raita)

Lauki Raita
Lauki Raita

Few months ago, our friend Mahi had invited us for dinner and she made this lauki raita along with many Andhra special dishes. I had never tasted this before. After coming home, I googled it and I realised it was a pretty popular dish. This is my version.

Bottlegourd or lauki is one of the vegetables I buy during almost every trip to Indian store. It was mostly used to make this khadi(burfi) or payasa when I was growing up, I loved these dishes. Now I mostly make savory dishes with bottlegourd. This raita goes very well with chapatis or rice.

Pictorial:
Make a seasoning and then add bottlegourd, cook.
lauki raita1 lauki raita2 lauki raita3 lauki raita4
Add yogurt, salt and serve.
lauki raita5

Bottlegourd Raita (Lauki Raita)

Lauki raita is yogurt based sidedish with cooked bottlegourd and spices
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 -3

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups 1 medium sized bottlegourd bottlegourd pieces
  • 1 cup thick yogurt curd
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn urad dal
  • 1 red chilli optional
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • A pinch asafoetida hing
  • 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds and urad dal.
  • When they start popping, add hing, curry leaves, red chili cut into two pieces.
  • Add the bottlegourd pieces, green chilli slit into two pieces.
  • Pour 1/2 cup water and cook. I pressure cooked it for 2 whistles.
  • Once it is cooled down, add curd(yogurt), salt.
  • Serve immediately with chapati/roti or rice.

Notes

Instead of adding the seasoning (mustard, urad dal, curry leaves, red chilli) first, it can be added at the end after adding yogurt. That will retain the crunchiness of seasoning.

 

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Pigeon Peas Sidedish (Tuvar Lilva Bhaji)

Tuvar Lilva Bhaji
Tuvar Lilva Bhaji

I was introduced to frozen tuvar lilva (pigeon peas) by my friend P. She makes a delicious bhaji with these and sweet potatoes.  This tuvar lilva bhaji must be one of my favorite dishes cooked by her. I have tried to pair this with sweet potatoes, normal potatoes and even paneer. It makes for a healthy and tasty side dish to go with chapatis/rotis. Last time I added some spinach to it and it was delicious. I normally make this directly in pressure cooker to save time.

Also check tuvar lilva in coriander masala recipe.

Pictorial:
Fry onions and ginger-garlic paste.

tuvar lilva bhaji1 tuvar lilva bhaji2
Add all masalas followed by tomatoes.
tuvar lilva bhaji3 tuvar lilva bhaji4
Add spinach, tuvar lilva, potatoes and cook till done.
tuvar lilva bhaji5 tuvar lilva bhaji6 tuvar lilva bhaji7

Pigeon Peas Sidedish (Tuvar Lilva Bhaji)

A healthy and delicious sidedish with fresh pigeon peas and potatoes(or paneer)
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 -5

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen tuvar lilva pigeon peas
  • 2 cups potatoes or sweet potatoes or paneer cut into cubes
  • 1 cup choppes spinach optional
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 tea spn ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tea spn garam masala or goda masala
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander powder
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin powder
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 1 tbl spn dessicated coconut
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil and fry onions, ginger-garlic paste.
  • When they turn translucent, add garam masala (or goda masala), coriander-cumin powder, coconut, turmeric, chilli powder, salt. Fry for few minutes.
  • Then add tomatoes and cook till they are mushy.
  • Add spinach, potatoes (or sweet potatoes or paneer), tuvar lilva, half cup water.
  • Cook till potatoes and peas are cooked.
  • Serve hot with chapatis/roti.

 

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