Tag: garlic

Garam Masala Tuesdays: Chicken Khada Masala

India hosted its first Grand Prix last week at the Buddh International Circuit. I wish I had the opportunity to witness it but some other things had to be tended to. Not only did India offer Formula One a racing circuit rivaling the best in the world but it did so with its typical Indian warmth.

This is what Sebastian Vettel, the winner of India’s inaugral Grand Prix, had to say about his experience in India:

If you keep your eyes open I think you are able to learn a lot from the way people handle things here. It is a big country, a lot of people.. But they get along and are happy..even though people don’t have a lot here, in a way they are much richer than a lot of people back in Europe.

So true. And when the warmth of the people isn’t enough, the food and the culture of India will surely make you feel richer than usual.

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For lunch: Spicy Garlic Mushroom Soup

V loves Indian food. He prefers it to all other cuisines. And unlike me, he is not too experimental with his food. Give him dal chawal (a rice and lentil Indian dish) 365 days of the year (366, in case its a leap year), he will be a satisfied customer.

So, when I decide to make something that would be defined “experimental” in his dictionary, I have to do a lot of planning. I have to mentally prepare him for it so that he is not caught by surprise. And if its a vegetable he doesn’t like, my task is made that much more difficult.

Now, V is not particularly crazy about mushrooms.

And if V is not particularly crazy about something, that thing will not get anywhere near him.

I, on the other hand, love mushrooms. And, alas, me being ‘the quintessential Indian wife’ (barf!) that I am, mushrooms don’t feature on our grocery list.

Well, 9 out of ten times they don’t.

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PB’s garlic noodles

I don’t know how people cook for one. The day I know V is not coming home for lunch, I don’t bother making anything and just heat a packet of Maggi noodles and leave it at that.

Ok, a thing about me. I adore maggi like anything. I have, in the past, kissed maggi packets to show how much I love them and have begged them to never leave me.

Ok that’s not true- I exaggerate!

Or maybe not!

The truth?

Keep guessing!

But, one thing is for definite- I looooove Maggi noodles!

I have had maggi piping hot, mildly hot, cold, and even raw and I have loved it every way! Maggi for me is comfort food at its best and those who haven’t tried it- you have my sympathies with you.

And, those who have tried and don’t like it- I don’t know what to say.

I don’t want to be rude but I don’t think I am too fond of you!

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Dal Makhani

A week back, on this day- Tuesday, I started a new thing on the blogGaram Masala Tuesdays or as someone I know put it GMT (I tell you, these things are not intentional- they just happen 🙂 !). This Tuesday its my second post for Garam Masala Tuesday and even though I have been in no mood of cooking- it has been a 2 1/2 months long break from cooking– but I had to post something today. How can I start something a week back and not live up to the promise!

Since I had to post, and there were no two ways about it, I thought I would make something that would not require too much effort. And, something that I knew V had eaten rarely in the last 2 1/2 months. And something I love quite dearly. So it had to be Dal Makhani.

Dal Makhani is the quintessential Punjabi dish (Punjab is a state in the northern part of India). Dal means lentils and makhani means buttery; so, literally translated dal makhani reads “buttery lentils”. Dal Makhani, butter naan and butter chicken are staple to Punjabi food- the above three and rajma chawal are always top of every Punjabi’s favorite food list.

Dal makhani is a rich, creamy lentil dish that is traditionally cooked on a low simmer for hours in a pureed tomato and butter gravy. Traditionally, the dal was cooked by leaving overnight on burning charcoal. It is also called Maa ki Dal. Though Maa means mother in Hindi,  Maa is also the name given to whole unskinned black lentils and hence the name for the dish.

If you notice, the common thing to most Punjabi dishes is, yes, you guessed it- butter. Ah, butter- utterly butterly delicious butter! Being a north Indian and a hard core Punjabi, now you know the reason behind my affinity to butter and the reason for my tendency to put on weight. Well, tradition is a tough thing to break from and when tradition comes in the form of butter, you know the battle is lost!

There are lot of different versions of this dish but I like this one as its easy and the results are always great. Plus, there is no chopping involved in the recipe I use (that is exactly why I chose to make it today). And requires very little time in the kitchen. It does take 2 hours for the whole preparation but you are not required to be in the kitchen the whole time.  This dish is great even the next day- so feel free to make a day before you plan to serve it. The dish is great both with rice and with Indian flatbreads like chappati/roti or naan.

Note: Some time back I had posted another lentil recipe. It is one of V’s recipe and IT IS GOOOOOD! Do check it out!

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I decided to make some rolls day before. My dad loves home made bread and after I made some spinach bread a few days back for him, I thought I’ll treat my dad some more and make some garlic and herb rolls.

I have tried several recipes of garlic bread but somehow all fail when it comes to the garlic flavor. One bite and I question whether I added any garlic or not. But, not with this one! Not only did I up the amount of garlic in the bread, but with this cool basting trick I found at Annie’s Eats, while figuring out how to make knotted rolls, you would be sure you are eating a garlic flavored bread.

Annie also has step-by-step illustrated instructions on how to make the knotted rolls. In case you would like to shape them like knots do check her post.

Fresh out of the oven, with some butter slathered on- these make a fantastic eat!

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I finally got it!! V had been guarding his lentil recipe all this while. For the uninitiated, V makes this awesome toovar dal (cooked lentils) in the slow cooker. This was the recipe that got him by his bachelor days. And uptil now he wouldn’t tell me how he makes it. He always throws me out of the kitchen whenever he makes it (which has been twice before) so that I don’t get to know his secret recipe (rolling eyes).

Now, for days I had been craving his dal, with some rice. And since the rare occasions that he cooks fall on Sundays and all the previous Sundays we have been out- that craving just kept increasing. Finally, the Sunday that went, V decided to give in to my cravings and set his foot in the kitchen. 🙂

Haha! This picture of V just cracks me up!

Haha! This picture of V just cracks me up!

This time though, he was willing to share his secret!! Well, the opportunity to be featured on my blog- not just in photos but as an actual contributor- that was too big for him to pass on, so he let me in on his secret.

So there I was, with my phone in hand taking down notes and pictures while V explained how his dal is made.

Here’s how to make V’s Crockpot Dal:

What you need for the slow cooker:

  • 1 cup split pigeon peas (toovar dal)
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 3 roma tomatoes, cut in big slices
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt, to taste

Take the dal (split pigeon peas), and wash it properly. Add the water, tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Put the lid on the crockpot and turn it on HIGH. Let cook for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, the lentil should be cooked. Now comes the part that holds the key to the dal being so freakingly good.

The secret to his dal, according to V is the tadka (the tempering of spices).

For the tadka, you need:

  • 3 garlic cloves, cut lengthwise, in slivers
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee (V adds more, I think but, so that I don’t freak out he mentioned a “smaller” amount)
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder

To temper, heat clarified butter (ghee) to a real hot temperature in a saucepan. Add the garlic, fry til they turn brown. Add the cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. (You might want to open a window, because the spices do tend to get into your system). Fry till it looks a little burnt. (I confirmed with V and he said thats how its supposed to be.)

Add the burnt looking tempered spices to the crockpot and quickly close the lid. After a few seconds, lift the lid- with a ladle take out some dal and put in the saucepan used for tempering. Scrape out any remaining spices in the saucepan, and add the liquid back to the crock pot.

Serve it warm with rice and some curd. The dal has a very strong flavor of garlic but I think thats what adds to the beauty of it. 🙂


Tzatziki dip is a traditional greek dip. Its made of greek yogurt mixed with grated cucumbers, garlic, olive oil. Greek yogurt is basically, strained yogurt – the consistency has to be thick for the dip. Like the yogurt, the cucumber should not be too watery. After grating the cucumber, make sure to squeeze it real hard to remove the moisture from the cucumber. Tzatziki sometimes also has dill, parsley, or mint for an added flavor. I used dill and love the flavor it adds to the dip. Its a great accompaniment to pita, or a great dip to serve with cut vegetables.

I made the tzatziki dip for the coffee morning at my place and it was a hit. I mixed the leftover tzatziki with some leftover coleslaw and added macaroni and some boiled potatoes to it. It was one of the best macaroni salads I have ever tasted.

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Today was coffee at my house. Its always fun having these coffee meets. Get to talk and learn so much from the diverse group of friends I have. We had a new girl join us. I remember, how, about 8 months back I was new to this group. And now the group feels like family- people I can count on when I need someone here. Its always fun to cook for them- they are all so generous with their compliments! Also, it gives me a platform to not only experiment by baking extravaganzas, but to introduce my friends to Indian food. They now all know about Samosas, kathi rolls, mint chutney and I feel happy to have made them taste that part of the world. Today, though, I did not go Indian. I kept it simple with buttered garlic on a home-made Spinach bread and carrots served with tzatziki dip. For the sweet tooth there was fruitcake and I also kept some olive-cheese-pineapple on a stick appetizers. Surprisingly the latter were quite a hit with the children!

The idea for Spinach bread had been haunting me for a while. I had a bunch of spinach in my fridge and thought it would be an interesting way to use it up. Found a recipe here. I wanted to add some feta cheese but did not have any in the fridge. And cheese had to go in the bread! So instead I added some parmesan cheese. I also added roasted garlic to the dough. The bread came out very flavorful. I served the bread baked with some garlic-herb smothered butter and everyone devoured them!

Next time I will replace some of the all-purpose with whole-wheat flour – you know, make it all healthy and all ;). Would also add some powdered flax seeds! Oohh, the sound of it makes me want to run to the store and grab a bunch or two of spinach. (What would you know, we finished both the loaves at the coffee today- yes! it was that good!)

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