Sunday, 15 July 2012

Pahari Bhindi (Bhindi Made in Kumauni Style)

Pahari Bhindi
We Kumauni people treat Aloo (potato) like king of all vegetables in real sense, that is why in any and every vegetable potato is added and that changes the taste of cooked vegetable completely. Potatoes are not only rich in carbs and calories(80 k cal / 100gm potatoes) but also contain Vitamin C, protein, and antioxidants.which help fight cancer. Potatoes are said to stimulate brain activities also. Bhindi is rich in dietary fibers and very low in calories (30 cal./ 100 gm approximately). So the dish of Bhindi (okra / Lady Finger) I am going to tell you does have potato accompanying the main vegetable Bhindi.
My daughter in laws one of the favorite dish and of course mine, as far as I am concerned anything which has even a small bit of Kumaon in it is my favorite, as I am true blood Pahari.

Preparation Time: 25min.
Cooking Time:30min.
Servings: 8-10 Medium helpings
Ingredients required for making Pahari Bhindi:
  • 500gm. Bhindi (Okra / Lady Finger)
Bhindi (Lady Fingers / Okra)
  • 2 Medium size Potatoes (100-150gm.approximately)
  • 1 Tea spoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/2Tea spoon Red chili Powder
  • 1/2Tea spoon Turmeric Powder
  • 2-3 Whole Red chilies
  • Pinch of Asefoetida
  • 1/2Tea spoon Garam Masala
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt to Taste
  • 15 ml. Mustard oil (or any other cooking oil)
Direction for Making Pahari Bhindi:
  • Wash and towel dry the bhindi.
  • Cut off the tip and the lower end of bhindi and keep the bhindi in a dry container.
Tips and base of Bhindi removed
  • Cut the bhindi to 1cm. thick round pieces.
Bhindi cut to small pieces
  • Peel, wash and cut potatoes to small (1cm.) pieces.
Potatoes cut to small pieces
  • Take oil in a thick bottom wok and heat on high flame.
  • Add
    • Cumin seeds
    • Whole red Chili
  • Let the cumin seeds splutter and the chilies gain dark red color( not black)
  • Add asefoetida
  • Add Potato immediately and mix nicely.
  • Cook for 2-3 min. with regular stirring.
  • Add bhindi mix nicely.
Bhindi added after cooking potatoes for 2-3 min.
  •  Add turmeric powder and chili powder and mix.
Turmeric and Red chili Powder added

Mixed nicely after adding Turmeric and Red chili Powder
  • Cover and cook with occasional stirring for 10min. (the slimy liquid of Bhindi should dry off)
  • Add salt and mix.
Salt added when bhindi becomes dry after cooking for 10 min.
  • Cook with occasional stirring for 5 min. without covering.
Bhindi ready for adding  lemon juice and garam masala
  • If you and your family like slightly crisp bhindi then cook for another 5-10 min. but without covering and regular stirring.
Bhindi cooked for 10 minutes more for making it crysp
  • Squeeze the juice from lemon  
  • Add lemon juice and garam masala mix and switch off the gas and cover the cooked bhindi for 5 min.
  • Take out in a bowl and serve with roti, paratha, puri, chawal and dal / kadi / dubke…….
Pahari Bhindi
  • Pahari Bhindi tastes best in mustard oil so try not to change the oil.
  • Sieve the lemon juice before adding to vegetable to make sure that seeds do not go in the vegetable.
  • Pahari bhindi is Pahari because potatoes are added so do not remove potatoes from the recipe.
  • Onions are never added in Pahari Bhindi.
  • Add salt only after the slimy liquid of bhindi is dry and bhindi pieces separate from each other.
Suggested Variation:
  • Use amchur in the absence of lemon.
  • Since mustard oil adds roughly 300 cal to this preparation thus those who do not mind compromising with the tangy mustard taste can change to low calory olive oil.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Pahari Kheere Ka Raita (Cucumber and curd preparation)

Pahari Kheere Ka Raita
There are many ways of preparing cucumber raita; my favorite is Kumauni kheere ka raita. It has got a tangy taste and makes a very good accompaniment with all vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes. In Uttarakhand though it is eaten with each and every meal but dry potato vegetable, puri and raita is the most popular combination. I can never forget the chill of December and hot aloo ki sabji, piping hot puri and raita served most lovingly by my dear mom. The smell and taste lingers till now. Try this raita I can assure you and your family are going to love it.

Preparation: Time 15 min.
Servings: 5 – 6 medium  helpings

Ingredients Required For Making Raita:

  • 250 gm. Kheera (cucumber)
  • 250 gm. Thick Curd
  • 1 Tea spoon Mustard Seeds (Yellow mustard seeds are best for it)
  • 1 tea spoon paste of green chili / finely cut green chili
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 Tea spoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 Tea spoon powder of roasted Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 Tea spoon Red chili
  • Few sprigs of coriander leaves

Directions  For Making Kheere Ka Raita:
  • Grind the mustard seeds with water into paste filter it and keep aside or make fine powder of mustard seeds.
Filtered Paste of Mustard seeds

Mustard Paste
  • Wash and peel the cucumber.
Peeled Cucumber
  • Remove the inner soft part with seeds.
Pulpy portion of Cucumber not to be used in Raita
  •  Grate the remaining part of cucumber.
Center pulpy portion of cucumber removed

  • Squeeze the water from grated cucumber and keep it aside.
Grated Cucumber
  •  Beat the curd add grated cucumber to it and mix it.
Cucumber mixed in Curd
  •  Add salt, turmeric powder, mustard seed paste / powder, green chili paste / finely cut green chili and mix nicely.
Green Chili, Mustard powder, Turmeric powder salt added to curd and cucumber
  • Keep it aside for at least 30 min. for the flavor of mustard seeds to come out and give the tangy taste to the Raita.
  • Take the raita in a serving bowl and decorate it with roasted cumin seed powder and red chili powder / any green herb of your liking.
  • Wash and drain coriander sprig, cut finely.
  • Garnish the decorated raita with the coriander leaves.
  • Tangy raita with wonderful flavor is ready.
  • Serve this raita with any type of meal it goes well with everything.
  • Kumauni fare would be raita, aloo Gutuk and puri.
Pahari Kheere Ka Raita
  • Make sure all inner pulp with seeds is completely removed.
  • Squeeze away as much water from grated cucumber as possible to get thick raita.
  • Do not throw the water you get by squeezing the cucumber; use it for making dough of Roti / puri.

Suggested Variations:
  • Radish or Potato can be used in the absence of cucumber.
  • If radish or potato are used then they have to be peeled before grating and then boiled in salted water till they become soft and cooked.
  • Cool after boiling then squeeze excess water  and then put into thick curd

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Aloo gutuk ( Potato vegetable Kumauni Style)

Aloo gutuk

Potatoes are grown in Kumaon region of Northern India in large quantity,  may be that is why  we Kumauni are very fond of Potatoes. If ever you get chance to go to Kumaon you will see  in all the places where taxis and bus stop,  shop selling hot spicy aloo Gutuk , tangy Kheere ka raita, hot Pakodas and steaming hot tea. The combination of Aloo Gutuk and Pahari Kheere ka raita is simply lip smacking. In Kumaon aloo Gutuk are made along with singal (a fried sweet made of rice flour / semolina) and ever green raita.
When we used to go to Almora from Lucknow we used to wait eagerly for Garam Pani (a small town where bus and taxi used to stop) because the aloo Gutuk used to be best there and we used to be so hungry by then that we used to eat plate full after plate full of Gutuk and raita. The aroma and taste lingers till now in my memory.

Preparation Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 30min.
Servings: 6-7 Medium Servings

Ingredients Required for Making Aloo Gutuk:
500 gm. Potatoes
1 Tea spoon Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tea spoon Mustard seeds
3-4 Whole Red Chilies

Cumin Seeds, Mustard seeds and Red Chilies
1/2Tea spoon Jambu ( herb grown in higher region of Kumaon and Nepal) (optional)
Pinch of Asafoetida
1/2Tea spoon Turmeric Powder
1 Tea spoon Red chili Powder
1 Tea spoon Anar Dana Paste / Amchur
Salt to taste
20 ml. Mustard oil / Ghee / or any other cooking oil.
Coriander leaves for garnishing.

 Direction for Making Aloo Gutuk:
Peel, wash and cut potatoes to long 1cm. thick pieces.
Potato pieces
Take oil in a thick bottom wok and heat on high flame.
Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilies and Jambu.
Red chili, Jambu, Cumin seeds, mustard being cooked in oil
When the cumin seed splutter and chilies become dark in color (not black) add asafoetida and potato pieces.
Potatoes added to oil and seasonings
Mix nicely and add turmeric powder, chili powder salt and mix nicely.
Spices mixed to potatoes
Cover and cook on low flame for 10-15 min. with occasional stirring.
The color of potatoes will become golden brown,.
Potato cooked to golden brown color
Sprinkle 25-30 ml. water and mix.
Cover and cook till all water gets soaked in potato pieces.
Add anar dana paste / amchur mix and cook for a min.
Cover and switch off the gas.
Take out in a serving bowl and garnish with finely cut coriander leaves.
Add caption
Serve steaming hot Gutuk with roti, puri along with Pahari Tangy Kheere Ka Raita / thick curd.

Mustard oil / ghee give the best result so try it once before you change to oil of your liking.
Do not allow the cumin seeds become black.
Jambu is an herb grown in higher region of Kumaon and Nepal so may not be available everywhere but Aloo Gutuk can be made without jambu also.
In the absence of anar dana and amchur serve the Gutuk with a wedge of lemon.
Oil amount should not be reduced but can be increased if you want.

Suggested Variations:
Instead or raw potatoes, potatoes can be boiled and peeled and cut then used to make Gutuk.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Palak Ka Kapa ( Kumauni style Spinach vegetable)

Palak Ka Kapa

Palak (Spinach) is rich in iron. I find fresh green spinach so tempting that I cook it in different ways and have it for either lunch or dinner almost thrice or four times a week. Apart from palak paneer, Corn with palak, Aloo palak, Palak ka kapa is one preparation I love to cook as it is easy to cook and eat it with Dal and Chawal (cooked rice) as it is so tasty that I can eat rice only with Palak ka kapa.  As in this preparation of palak, palak is not cooked for too long so it retains all its nutrients and lovely green color. It is a Kumauni preparation of palak and almost a must with Arhar ki Dal / Dubke along with Chawal and Dhania Pudina chutney.

Preparation Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time 5-10min.
Servings: 6 large servings

Ingredients required for Making Palak Ka Kapa:
  • 1Bunch Palak (250 gm.)
  • 15-20gm. Rice flour (wheat flour or Besan in the absence of rice flour)
  • 1/2Teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1/2Tea spoon Red chili powder
  • 2-3 Whole Red chilies
  • Pinch Asafoetida
  • 1/4Teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 ml. mustard oil or any cooking oil
  • Water

Direction for Making Palak Ka Kapa:
  • Clean Palak for any yellow and rotten leaves.
  • Remove the root part from sprigs of Palak.
  • Wash Cleaned palak in flowing water till water from washing comes out clean.
  • Drain water by keeping the washed water in a sieve.
  • Cut the cleaned, washed palak very fine.

Finely cut Palak (spinach)

  • Take oil in a wok (if you have Iron wok then it is the best)and heat on high flame till smoking hot.
  • Add cumin seeds and whole red chilies.
  • Cumin seeds will splutter and red chilies will become dark in color quickly.
  • Immediately add rice flour and asafoetida and cook toll the color of rice flour becomes light brown.

Rice flour shallow fried with spices in oil to brown color

  • Add finely cut palak to it and mix nicely.

Palak added to the seasonings and rice flour mixture

  •  Add salt, chili powder and turmeric powder. 

Turmeric, Salt and red chili powder added to the palak

  • Mix and mash with the ladle.
Mixed and mashed

  • Add 250ml. water and cook on high flame with regular stirring and mashing for 4-5 min.

Water added to palak

After cooking for 5 min. with mashing and stirring

  • Cover and switch off the gas and let it cook in the heat it has retained.
  • Remove in a serving bowl and serve with steaming hot boiled rice and Dal /Kadi
 Or Dubke

Palak Ka Kapa
  • Wash palak in flowing water as lots of water is required to remove all dirt and soil from it.
  • Cut palak very thin and fine.
  • Do not over cook palak other wise it will loose its beautiful green color and taste.
  • Over cooking causes loss of nutrients present in it.
  • Do not let the flour become very dark in color as it would change the color ot Kapa also give a burnt taste to it.
  • When the oil is smoking hot immediately add the seasonings do not let the oil heating for long.
  • Do not add asafoetida along with cumin and chili as the hot oil will cause evaporation of the essential oil in it which gives the flavor and has medicinal properties.

Suggested Variations:
  • Mustard oil can be replaced by any other cooking oil of your choice but the typical Kumauni taste comes with mustard oil only.
  • Rice flour can be replaced by Whole wheat flour or besan, but try to have preferably rice flour otherwise wheat flour besan should be last choice.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Achari Baigan ( Brinjal and cucumber vegetable with pickle taste)

Achari Baigan
Baigan (Brinjal) is made to bharta, vegetable, as accompaniment with roti, Dal-chawal as main course meal.
I yet fail to understand why my friends used to call it Be-Gun (without any good property). Brinjal is rich in Vitamin A, Calcium, and potassium. It is full of nutrients and has lovely taste. I love all preparation of Brinjal but Achari Baigan is my favorite.
Do not dismiss brinjal from your kitchen but try this recipe and your family and you will love to have baigan in your vegetable basket.

Preparation Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 30min.
Servings: Makes 4 Medium helpings

Ingredients for making Achari Baigan:
250 gm. Brinjal
  • 250gm. Cucumber
  • 1 Medium size Potato.
  • 1 Tea spoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tea spoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tea spoon Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
  • 1/2Tea spoon Nigella seeds (Kalonji)
  • 1/2Tea spoon Methi seeds
  • 1/2Tea spoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tea spoon Red Chili Powder
  • 2-3 Whole Red Chilies
  • 2 Tea spoon Amchur powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 30 ml. Mustard oil / or any other cooking oil.

Directions for Making Achari Baigan:
  • Wash and towel dry brinjal and cucumber.
  • Remove the stalk from brinjal and cut them to long 1/2cm. thick pieces.
Brinjal cut to long thin pieces
  • Peel the cucumber and remove the inner soft portion with seeds.
Peeled Cucumber

Inner Pulpy portion removed from Cucumber
Inner Pulpy portion not to be used in Achari Baigan
  • Take the outer non-pulpy part of cucumber and cut it to 5-6 cm. long and 2 cm. thick pieces.
Cucumber cut to long thin pieces
  • Peel wash and cut the potato to thin long pieces. 
Potato cut to long thin pieces
  • Take oil in a wok and heat on high flame till smoking hot.
  • Lower the flame and add
    • Mustard seeds,
    • Nigella seeds (Kalonji)
    • Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds, Cumin, Kalonji added to oil
  • Then after 30 sec. of cooking add
    • Fennel seeds (Saunf)
    • Methi seeds
    • Whole red chili
Fennel seeds, Whole red chili , Fenugreek seeds added to rest of the spices in oil
  • Let the seeds splutter and cook for 30sec.
  • Add potato pieces and mix nicely.
Potato pieces added to oil and spices
  • Cook for 2-3 mi with regular stirring.
  • Add brinjal and mix to mix the oil and spices nicely.
Brinjal pieces added
  • Cook for 10 min. with regular turning of the brinjal in oil and spices.
Brinjal pieces cooked for ten min. and ready for cucumber to be added
  • Add cucumber pieces and mix thoroughly.
Cucumber pieces added
  • Cook for another 10 min. with regular stirring but without covering the wok.
Cooked for ten min.  after adding cucumber without covering
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and amchur.
Turmeric, Red chili powder, alt and Amchur added to the vegetable mixture
  • Mix thoroughly and cover and cook for 5 min. without stirring.
  • The part of vegetable touching the wok will become reddish brown.
Vegetables cooked to brown color on one side

  • Turn the vegetable upside down in the wok.
  • Cover and cook for another 5 min. 
Other side of vegetables cooked to brown color
  • Removed the cooked Achari Baigan in a serving bowl and enjoy it with Hot chapatti or Dal chawal.
Achari Baigan
  • Those who do not use mustard oil can use olive oil or any other cooking oil, but Achari Baigan tastes best when made in mustard oil.
  • The brinjal taken should be tender and firm, without seeds in it.
Soft Baigan to be used for Achari Baigan
  • Do not put the center pulpy part in the vegetable if you do so it will make the Achari baigan lumpy.
  • Do not reduce oil amount because this preparation requires more oil, if you want you can increase the amount of oil to 40 ml.
  • Stir the vegetable but be careful it is not mashed.
Suggested Variations:
  • One or two medium size carrots (100gm) can be added to the vegetable along with cucumber while cooking.
  • Potato can be avoid if one wants to avoid potato in vegetable.
  • In the season of raw mango amchur can be replaced with peeled and thinly cut pieces of one medium size mango. the mango pieces should be added along with cucumber.
  • While cooking one teaspoon mustard powder can be added for change of taste and tangy flavor.


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