Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Langar Waali Daal

have never had this daal at the Gurudwara (been only once or twice till now) and had never heard of it obviously until I saw Jaspreet Nirula Ji's post some time back on my regular food group. I had forgotten all about it until this last weekend when I didn't have anything special to offer my family for a nice lunch. Quickly searched for the recipe (couldn't find his and then googled and then found his), did some changes here and there and I served the most amazing daal I had made in recent times!! If this daal made by a person who has never tasted it can be so yummy, I wonder how that daal would taste which is made with so much love and positivity and that too in such a huge quantity. Can't wait to make it again!! 
1 cup whole black urad daal (you can use split black urad daal as well)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp chana daal
6 big cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric powder 
1 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
For masala
1 1/2 large tomatoes chopped 
1 tsp ginger grated
2 green chillies chopped 
1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder 
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Chopped onions to serve (optional) 
Fresh chopped coriander to garnish 

Wash and soak the lentils overnight. If you forget this step or decide to makr it at the nth hour, put the urad daal in the pressure cooker and after 1 whistle, switch off the flame and let it soak in the water for 2-3 hours. Otherwise, a soaking time of 5-6 hours is good enough if you have time but overnight soaking is best. For the channa daal, either soak it overnight or if you forget, one hour soak is good enough. 
Pressure cook the lentils with all the ingredients except for the masala for 5-6 whistles till the lentils are mushy. You can also slow cook the lentils in an earthen pot or deep bottom vessel on a medium flame and covered. 
Now, heat 2 tbsp ghee and crackle the cumin seeds. Add the grated ginger and the chopped chillies followed by the tomatoes. Add the dry spices and stir constantly till the tomatoes are mushy and oil droplets appear along the sides. Now pour the boiled and slightly mashed daal (with a potato masher) and mix well. Add salt as required, garam masala, and sugar. Add a bit of the chopped coriander and stir. Reserve the rest for final garnish. Just before switching off the flame add the remaining ghee and stir. Need not dissolve it completely. Remove from heat, add the remaining chopped coriander and the chopped onions (if using). Serve hot!!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Hara Bhara Kabab

Probably the most popular vegetarian kababs, these are packed with nutrition and yet so easy to make. These are great served hot from the pan to enjoy the crunchy crust and soft inside. Serve these with a sprinkle of chaat masala and a fierry green chutney or sliced onions with a squeeze of lemon. Just yumm!!

200 gms spinach, stems removed 
1/2 cup green peas
2 large potatoes boiled
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp gram flour or besan
1 tsp red Chilli powder 
1 tsp cumin powder 
1/2 tsp chat masala or more to taste
Salt to taste 
Oil to fry

Boil the peas and potatoes till soft. Drain and keep aside. 
Blanch the spinach and squeeze excess water and finely chop. 
In a bowl, mash the potatoes and peas with a potato masher as fine as you can and add the chopped spinach. Add all the dry spices, ginger garlic paste, and besan and mix well. If your spinach wasn't squeezed well and there is still excess moisture, you can add 1 tbsp more besan and mix. Now pinch out small quantity and make a small smooth ball and flatten it with your palm. Arrange on a plate and repeat for the rest of the mixture. 
Now heat a grill pan and fry the kababs, with a little drizzle of oil, till golden on both the sides. Serve hot!!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Classic Chicken and Mushroom Pie with Cheddar Cheese Short Crust Pastry

Conducting cooking and baking classes also means that I need to do my homework really really well. I like to give my class participants the best of all I know and so I do a lot of reading and experiments before I announce my next class. A pie and tart class has been long due and repeatedly requested and so here is my homework for the next schedule which is in November. There are three more recipes that I will need to try. Stay tuned!! Do read my notes at the end for vegetarian options.
For the filling 
1 chicken breast, about 150 gms, cut into medium pieces
200 gms white button mushrooms quartered 
1 large onion chopped 
2 cloves garlic chopped 
1 tbsp chopped parsley 
1 tbsp chopped rosemary 
1 tbsp olive oil plus more if required 
2 tbsp butter 
2 tbsp flour
200 ml milk
200 ml chicken/vegetable stock 
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pie crust (for a 22 cm pie plate)
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
2 tbsp butter, chilled 
2 tbsp vegetable shortening , chilled 
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp grated cheddar cheese 
1 egg (I used a little less than 1 large egg)

Start with making the pie crust first. Take the flour, salt, butter and shortening and start rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. There should still be some traces of butter and shortening visible in the mixture. Do not overmix. 
Now add the grated cheese and the egg, little at a tine, till the dough just comes together. We don't need a smooth or fine dough. Just the one which holds everything together. I used little less than 1 large egg. 
Cover the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate till further use. 
Now start preparing the filling. Heat oil in a pan and add the chicken pieces. Fry till they turn white. Now add the mushrooms and fry on high heat till the moisture evaporates and the chicken and the mushrooms turn slightly golden. Remove from the pan and keep aside. 
Now, in the same pan, add a little more oil if required and fry the chopped onions and   garlic till translucent. Remove from pan and keep with the chicken. 
Now, to make the sauce, you can either use the same pan or use a new one. Heat the butter and add the flour. Stir till you get a lovely aroma and the flour looks pasty. Now mix the milk and the stock and add it to the pan along with salt and pepper. Stir on a medium flame till the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. 
Now add the chopped parsley and rosemary and mix and remove from heat. Put the chicken mixture into a pie plate and pour the sauce over it. Spread to evenly cover the chicken beneath. Keep aside and let it cool. 
Preheat the oven at 200 degree celcius for 10 minutes. Now, take a parchment paper and spread it out on the kitchen counter. Take the dough out of the fridge and remove the cling wrap. Put another sheet of parchment paper or cling wrap and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough gently from all sides to a uniform thickness of about 3 mm and just enough to cover the top of the pie plate. 
Brush the sides of the pan with egg wash. Gently lift the rolled out dough and place it on the pie dish covering the edges and sitting on top of the filling. Seal the edges with your fingertips and filling in any edges with scrap dough. Make some cuts in the center to let the steam escape. 

Brush the top with egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes till the edges and top and browned and crisp. Remove from oven and let it cool for sometime before serving. 
1. You can use any assorted veggies instead of the chicken like broccoli, sweet corn, carrots, beans, spinach, or cottage cheese as well. 
2. You can use 2-3 tbsp ice cold water instead of the egg while kneading the dough. 
3. You can skip the egg wash if you are a pure vegetarian. You can use milk wash instead but the shine won't be there.