Flavourful, nutritious Rajma masala curry of pre-soaked, well cooked red kidney beans in a thick onion gravy, spices & turmeric. Best with hot Rice or with flatbread.
Recent Recipes and Posts
Exploring the cuisine of each State in India by turn, is such an enriching experience. This Baingan Badi Sabzi, a delicious eggplant and lentil fritters curry from the traditional Bhojpuri cuisine prevalent in the Indian states of Bihar and UttarPradesh, is interesting to make and has ingredient options that make it nutritious too. The main ingredient is the brinjal or eggplant/ aubergine. This is accompanied by small sun dried badis which seems to have many names – wadi, wadiyan, mangodi etc. The basic ingredient for making a badi is flour – though the flour and spices, herbs to be added differ across regions. I have made a simple Bihari Urad dhal ki badi, with black gram lentils. The recipe is given in the instructions below.
Cooking the State wise dishes of India are part of the monthly theme set by this lovely food blogger group, Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge . Every month each of us is paired up with another blogger, and a theme for the month also decided. Each of the participants name 2 ingredients for their partner, and we have to make and post a picture of the dish using these 2 ingredients. The remaining members of the group have to try and guess the secret ingredients. Its both interesting and a great deal of learning while we research the cuisine of the State for the month.
The theme for December is Bihari cuisine and my partner for the month, the talented food blogger Amrita Iyer (more about her, below) gave me as the secret ingredients – dill leaves and urad dhal (Black gram lentils). As I had fresh purple eggplant, I decided to try and make the badi (or wadi as it is often known – a type of sundried lentil fritters) and the very tasty Baingan Badi Sabzi – Curried aubergine in mustard oil, with Black gram fritters.
Amrita Iyer blogs at The Food Samaritan. Do take a few minutes to check out the blog. It is versatile and interesting, with recipes ranging from food from different Indian regions, to soups and salads, curries and gravies, sauces and cakes! I had given her as her secret ingredients, gram flour and coriander seeds, and she made this delicious looking Papda ki Subzi which I must try out soon too!
While deciding on the recipe I wanted to make for this month’s theme, I browsed through Pallavi Nigam Sahay’s wonderful cookbook, The Bhojpuri Kitchen. It describes the food of this region and has a number of well explained recipes, all of them mouth watering. I loved the book and am going to make more of these recipes soon. I referred her recipe for Baingan Badi Sabzi to the extent of some of the quantities, however I did not follow the recipe to a large extent as I made a different version with spinach and dill leaves.
Before you make this dish from the recipe below, please go through my Kitchen Hints:
- In this recipe for making Baingan Badi Sabzi, I have added spinach and dill leaves which actually make it a Baingan Badi Saag Sabzi, a wholesome, nutritious and tasty dish. You may omit the greens if you wish, but I think it adds a lovely dimension to the flavours.
- The spices, greens, herbs and the brinjal with the fried badi is quite easy to put together once you have made the badi and prepped the vegetables.
- I have fried the brinjal slices for a few minutes before cooking them in the curry as this is one way of making the sabzi (and I like fried brinjal more than sautéed or steamed ones) but this is a step you may omit. Instead directly add raw instead of fried brinjal while while cooking and increase the mustard oil in the recipe as well as let the baingan cook longer till they are well done. I had reduced the mustard oil in the recipe as the badi and the brinjal were both deep fried separately and lesser oil was therefore needed in the curry.
Making the urad dhal badi:
Most of the food of the Bihari cuisine seem to have flour as a component. The famous sattu in some, or gram flour (basen) or rice flour or, as in this recipe, urad dhal flour. A few days before I planned to make the Baingan Badi Sabzi, I soaked urad (black gram lentils overnight) and then ground them into a batter with cumin seeds and very little water. After this I made the little badis and sun dried them for 3 days.
The urad dhal badi dried well even in the lower intensity of December heat, and fried into crisp little badis. It was easy to make them, but badis are available ready made in many places in Northern India and you may choose to get them from the store instead of making the urad dhal badi from scratch. I have therefore not added the time for making the badi, in the recipe details. However if you plan to make badi at home, you need to plan at least 3 sunny days ahead of time before you can actually make Baingan Badi Sabzi.
Venturing further into North Eastern Cuisine, I made Assamese Aloo Pitika, the delicious Aloo Chokha look alike. Simple, very easy and with the mustard oil giving its unmistakable fragrance and its unique character to the dish, I can’t understand why I have not been using mustard oil more often in my kitchen. Its not that I am not used to cooking with mustard oil. In fact we regularly made aloo chokha aka mashed potatoes, with mustard oil and the stuffed red chillies from my husbands village in Eastern UP, and it would taste awesome.
This traditional stew from Arunachal Pradesh cuisine, Oying Vegetable Stew is simple, easy to make and delicious. There are just a handful of ingredients and no oil or spices are used. What makes the dish tasty is the freshness of the boiled vegetables and the flavours of the chilli and ginger. It healthy too, as well as vegan and gluten free.
This post is a detailed guide on how to soak fruits for Christmas Fruit cake. (I had first published it last year and am republishing with updated inputs.) The choice of fruits and the proportions in the recipe below are similar for soaking in alcohol or in an non alcoholic liquid, and I have given the steps for both types (the timelines for a non-alcoholic liquid are given at the end of the write up to the post). The timelines do differ, as well as how to preserve the fruits for the cake till it is baked.
If you do not want to soak the fruits ahead of time, I have given a short-cut method in the recipe for baking a Christmas Fruit cake.
You are going to love this chutney! Everyone at home did! Tomato Peanut Orange Peel Chutney Andhra Style – you can imagine the flavours and texture from each of the ingredients! Large yellow and red tomatoes from Lakshmi’s vegetable plot, bright fragrant orange peel, peanuts, chillies and spices and turmeric coming together with an incredible taste. Make sure you use juicy tomatoes for the chutney so that you do not need to add water during the process and dilute the flavours. (more…)
It is customary to offer Navaratri Naivedyam to the Mother Goddess on each of the 9 days of Navaratri, and for the Pooja to be carried out twice a day, i.e. in the morning and evening. This post brings you Navaratri Naivedyam and Sundal Recipes that you can easily make. The rice based dishes or variety rice can do double duty as both naiveydam and as lunch or for tiffin boxes, after you have first lit the lamp and offered it to the Goddess. Sundal Naivedyam is usually prepared in the evenings and is the prasadam for visitors for the kolu. (more…)
The popular Indian festival of Navaratri (or Navarathri/Navratri) is about to begin and I am listing out some of the traditions and significances along with useful and interesting recipes, in a new series on my Blog, on “Navaratri: Fasting and Feasting And Everything In-between”. The first part of the series is on Navaratri Golu and How To Keep It. I hope it will be useful to those keeping golu for the first time, or having practiced Bomma Kolu (or Golu) for Navarathri for a few years are interested in knowing more about the significance and how to arrange the dolls as per traditional customs. (more…)
Continuing the series of recipes that I started earlier this year when cooking tasty and nutritious food for my daughter after child birth, this is an easy and tasty Dal or lentil stew. As I have said in the post on Cooking for the New Mom on this blog, Tur dal (Towaram paruppu in Tamil) or pigeon pea lentils are to be avoided during the post partum period as they can be difficult to digest as well as can be gassy for the baby. This nourishing Masoor Dal for the New Mom, on the other hand is one of the best foods you can give the nursing mother. Masoor dal is easy to digest and is said to stimulate/ improve lactation, and is rich in iron and protein. (more…)
This savoury wholewheat Herbed Patty Pan Squash Tomato Tart was made almost by chance. The secret ingredients from my partner Shobha Keshwani for the Facebook group Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge for the August ‘baked dish’ theme were flour and pumpkin or squash and I had planned to bake pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips. (more…)
I fell in foodie love with these pretty pale green Patty Pan Squash when I visited the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City last week. I paired them with green capsicum in a Patty Pan Squash Mint Soup, and added mint and fresh orange juice for flavour and cumin and pepper powder for a touch of spice. Lovely purple edible hyacinth flowers again from the Greenmarket made a colourful garnish. (more…)