Thursday, November 19, 2009

Capsicum and Potato Subzi (Shimla Mirch aur Aloo ki Subzi)

It feels like a capsicum week at my house. I made a stuffed capsicum curry a few days ago. Then on Tuesday some guests were going to come over, and I had to find options for a Jain subzi, so I made Jain Capsicum and Paneer subzi. A few capsicums were left unused on Tuesday, so I made a capsicum potato subzi. I am not going to cook anything with capsicum for sure for the next few weeks.:). I used Green and Red Capsicums (bell peppers) for the Jain Paneer and Capsicum Subzi. I don’t have any picture for the Jain Paneer Capsicum subzi, but let me tell you, it looked as good as it tasted:)
Anyways here is the recipe for the Capsicum and Aloo ki Subzi.

Ingredients: (Makes for 2-3 People)
2 Big Capsicums (I used Green, but any color should work).
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds (Til)
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
1 Teaspoon Oil
½ Teaspoon Asafoetida (hing), Optional
Salt to Taste
2 Teaspoon Tomato Ketchup (I used Heinz)
1/4th Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder (or to taste)
1 Teaspoon Coriander and Cumin Powder (Dhaniya Jeera Powder)
1/4th Water (We will use as little as we can)


Remove seeds from the peppers, and cut the peppers and potatoes in medium size pieces. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Once the oil is hot, reduce the flame and add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the sesame seeds. Cook for a minute on slow flame, and then add the peppers, ketchup and some salt. Stir and mix well so that the peppers are well coated with the oil and ketchup. Turn the flame to medium. Cover with a lid to cook the peppers with steam. Stir occasionally making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. After 5 minutes or so, when you can see the peppers have started to cook, add the potatoes and mix well. Turn the flame to medium high, add a little water if potatoes start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook stirring occasionally. When the potatoes are almost done, add all the garam masala, turmeric powder, chili powder, and dhaniya jeera powder. Turn the flame to low, add some water if need, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. This will help blend the spices well with the peppers and potatoes, while they are almost cooked. When you see that all the masala has well coated the capsicums and potatoes, remove from the flame. Serve with paratha, roti or naan.

PS: If you are like me, who likes spicy and dry curries, you will definitely like this dish. Enjoy!!

I did it again....I forgot to take a picture of the subzi. I will upload a picture next time I make this subzi:)
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Jain Paneer Capsicum Curry

I had invited some of my friends for dinner at our house, for whom, I had to prepare Jain food. (No onion, garlic, carrot, ginger, potatoes...basically no root vegetables). So I decided to cook a Paneer dish, with different colored bell peppers in it. I used Red and Green peppers to give the dish some color. Though I didn’t use onion, garlic or ginger, or (my favorite) potatoes, the curry turned out pretty good.

Here is the recipe for a Jain Paneer Capsicum Subzi

3 Medium Sized Green Bell Peppers
2 Medium Sized Red Bell Peppers
½ kg Paneer Cut in Medium Size Cubes
1/4th Teaspoon Cardamom Powder (or 6-7 Cardamom Seeds)
1 Bay Leaf
1” Cinnamon Stick
2-3 Cloves
½ Cup Cashews
5 Medium Tomatoes
Water as needed
Salt per Taste
2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Powder (or per taste)
2 Teaspoon Coriander Cumin Powder (Dhaniya Jeera Powder)
½ Teaspoon Garam Masala
½ Teaspoon Amchur Powder (Dried Mango Powder), Optional
1/4th Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder, Optional
2 Teaspoon Ghee/Butter (or Oil)


Put the tomatoes and cashews together in blender, and grind to a smooth paste. Heat Ghee/butter or oil in a pan. Add the bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then add the tomato-cashew puree, salt, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Cook half covered on low-medium flame. Stir occasionally to make sure that the cashew paste doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

While the gravy is cooking, cut the capsicums (bell peppers), in thin -1 inch long slices and add to the curry. Add some water to get the curry of your desired consistency. Add more salt if needed, and cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes, or until the peppers are almost cooked. Don’t forget to stir after every few minutes to uniformly cook the peppers.

While the peppers are getting cooked, heat some ghee/oil in a pan and add the paneer cubes to the pan. Cook on low flame until the cubes are coated until the paneer has turned golden brown on the outside. Be careful with paneer, as it has a tendency to stick to the pan if it is not stirred frequently. Once the paneer pieces have turned golden brown, remove them from the heat.

Now check the gravy. If the peppers are almost cooked then add the paneer pieces to the curry. Now add all the dry spices such as pepper powder, garam masala, amchur powder, turmeric powder, and coriander cumin powder. Stir and mix well. Cook covered on low flame for 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and serve hot with roti, naan, paratha or rice.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the dish, but you can imagine it was colorful with green and red peppers, and golden brown paneer pieces. Oh ya, and it was very tasty. Wish I had a picture to put up here.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Stuffed Capsicum (bell pepper)Curry

I went to a lot of Diwali dinners this year, with different sets of friends, and in some local community dinner. At one of the dinners, we had a stuffed vegetable curry, which was awsome. They used three vegetables such as cucumber, tomato and capsicum, which were sutffed with spicy potato stuffing. Since then I wanted to try making it at home. I personally didn't like stuffed cucumber and tomatoes, so I made my version only with stuffed capsicums.

Here is what I used to make the subzi:

3 Small Capsicums (Bell Pepper, any color should work, I used Green).
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon Butter or Ghee

2 medium Potatoes
Salt to taste
½ Cup Mixed Vegetable (Corn Kernels, Peas, Carrots)
1/8th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
4 Green Chilies (finely chopped)
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala (or less per your taste preference)
½ Teaspoon Amchur Powder
½ Teaspoon Jeera
1 Teaspoon Oil
½ Medium size Onion (Finely Chopped)

2 Teaspoon Oil
1 Small or 1/2 Medium size Onion
3 Medium Tomatoes
1/4th Cup Cashews
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
2-3 Cloves
½ Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Powder
2 Teaspoon Dhaniya Jeera Powder
1/8th Teaspoon Cardamom Powder, or 5-7 Cardamom Seeds
1/8th Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder (optional)
1/2 Cup Water or More as Required

Before making the subzi, I should let you know that this is a very filling dish. If you are using small or medium sized capsicum, count one per person. If you are using big capsicums, count ½ capsicum per person.

Pressure cook the potatoes for 5-6 whistles and let it cool. Meanwhile, wash and clean the capsicums. Carefully cut the stem and remove seeds. Do not throw away the tops; instead remove the stem and chop the tops into small pieces. We will use them in our curry.

Fill a deep bowl with water, add some salt, add the capsicums and boil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the capsicum skin becomes a little soft. Do not over boil the capsicum. It should retain its shape after boiling. Take off the heat, remove from water. Drain all the water that might have entered the hollow portion and keep aside.

Stuffing: Now mash the potatoes and keep aside. Heat some oil in a kadai (pan), add the cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the chopped onion and some salt. Cook until the onion turns translucent. Then add the frozen veggies, garam masala, and turmeric powder. Cook for 5-6 minutes then add to the potato mixture. Now add the amchur powder and chopped green chilies and mix well.

Carefully stuff the capsicums with the potato stuffing making sure not to break it.

Heat a non stick pan on low flame. Melt some butter and cook the capsicum rotating the sides, until all sides are cooked to golden brown color.

Now for the Gravy:

Grind the onion and cashews to a smooth paste. Now separately grind the tomatoes to a smooth paste.

Heat some oil in a kadai. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and cook for a minute. Now add the onion and cashew paste and cook on low flame until the paste looses its pink color and starts turning slightly brown. Now add the pureed tomatoes, salt, garam masala, dhaniya jeera powder, red pepper powder, and turmeric powder. Add water to get the consistency of your preference. Cover with a splatter (mesh) and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional). The gravy is ready.

There are two ways you can serve this subzi.

1. Add the cooked capsicum to the gravy and cook for 2-3 minutes and serve hot with roti, naan or paratha.

2. (My preference). Put a stuffed pepper in the center of a dish. Pour the gravy over it and serve hot with roti, naan or paratha.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dabeli or Doube Roti

Dabeli is a Kutchhi dish. It is made by placing spicy potato mixture in the center of a "pav", which is similar to dinner rolls or burger buns sold here in the US. The potato mixture is garnished with spicy peanuts, pomegranate kernels, grapes, chopped coriander leaves, chopped onion, shredded carrot, and sometimes shredded beetroot. (Atleast that’s what I have seen in Bombay, I am not sure if just like everything else this is a Bambaiya version of the traditional Dabeli).

Dabeli is also called double roti in Bombay. I think Dabeli might be the second popular fast food sold after vada pav in Bombay. If you get a chance to go to Bombay, you should definitely try Dabeli there.

Usually at home Dabeli is made by using a special masala called Dabeli masala, which is available in grocery stores in India. I haven't had any luck finding any Dabeli masala at any desi stores here in the U.S.

This weekend I decided to make Dabeli, but wasn’t sure if the masala I had at home would be enough, so I made my own Dabeli masala. I won’t lie, the home made Dabeli masala doesn’t taste exactly like the store bought ones, but still gets pretty close.

Dabeli and Vada pav remind me of my college days, when I used to eat street food quiet often. I haven’t been to India for past 3-1/2 years, which makes me think more and more of all the wonderful street food you get there:). I can’t wait to go to India this December and eat as much street food as I can:). But till then, all I can do is think of all the bambaiya food and enjoy it by making it at home:)

Here is the recipe for making Dabeli Masala at home
3 Teaspoon Fennel seeds
4 Teaspoon Cumin (Jeera)
1-1/2 Teaspoon Coriander Seeds (dry Dhaniya)
4 Bay Leaves
1 Clove
3 Pepper Corns
7-8 Dried Red Chilis
A 2” long Cinnamon Stick
1/8th Teaspoon Ginger Powder
½ Teaspoon Turmeric
½ Teaspoon Amchur Powder
4 Teaspoon Sugar
2 Star Anise
Seeds from one Black Cardamom (kali Elaichi)

Note: I didn’t have black cardamom and star anise at home, so I skipped these two ingredients.

Method:: Dry Roast all the above ingredients at low flame except the ginger powder, amchur powder, turmeric powder, and sugar. Let it cool for a few minutes. Then combine the remaining ingredients and grind to a fine powder. Add more sugar/salt if needed.

For making the Potato Mixer you will need:
4 medium Sized Potatoes
Salt to Taste
Kernels Separated from a Pomegranate
1/8th Cup Shredded Carrots
1/8th Cup Shredded
1/4th Cup Grapes (Halved)
1/8th Cup Finley Chopped Coriander Leaves

Now For the Spicy Peanuts:
1 Cup Peanuts
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Powder (or more per your taste preference)
Salt to Taste
1/4th Teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4th Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Oil

Method for Making Spicy Peanuts:

Dry roast the peanuts on slow flame until it turns crunchy. (I heat the oven to 175 degrees F and roast them for 15-20 minutes). Let it cool. Then rub them between your hands to remove as much peanut skin as you can. Add all the ingredients required to make spicy peanuts. Mix and keep aside.

Garlic Chutney and Khajur Imli Ki Chutney:

Click here for the Garlic and Khajur Imli ki Chutney (sweet and sour chutney) recipe.

To assemble a Dabeli, you will also need “laadi pav” or dinner rolls/French rolls/burger bun. I use French rolls and cut in half to make two Dabelis out of bread.

Method for making Potato Mixture

Pressure cook the potatoes until done (5-6 whistles). Cool, then peel and mesh. Add salt to taste and blend well. Heat 2 Teaspoon oil in a kadai, when hot; add 2-1/2 teaspoons of Dabeli Masala. Cook for a minute, and then add the mashed potatoes. Stir and cook for2-3 minutes. Add some more masala if needed. Take off of the heat. Add half of the pomegranate kernels, spicy peanuts, and chopped onion and mix well. Spread the mixture on a wide but deep plate. Now spread the shredded carrots, shredded beets, coriander leaves, halved grapes, some pomegranate kernels, and some peanuts over the mixture.

Method for Making Dabeli:

If you are using French rolls, cut them in half (lengthwise) such that you can make two Dabelis out of one roll. Make a slit in the middle of the bread keeping the bottom 1/4th part intact. Now apply the garlic chutney and khajur imli ki chutney per taste. (I don’t apply khajur imli ki chutney on mine, because my Dabeli wala [in Kandivali:)] never applied mithi [sweet] chutney on Dabeli). Then place a big spoonful of potato mixture in the center of the bread. Now add some pomegranate kernels, some spicy peanut and some onion. Make 4-5 Dabelis at a time, so that they can all be cooked together. Heat a griddle, and melt some butter on it. Now place the stuffed breads on the griddle and cook at low-medium flame. Apply some more butter on the upper surface of the breads and carefully flip to cook both sides evenly. Cook until both sides are crunchy and golden brown in color. Serve Hot.!!!

Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mysore Masala Dosa

I have been looking for a recipe for Mysore masala dosa (Bombay Style), which is very different than the original mysore masala dosa. It is spicy and the stuffing (potato curry) is almost beet red in color. I still haven't found a recipe for that, so I just decided to make the regular Mysore masala dosa that you get here in restaurants.

Here are the ingredients for crispy dosa.

Dosa Batter
3 Cups long grain rice (basmati rice should not be used for making dosas)
1 Cup Urad Dal
2 Tablespoon Chana Daal (Optional, this makes dosa light golden, just like the ones in restaurants)
1/2 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
Salt to taste

Potato Curry
3 Medium Potatoes
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
Salt to taste
3 Green Chilies, Slit
1/4 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
2 Teaspoon Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds

Red Chutney:
1/2 Teaspoon Chana Dal
1/2 Teaspoon Urad Dal
6-7 Dried Red Chilies
Salt to taste
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder

Method for Dosa Batter
Clean and wash the rice and daal seperately. Add fenugreek seeds to the urad daal. Add chana daal to the rice. Soak in enough water for atleast for 6-7 hours. The water level should be at least 2-3 inches above the rice and dal level. After soaking, drain and keep the water aside. Transfer the daal to a mixer grinder jar. Grind into a smooth paste on slow speed. You can add the soaked water while grinding if needed, but make sure to use as little as you can. Transfer the ground daal to a container. Now grind the rice to a smooth paste at slow speed. Make sure to maintain slow speed. I grind for 20-30 seconds max each time and then scrape the batter off the jar wall and grind again for 20-30 seconds I follow these steps so that my batter never heats up. The consistency of the batter should be such that a spoon dipped in the batter comes out thickly coated.

Let the batter ferment for 10-12 hours. For cold climates, you can turn on the oven to 170 degrees F for five minutes. Switch off the oven and put the batter covered with a lid in the oven overnight.


If you don't want to turn on the oven for just 5 minutes, then just keep the batter in the oven and turn on the light. Keep the light on all night.
Batter After Fermantation

Method for Potato Curry
Pressure cook the potatoes, cool and cut into very small pieces. Heat some oil in a kadai. Add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the slit green chilies and finley chopped onion, turmeric powder and some salt. Cook until the onion starts turning transparent.  Then add the potatoes. Mix and stir well. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then take off the heat. The potato curry is ready.

Method for Red Chutney:
Dry roast the daals on low flame for about 7 to 10 minutes. Let it cool aside. Peel the garlic and cut into big pieces. Now combine the daals, garlic, red chilies, salt and cumin powder together and grind into a fine paste using very little water.

Method for making dosas:
Add salt to the batter and mix well. Also, add a little water to the batter if the batter has thickened is no longer of pouring consistency.
Heat a griddle/non stick pan. Pour a teaspoon oil in the center of the pan. Then pour a ladle-full of the batter and spread it around in circular motion with the help of the ladle.

Cook for a minute, or until the top surface of the batter starts drying out. Carefully spread the red chutney on the dosa.

Now spread the potato in the center portion of the dosa.

Cook for another minute or until the sides of the dosa start peeling away from the griddle. Fold the sides over the potato curry and take off of the griddle.

The griddle's temperature needs to be brought down to make and spread another dosa. To do this, sprinkle some cold water over the griddle, and immediate wipe it off with a clean paper towel. Then spread a teaspoon of oil on the griddle and repeat the procedure for making dosas. Spreading some oil on the griddle before pouring the batter makes dosas more crispier. Serve the hot and crispy dosas immediately after taking off of the heat. Serve with coconut chutney and/or Sambhar.

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