Two magical words. Buttery. Curry. Mmmmm…that’s right, beautiful combination of vegetables are married together with a buttery sauce to make an absolutely delicious dish. Spoon it with hot rice or mop it up with naan, you’ll be hit with the buttery deliciousness of the curry.
There is very minimal use of spice powders in the recipe as I have left the flavour heavy lifting with the Makhani Sauce, The sauce makes the base of the curry and bring together the vegetables and the spices.
What’s a good curry without a good base to give it that depth and intense flavour? There are so many different bases or sauces to make a killer curry! You will find that in most curries tomatoes, spices and chilli are regular additions.
Tomatoes when cooked with the right spices can give you the most delicious-tasting basis for the much-loved curries. There are numerous combinations of spices you could bring together to create a sensational base sauce for a curry.
Here is my humble offering of a delectable curry sauce that will make your dishes taste heaps better. Makhani simply means buttery (of butter too). It’s hard not to drool as I am typing this. As the name suggests, it’s all the good stuff – creamy, buttery, and bloody yummy! If you have been making curries out of the readymade sauces, try this and you will never go back those artificial-tasting stuff!
I use this sauce to make paneer, mixed vegetables, chickpea curries and have even made an Indianised take on a pasta bake! The creamy, buttery sauce renders the dishes a whole new dimension.
Cauliflower is one of the most preferred vegetable sources for the ketogenic and low carb lifestyles. The cruciferous vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrition, loaded with the vitamin and mineral goodness. A bit of Google research also tells me that it has a host of other things that make it one of the most nutritious vegetables whether you follow a ketogenic lifestyle or not.
Aside from being a hero vegetable, I find cauliflower versatile for so many dishes – pizza base, cauliflower fried ‘rice’, curry, Cauli ‘mac’ n cheese, roasted, in a soup…I can do this all day! Is there anything that cauliflower can’t do? Lol.
While the thought of cauliflower rice and pizza sounds incredible, all that I crave for sometimes is a simple dish made with the vegetable.
Here is the second instalment of the sweet dish I promised this week. ☺
Kheer is a much-loved dessert in my home. It gets made often and in different flavours. This time I wanted to try my hand at something new and was lost for ideas.
I quickly raided the fridge, and I found my summer stock of frozen berries that I normally use for smoothies and oatmeal. Then the little bulb above my head lit up and I came up with this.
It tastes so much like smoothie but with the touch of saffron in the kheer and the added sweetness from the condensed milk, I can safely say I went to smoothie heaven and came back. A very berry kheer indeed. (Cliché I know. But I had to say it: ☺
Tava Idlies (Pav bhaji flavoured idlies)
When the South Indian favourite Idlies and Mumbai’s famous pav bhaji meet, you get tava idlies.
The star of the dish - the humble idlies are quite the powerhouse hiding inside a very soft and spongy exterior.
It is low in fat, easy to digest and comes loaded with iron B vitamins and other micronutrients, thanks to the lentils that go into preparing it.
Since these spongy delights are steamed, makes it that much more healthy to consume.
Besides being nutritious, it renders a bland taste, which makes it perfect to pair with a lot of curries, chutneys, sambhars and so. It is the versatility of the idlies that make it a perfect for this dish.
Now coming to pav bhaaji…where do I begin?
Rice is a regular feature in my family meals. It is typically savoured with sambhar, rasam and yoghurt. While that is a regular fare we mix things up a bit with leftover rice or freshly cooked rice that goes into making many different ‘variety rice’ as we call it.
There is lemon rice, coconut rice, tamarind rice, carrot rice…the options are endless. I usually make jeera rice and make it interesting with the addition of aromatics and vegetables. My absolute favourite variant is the methi jeera rice.
I love that it is wholesome, healthy and tasty. This is a whole medley of flavours; the slightly bitter fenugreek leaves combined with sweet & sharp onions and garlic and the earthy taste of cumin seeds makes this combination a delight for those savouring it.
It tastes great on its own or with curries, dal and pappadam. It also helps that it easy to prepare, making it a very convenient weeknight dinner.
In the past year, I noticed a lot of people were making a switch to millets in place of rice. Hard-core rice eaters like my father alternated his rice consumption with millets.
I saw millets in mixed rice, porridge, dessert and even steamed cake versions. It was a force to be reckoned with. I did a bit of reading to find out what the fuss was all about. I was stumped! Millets besides being one of the oldest and inexpensive cereals available, comes with a host of health benefits.
To list a few, it is high in fibre, iron, calcium and B vitamins and protein. It is also favoured by many for its slow release of sugar making it perfect for those watching their sugar intake and on a low GI diet. As a huge plus, this is gluten free and easy on the tummy.
A lot of my cooking inspiration comes from the fresh food aisle in the local supermarket. There is never dearth of ideas there. Recently, neatly packed boxes of Jamie Oliver’s products caught my attention; it had raw cauliflower florets, a pack of ready-to-use-spice and mint yoghurt dip. All you have to do is take it home and cook it according to the packet instructions.
Although the idea was cool and convenient, I thought how difficult could it be to actually prep it from the scratch? Well, that was where the idea for this dish came from.
This light, quick, fresh and nutritious appetiser is a burst of flavours. It has interesting flavours that complement cauliflower’s rather unique taste.
While devouring this, I figured that it was a great way to consume this vegetable; it is a great low-carb option for those craving something salty and tasty. What’s more? It is low in fat, high in nutrition and gluten-free (for those of you maintaining a gluten-free) diet.
Growing up in a home where people loved a spicy hit in their food, it was not very hard to train my tastebuds to like milagai podi. This lentil and spice blend was a common feature in my home. It was so loved that the podi was preferred over chutneys and sambhar for idly/dosai.
My mum used to dedicate a Saturday to prep and make variety of podis to keep us going for a whole month or a little longer. The aroma of the roasting spices was delight and I can still smell it as I write it!
Bhel puri holds a prized spot in the Indian street food list. This savoury snack is a combination of puffed rice tossed with vegetables, an assortment of spice powders and condiments.
To me though, bhel puri is a salad of sorts with the veggies, carbs, dressing and interesting elements. This can be made as indulgent or healthy, depending on your preference. With bhel, I tend to get naughty and add all the indulgent and deep-fried stuff. That is the best way to have bhel, no? ☺
This chaat or snack is made in many parts of India. My first taste of this chaat was when I was a little girl; my mum would make it on weekends for my sister and me. It was extra special to see her make some of the ingredients like the chutneys and sev from the scratch.
Bhel puri is famous in many parts of India, and is called different names in various regions. Some of the other names it goes by are jhal muri and churmuri. I have the variants in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. I can’t really pick a favourite because each one has its own special touch, which makes bhel unique to that region.
So, I present to you my bhel puri. I unfortunately did not manage to get my mum to pass on her sev and papdi recipe while she was alive; however, on the bright side, the tamarind-date chutney in this recipe is almost similar to hers. ☺