23 September 2009

Reasons to celebrate!

A beautiful angel has come our way
With a sweet smile to brighten our day
A gift so precious, she's a treasure
Filling our hearts with joy and pleasure!

As you see, I turned mum sometime ago and that explains why I have been missing from this space. Thankyou to those who asked after me, left me birthday wishes, onam greetings and for the baby. :) Life has been hectic with the baby and a relocation to new shores, and the blog took a backseat. But today is special, Currybazaar turns three! It has been a wonderful journey meeting fellow foodies, knowing about cuisines from around the world and learning new recipes, presentation techniques, tips and tricks. I will post as and when time permits, meanwhile enjoy some treats from Currybazaar!

14 April 2009

Happy Vishu!

May this Vishu bring joy, good health and peace to your home!

18 March 2009

Idli Podi - Kerala Style

Idli podi or gun-powder as it is popularly called is a fiery, dry chutney powder that is served with idlis. The bland taste of idli is fantastically complemented with this hot, spicy chutney which is a blend of dal, rice, red chillies and spices. Idli podi is usually made in large quantities and bottled to retain the flavours. It stores well at room temperature for months, though the fieriness may go down a bit on prolonged storage. This idli podi can be served with idlis, dosas, uttappams etc. The recipe given below is my grandmother's which we quite love and is different from other idli podi recipes where rice and curry leaves are not used. This podi is served by mixing coconut oil into it to highlight the flavours whereas other recipes use sesame/gingelly oil or ghee. This powder will turn brown when roasted while the other podi are usually red in colour.

You need:

1/2 glass rice (both raw rice and boiled rice work well)
1/4 glass urad dal
1/4 glass channa dal
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
a large pinch of hing
6 or more red chillies (the hot variety)
10-12 peppercorns
1 tsp til/sesame seeds
a handful of curry leaves

Roast the peppercorns, red chillies and curry leaves in 2 spoons of oil till they change colour. Add the remaining ingredients and fry till they turn golden brown. Cool thoroughly and powder finely. Store in dry, airtight bottles.

While serving, mix a few spoons of chutney with coconut oil to enjoy the true flavour of Kerala.

11 March 2009

Corn Bhel

With some guests coming over for tea and no mood to fry up some snacks, I remembered reading a corn bhel recipe in one of Tarala Dalal's books. Most of the ingredients were available at hand and very minimal work to do, a nice looking evening snack was ready without much of a fuss and hardwork.
I had store bought sev and puris in my pantry and some frozen corn and date-tamarind chutney in the fridge which saved a lot of effort. Recipe for date-tamarind chutney is here.

You need:
1 cup cooked corn
1 large potato boiled, peeled and cubed
1 large tomato finely chopped
1 smal onion finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
3 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
4-5 tbsp sev (nylon sev used in bhel puris)
date-tamarind chutney
15-20 flat puris (as used for bhel puris)

Heat oil in a pan and sputter the cumin seeds. Add the onion and fry till transluscent. Add the green chillies, potato, tomato, red chilli powder and salt and toss for a minute. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice and mix well. Arrange the puris on a serving plate and add the warm corn mixture on it. Sprinkle the sev and spoon some date-tamarind chutney on top and garnish with coriander leaves.

4 March 2009

Mango Pickle

Summer arrives in India in early March and the first of the raw mangoes appear in the marketplaces. The women in the neighbourhood eagerly await the mango-seller walking through the streets with a huge basketful of baby mangoes on his head. As always they hail him, pick through the best of the raw mangoes, weigh their bulk purchase and haggle over the prices. They then go through the process of wiping the mangoes dry, rubbing in measured portions of salt and leaving the huge bucket of mangoes to bask in the sun for a few days. The mangoes are then brought indoors and spiced with red chilli powder and mustard powder, bottled in sterilised bottles and left outdoors again to cook in the warmth of the sun. Everyday the bottles are shaken to allow the spices and salt to mingle evenly with the mangoes. As the days go by, the mangoes absorb the spices to turn into a lip-smacking 'kanni-manga' pickle, finally distributed among relatives.

While the entire process of pickling is a fantastic journey, the wait till one can actually taste the pickle is killing. And on days when the craving for a pickle is just too much to resist, an easy and quick mango pickle can be made. There are no particular measurements used for this pickle since the pickle does not keep well. It is best consumed within two or three days. To make the pickle, chop a regular raw mango into tiny pieces. Mix salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and mustard(rye) powder and toss well. Store in a dry container or sterilised bottle. The flavours should mingle well in 4-5 hours. Teams well with rice.

25 February 2009

Pumpkin Patties

Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable that can be boiled, steamed, roasted or even baked. Even the flowers, seeds and tender skin of the pumpkin is edible. Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, potassium and other minerals, protein and essential fatty acids. Pumpkin is ideal for those who watch their weight as it is low in calories. Consuming pumpkin is an idea way to keep away worm infections, prevent cataracts and keep kidney and gall bladder problems at bay. The beta-carotene in pumkins are excellent anti-oxidants. Read mre about the benefits here.

How do you feed pumpkin to pumpkin-hating, unsuspecting guinea pigs? Like this. :)

You need:

2 cups pumpkin cubed and cooked
1 large potato boiled and grated
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
salt to taste
3-4 tbsp cornflour or plain flour or a mix of both

Mash the cooked pumpkin and add the remaining ingredients to it. Mix to form a thick dough-like consistency. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry small patties of the pumpkin mixture till done on both sides. Serve hot with sauce or chutney.

For more ideas check out these recipes at Asha's Aroma.

11 February 2009

Revisiting the old: Carrot Halva

Carrots are a goldmine of nutrients. No other vegetable or fruit contains as much carotene as carrots, which the body converts to vitamin A. This is a truly versatile vegetable and an excellent source of vitamins B and C as well as calcium pectate, an extraordinary pectin fibre that has been found to have cholesterol-lowering properties. The carrot is an herbaceous plant containing about 87% water, rich in mineral salts and vitamins (B,C,D,E). Raw carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium; they contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, folic acid, and magnesium. Cooked carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of potassium, and contain vitamin B6, copper, folic acid, and magnesium. The high level of beta-carotene is very important and gives carrots their distinctive orange colour. Carrots also contain, in smaller amounts, essential oils, carbohydrates and nitrogenous composites. They are well-known for their sweetening, antianaemic, healing, diuretic, remineralizing and sedative properties. (More info here.)
Before the last red carrots of the season vanished from the markets, we relished some (more!) carrot halva - probably the last of the year. I make this delicious halva as many times as I can over the few months when I can grab these red, juicy carrots. Check out the recipe here and enjoy the halva!

4 February 2009

Red Bell Pepper Soup

I had my eyes on Sig's Red bell pepper soup and was completely floored when I tried it. Grilling the bell peppers and the touch of curry powder enhances the flavour of the soup incredibly. Try it and enjoy the sweetness of the peppers, sourness of the tomatoes and spices, all in one hot bowl of soup!

You need:

2 large red bell peppers
2 large tomatoes peeled and chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups water or stock
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sliced shallots/onions
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

For the garnish:
Thinly sliced green onions
Garlic croutons

Grill the bell peppers turning them on and off till the skin starts to turn black for about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Peel, remove the seeds and chop. Heat oil in a large enough saucepan and add the shallots/onions and garlic. Cook till the shallots/onions start to soften. Add the chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, red chilli powder, curry powder and cook for about 10 minutes stirring frequently. Add the water/stock and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and into a smooth liquid. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Serve hot in individual bowls and garnish with garlic croutons, sliced green onions and a dollop of cream.

28 January 2009

Fish in Tamarind Sauce

A fish curry that's been tried, tested and polished off our plates quite a number of times is this quick and easy recipe from Sig's Live to Eat. The beauty of this recipe is the unique blend of tamarind and coconut milk that makes this curry very likable for its mild spiciness. While Sig used halibut in this recipe, I've tried it with both king fish and pomfret and both taste great. Frying the fish and then dunking it in the sauce leaves it crunchy and soft at the same time. The curry tastes great with rice and sliced onions rubbed with lime and salt.

You need:

For the Marinade:
4-6 pieces of king fish filets or 2 pomfrets, cleaned
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
salt to taste
1/4 tsp olive oil

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup shallots thinly sliced
1 tbsp diced garlic
1 green chili pepper slit
a few curry leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 cup coconut milk

Wash the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the fish pieces with the olive oil and season with pepper, paprika and salt.

To make the sauce, heat oil in a sauce pan, and saute the shallots, garlic and green chilli till soft. Add the curry leaves and saute for another minute. Reduce the heat and add the spice powders and saute till the spices are cooked well. Add the tamarind paste, salt and coconut milk and bring to a boil on medium heat.

In the mean time, heat some oil in a pan just enough for shallow frying. Fry the fish pieces, skin side down for four minutes on high heat. Turn the pieces and cook the other side on medium heat for four more minutes.

To serve, arrange the fish on the serving plate and top with two table spoons of sauce. Serve with rice or a salad.

21 January 2009


Chhole is white chickpeas cooked in a spiced onion-tomato gravy. It is another classic dish for cold winters and can be served with parathas, puris, tikkis, pattice or chaat .
You need:
250 gms white chickpeas/chhole soaked overnight
2 sticks of cinnamon
4 cloves
4 cardamoms
4 green chillies slit
1 large onion chopped
3 large tomatoes pureed
a few slices of ginger
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder
1/2 tsp anardhana powder
coriander leaves finely chopped
Pressure cook the chickpeas/chhole with plenty of water, salt and ginger slices. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add the onion and fry till it turns golden brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir fry for a minute. Add the whole spices and spice powders and fry for a minute. Add the tomato puree and green chillies and fry till oil leaves the sides. Now add the cooked chhole/chickpeas along with the water and simmer for 15-20 minutes till the right consistency is achieved and the chhole soaks in the spice from the gravy. Alternatively you can pressure cook the gravy for two whistles. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with puris or parathas with sliced onions, tomatoes and pickles on the side.

14 January 2009

Revisiting the old: Pinnies

The winter festival of Lohri is here and it brings memories of Punjabi neighbours who celebrated by lighting up a bonfire in their backyard at night. They circled it singing traditional songs and throwing popcorn and puffed rice into it. We kids called it the popcorn festival. You can read all about Lohri here. And do make these awesome pinnies - they make a great winter snack!

Type rest of the post here

7 January 2009

Mattar Methi Malai

Bring in the New Year with a rich, mildly spiced and creamy gravy with peas and fenugreek leaves. This gravy is simple to make and is a clever way to make kids have methi. Read about the benefits of methi here. Mattar methi malai teams well with naan or kulcha and makes a hearty winter dish.

You need:

1 cup methi leaves finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
3-4 dry red chillies
1/4 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
4 tbsp cashew paste
salt to taste
1 tsp green chilli paste
1 tbsp mava
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
a sliced tomato for garnish

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, red chillies and onion and stir fry till light brown. Add chopped methi leaves, saute for a minute and keep aside. Boil the peas and keep aside. Heat ghee in a pan, add green chilli paste, cashew paste, mava and milk and stir together. Add the sauteed methi, peas, salt and water and let it cook for a few minutes till the gravy assumes the required consistency. Serve hot garnished with tomatoes.

Other methi/fenugreek leaves recipes featured earlier: