Semolina Halwa

In its simplest form halwas (puddings or sweetmeats) are made with fine-grained semolina, clarified butter (ghee), sugar, saffron, raisins, slivered almonds, and ground cardamom.

Indian Sweetmeats

Semolina Halwa (sooji ka halwa)

Serves 6

1 pound fine semolina
¼ cup hot milk
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
½ cup clarified butter (ghee)
½ cup unsalted blanched slivered almonds
¼ cup raisins
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
5 cups boiling water

Heat the wok over medium heat.  Add the semolina and stir constantly until slightly roasted.  Remove and set aside.

Soak the saffron threads in ¼ cup hot milk for 20 minutes.

Heat the ghee in a wok over medium heat.  Add the almonds and raisins and roast, stirring for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown and the raisins swell.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Add the semolina and ground cardamom, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Add the boiling water and sugar, and stir thoroughly until the halwa thickens.  Add the saffron milk, almonds and raisins, and mix thoroughly for 1-2 minutes until moist.  Transfer to a dessert bowl and serve hot.

Or, grease a medium baking pan with a little clarified butter.  Spread the halwa evenly on the pan.  Cool for an hour and cut into 1-inch squares before serving.

 

Being on friendlier terms with your stomach serves you well!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

Advertisements

India’s Fragrant Basmati Rice

Uncooked Basmati Rice

Famous around the world today, India’s long-grained Basmati rice, also referred to as the Patna or Dehradun variety is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas (abode of snow).

About fifteen hundred years ago an Indian story recorded that rice was dressed in ghee with its full accompaniment of curries.  Little has changed since then, for an Indian meal is incomplete without rice.  The Muslims introduced the traditional pilao and biryani festival dishes to India in the eighth century.

The rulers (nawabs) of Awadh (Oudh) and Hyderabad dazzled the world with their culinary delights.  Their unforgettable and incomparable pilaos resembling plates of rubies and emeralds were conversation pieces.  The chefs used techniques that were developed in the kitchens of the caliphs of Baghdad where rice was soaked in saltwater before cooking to give it the luster and sparkle of crystals.

Here is a simple way to prepare Basmati rice.

 

Basmati Rice (Chawal)

Serves 6

2 cups long-grained Basmati rice
10 cups water
1 tablespoon corn oil

Wash and thoroughly rinse the rice three times in cold water until the water is clear.  In a large pot add the rice, 10 cups water, and 1 tablespoon oil.  Cover and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until rice is almost cooked.  Remove, rinse in cold water, and drain thoroughly in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Transfer the rice to a baking dish.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes until rice is steaming.

Remove and serve hot with chicken curry, vegetables, plain yogurt, and salad.

 

Being on friendlier terms with your stomach serves you well!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grated Carrots Sautéed with Flavor-enhancing Spices

The fourteenth-century Moroccan traveler and diplomat Ibn Baṭūṭah (1304-1377), in his history Travels (Rehla), described the diet of the people of India as being very dainty with a hundred different ways of cooking their food, which they varied every day.

A vegetarian meal generally consists of rice or roti, vegetables, legumes, chutney or relish, pickle, salad, and plain yogurt, followed perhaps with a sweet dessert or seasonal fruits.   A dry vegetable dish is usually served with a liquid legume accompaniment, such as a dal.

This delicious recipe is from my grandmother’s kitchen and is prepared with marvelous flavor enhancers, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and asafoetida and served with the main course.

Grated Carrots Sautéed with Flavor-enhancing Spices (Gajar ka Sabzi)

Serves 6

2 pounds fresh carrots, grated
¼  cup corn oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon split black beans (urid dal)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
½-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 green chili, chopped fine
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
¼ teaspoon asafoetida
¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and split black beans and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until they change color and the mustard seeds start popping.

Add the onions, garlic, ginger, chili, and curry leaves and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions turn soft and golden brown.

Add the asafoetida, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala and mix thoroughly for 3-4 minutes.

Add the grated carrots and salt and mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the wok.

Serve hot with basmati rice, roti, legumes, raita and cilantro chutney.

 

Being on friendlier terms with your stomach serves you well!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.

Spicy Lentils with Yellow Squash

Considered highly nutritious and rich in protein, dal is the generic name for all legumes, lentils, dried beans, and peas.  Available at your local supermarkets and Indian grocery stores, dal is always prepared in combination with pungent herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, chilies, mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, salt, and oil or clarified butter.  Buy legumes and beans in small quantities and store them in a dry place.

Spicy Lentils with Yellow Squash (Dal)

Serves 6

This healthy recipe is prepared with yellow or pink salmon-colored lentils (masoor dal) and is the perfect accompaniment with rice or roti.  You can use carrots, bell pepper, pumpkin, gourd, spinach, daikon or zucchini.

1 pound pink or yellow lentils
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 quarts water
Salt to taste
¼  cup corn oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced fine
7 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½-inch fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 small dried red chili
¼ teaspoon asafoetida
1 pound small yellow squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large tomato, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Soak the lentils in a pot of cold water for 15 minutes.  Rinse and drain the lentils three times.

In a large pot, add the water, lentils, turmeric powder, and salt.  Cover and boil over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.  Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and sauté for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cumin and fenugreek seeds change color and mustard seeds start popping.  Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and red chili and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Add the asafoetida and stir thoroughly for 1 minute.

Add the cooked lentils, yellow squash, and tomato and stir thoroughly for 1-2 minutes.  Cover and cook for 6-7 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with basmati rice or roti, chicken kebab, vegetables, and yogurt salad.

 

Being on friendlier terms with your stomach serves you well!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.