Last Sunday, we had sweets throughout the day (Ksheerannam from the temple, Moong Dal Halwa that I made, and Jalebis that Daddy bought). By evening, we were craving something spicy and so I thought of Hirvi Mirchi Cha Thecha. This spicy green chilly chutney is a great favourite in Maharashtra is typically eaten with Bhakri (a type of unleavened bread).
Beware that this is super spicy!
Time: 10 Minutes
Spicy Dark Green Chillies – 12
Roasted Peanuts – 2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Garlic Cloves – 4
Fresh Coriander – A Handful
Grated Coconut – 2 tbsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
In a shallow pan, heat the oil.
Turn the heat to medium.
Add the garlic cloves and cumin.
Stir-fry till the garlic just starts to turn light brown.
Add the green chillies.
Stir-fry till the chillies start to change colour.
Methi Matar Malai is one those dishes that you will find on the menu of every “Mughlai” or “Punjabi” restaurant. In days of yore, there were two restaurants famous for Punjabi food in South-Central Mumbai; Pritam Da Dhaba in Dadar and Yogi in Chembur. My first memory of eating Methi Matar Malai was at Yogi.
I was fascinated by the rich creamy sweet ‘n’ spicy gravy that was served. I have tried in many places ever since and I have found that the taste varies from sweet to spicy. This is the spicy version simple because my family is not too fond of sweet gravies.
What I like about this dish is that it combines two ingredients that I would not normally consider putting together; bitter fenugreek and peas. Then there is the creamy gravy.
Traditional, Methi Matar Malai uses fresh cream in the gravy. I made the low calorie version that uses no cream and only milk to get the rich creamy taste.
Time: 45 Mins
Fresh Fenugreek Leaves – 2 Packed Cups
Peas – 1 Cup
Milk – 1.5 Cups
Cashews – 10-12
Ginger – 1/2″ piece
Garlic Cloves – 3
Green Chillies – 3
Cinnamon – 1/2″ piece
Cloves – 2
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Pepper Corns – 4
Green Cardamom – 1
Oil – 1 tbsp
Fresh Cream – 2 tbsp (optional)
Salt to Taste
Over medium heat, in a kadhai or wok, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cumin, and cardamom seeds for a couple of minutes.
Let the spices cool and grind to a fine powder.
In the same grinder (if possible), grind the cashews, ginger, garlic, and green chillies to a smooth, thick paste using about 2 tbsp of water.
In the work used for roasting the spices, heat the oil.
Add the fenugreek leaves and stir-fry till the leaves wilt.
Add the green peas and about 1/4 cup of water.
Cook covered till the peas soften.
Now add the cashew paste and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the dry roasted spice powder and salt.
Stir-fry for a minute.
Add the milk and mix well.
Bring to a gentle simmer and turn off the heat.
Add the fresh cream (if you are using it) and mix well.
Serve warm with rotis or pulkas.
Add about 1/2 tsp of sugar if you like a touch of sweetness.
I have found that you do not need any cream because the cashew paste and milk give it the required richness.
If you don’t like to use too much cashew, substitute with 1/2 a sweet onion. Be sure to roast the sweet onion in a little oil before grinding.
I don’t boil the peas because they become mushy.
If you don’t mind a hint of bitterness, chop the fenugreek roughly (but not too fine) to release the bitterness.
Mirchi Ka Salan is one of those iconic dishes that, along with the Hyderabadi Biryani, define the beautiful city of Hyderabad. The first I had this dish was at Paradise, the iconic Hyderabadi eatery that is now almost synonymous with Hyderabadi cuisine, especially biryani.
I was so fascinated by its eclectic mix of nutty, spicy, sour tastes that it became a staple “dish to eat” each time I was in Hyderabad.
I tried it last week after much research on the net, but with mixed results. While the result was good, I could not capture the taste of the Mirchi Ka Salan that I had in Hyderabad. Nevertheless, the recipe is worth blogging while my search for a better Salan continues.
Time: 45 Minutes
Large, Fleshy Green Chillies – 8
Onions – 4 Large
Cloves – 2
Grated Fresh Coconut – 2 tbsp
Peanuts – 2 tbsp
Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds – 1 tbsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
Tamarind Paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 4 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Slit the green chillies and use a knife to scrap off the seeds. Set aside.
Over medium heat, in a heavy-bottomed wok, dry roast the peanuts till they start to pop.
Set aside to cool.
Over medium heat, in a heavy-bottomed wok, dry roast the sesame seeds till they start to change colour.
Set aside the cool.
Over medium heat, in a heavy-bottomed wok, dry roast the coriander seeds till they start to change colour.
Rub the roasted peanuts between your palms to remove the skin.
Grind the roasted peanuts, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, and coconut together without any water to a smooth paste.
Peel and chop the onion.
In a wok, heat 3 tbsp oil.
Add the slit green chillies one at a time and fry till it starts to blister.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the chillies from the oil and set aside on a kitchen napkin for the oil to be absorbed.
In the same oil, fry the onion pieces till they are brown.
Remove the onion pieces and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Grind the onion to a smooth paste.
In a wok, heat the remaining oil.
Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
Add the cloves and stir-fry for a minute.
Add the ground onion paste and stir-fry till the paste starts to change colour.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
Add the tamarind pulp and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
Add the ground peanut-sesame-coconut paste.
Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or till the raw smell disappears.
Add about 1/3 cup of water and salt.
Add the fried chillies to the paste.
Over medium heat, cook till the paste gently simmers.
Andhras love Gongura or Ambadi. We go into raptures when we spot good Gongura and find innovative ways to make it a part of our meals. We make Gongura Pappu and Gongura Pulihora. People who eat non-vegetarian food swear by Gongura Mutton.
However, nothing defines Andhra food the way Gongura Pachadi does. This tangy, spicy chutney is the beloved of all Andhras.
In the famous Telugu movie, Mayabazar, there is a scene in which the groom’s party creates a ruckus saying that the impending meal lacks Shakhambari Devi Prasadam (aka Gongura).
In fact, Gongura Pachadi is the first thing that comes to mind when you say Andhra food. I made a fresh batch yesterday and here is the recipe!
Gongura or Ambadi – 3 large bunches (~8 packed cups)
Red Chillies – 15 to 20
Oil – 2/3 cup
Garlic flakes (optional) – 10 to 12
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Pick the leaves off the stalk and wash them. Do not use the stalks.
Spread the leaves over a thin cotton cloth or newspaper.
Let the leaves to dry overnight ( at least 8 hours).
In a heavy bottomed kadai, heat about 1/3 cup of oil over medium heat.
Add the red chillies and fry for a minute.
Take out the red chillies and set aside.
If you are using garlic, then, in the same oil, fry the garlic flakes till they are brown.
Take out the garlic flakes and set aside.
To the oil, add the leaves and fry till the leaves are soft and reduce to 1/2 of the original volume.
Set the fried gongura aside to cool completely.
Grind the fried leaves, chillies, salt, and garlic along with enough salt to a smooth paste.
Remove the ground gongura pachadi into a bowl.
In a ladle or small kadai, heat the remaining oil.
Add mustard seeds.
When the seeds splutter, turn off the heat.
Let the oil and seeds cool to room temperature.
Add the oil and mustard seeds to the gongura pachadi.
Store in a dry, air-tight bottle.
Serve with hot rice and gingelly/sesame oil.
Do use the amount of oil specified otherwise the chutney will be dry. This is actually more of a pickle than chutney so it needs more oil.
When you fry the leaves, ensure that you do so only till the leaves soften and that the leaves do not dry out.
The pickle may taste very spicy just after you have made it, but give a day or two and the spiciness will reduce.
There are two varieties of Gongura; one with red stalk and one with white stalk. Use the one with red stalk, if possible.
I was reviewing the recipes I posted in the year gone by. I was so amused to see my Andhra origins coming through loud and clear with the number of pachadi and uragaya recipes I have posted. So I thought why break the tradition and am continuing this year with the same theme.
Nimmakaya Khaaram is a simple but HOT side dish that goes fantastically well with hot rice and ghee or mudda-pappu Annam, or then with idli or garelu (medu vada or ulundu vada). I had quite forgotten about it till I had it at my nephew’s place in Chennai, when I visited him in December. Thank you, Jyoti and Rani, for this marvellous heirloom recipe.
Minapa Pappu/Udad Dal/Black Gram – 1 tsp
Avalu/Rai/Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Menthulu/Methi Dana/Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 tsp
Red Chillies – 10 to 12
Oil – 1 tsp
Lemon Juice – 3-4 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Heat the oil in a ladle.
Add the mustard seeds, udad dal, and methi seeds.
Over medium heat, fry till the udad dal starts to turn golden brown brown.
Add the split red chillies and fry for about 1 minute.
Let the mix cool.
Grind to fine powder.
Remove the powder into a bowl.
Add the lemon juice and salt.
Serve with hot rice and ghee, idlis, or medu vada.
You can store the powder in an air-tight jar and use as much as needed with the appropriate amount of lemon juice.
The red chillies should be really spicy for you to appreciate this dish. 🙂