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Top 5 Delicious Dishes from India

Updated on November 4, 2011
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Kavitha Rajeevkumar was a lecturer of Management. She is a chocolatier and Home baker now. Also takes cookery classes.

Palak Paneer (spinach and cottage cheese)

Hot favorite North Indian dish. This mildly flavored dish is super healthy too. If Paneer is not on hand or you want a dairy-free option you can also use tofu or veggies like cauliflower or potato.

Ingredients:

500 gms Paneer

2 medium-sized bunches of fresh spinach

1/2 bunch fresh fenugreek leaves

4 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil

1 large onion chopped fine

1 large tomato diced

2 tsps garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste

2 tsps coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

Salt to taste

1 tbsp of butter to garnish

Preparation:

Cut the paneer into 1" cubes. Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and stir-fry the paneer till golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep aside. Add 2 tbsps of oil to the same pan and fry the onions in it till soft. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for a minute. Add the spinach, fenugreek leaves, tomato, coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powders and mix well. Add salt to taste and mix well. Cook till the spinach and fenugreek leaves are soft and like pulp. Mash well into a rough paste. If you prefer, you can also blend this paste in the food processor to get a smoother consistency. Add the previously fried paneer cubes to this gravy and mix to coat the pieces. Garnish with butter and serve hot with Chapatis (Indian flatbread), parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) or Makki Ki Roti (pan-fried maize bread).

Malai Kofta (vege-balls in a thick sauce)

A dish for special occassions, Malai Kofta is the vegetarian alternative to meatballs. It goes very well with naans (tandoor-baked flatbread) or Rice.

Ingredients:

For the koftas:

2 cups peeled and diced boiled potatoes

1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, sweet corn) boiled

1 cup paneer cubes

2 tbsps of thickened/ heavy/ double cream

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts and cashewnuts)

1/4 raisins chopped fine

Salt to taste

Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil to fry the koftas

For the sauce:

3 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil

2 large onions quartered

2 tomatoes quartered

2 tbsps garlic paste

1 tbsp ginger paste

2 tsps coriander powder

1 tsp poppy seeds lightly roasted and ground into a powder

3 tbsps nuts (cashews and almonds) ground into a thick paste

Salt to taste

2 tsps garam masala

½ tsp red chilli powder

Preparation:

Mash the potatoes, mixed vegetables, paneer and cream together. Add the kofta spices to this mash and mix well. The resulting dough should be firm. If not add some more boiled potato. Season with salt. Make this dough into balls and put 1/2 a tsp of the nut and raisin mix in the center of each ball. Roll into perfect rounds. Heat the oil kept aside to fry the koftas, on a medium flame. Deep fry these rounds till pale golden in colour. Drain on paper towels and keep aside. For the gravy, first heat the 3 tbsps of oil in a deep pan and fry the onions till light brown. Grind into a paste along with the tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin and red chilli powders. Put this paste back into the pan and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala. Add the poppy seeds powder and nut paste and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of warm water (the sauce for this dish is meant to be thick so do not add too much water) to this masala to form a sauce/gravy. Mix well. Season with salt. Bring the sauce/gravy to a boil and then reduce the fire to a simmer. Gently add the kofas to this sauce/gravy and cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the fire and sprinkle the garam masala all over the top of the dish. Cover immediately and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with hot Naans (tandoor-baked leavened Indian flatbread) or Jeera Rice or plain rice.

South Indian Fish Curry

The tamarind in this gravy-based dish gives it a lovely tangy flavor that goes really well with plain boiled rice. In fact, that is how it is traditionally eaten.

Ingredients:

1 dozen, 1" thick pieces of fish (any fish with firm white flesh)

7-8 dry red chillies

Golf-ball sized lump of tamarind (soak in 2 cups hot water)

2 tbsps coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 small coconut grated

2 cups coconut milk

Salt to taste

3 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

8-10 curry leaves

2 green chillies

2 medium-sized onions ground to a paste

1 large tomato chopped fine

1 tbsp garlic paste

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp cumin powder

Preparation:

Use a mortar and pestle to pound the dry red chillies into a coarse paste with a teaspoon of water. Squeeze the soaked tamarind well to release all the pulp from it. Strain to get thick tamarind juice and discard the pith and seeds. Mix the red chilli paste and tamarind juice with the coriander and turmeric powders and salt to taste. Also add the grated coconut and half the coconut milk. Mix well. Put the pieces of fish in a large, flat dish and pour the above mixture over it to cover. Make sure all the pieces are coated. Marinate for 3 hours. Heat the cooking oil in a deep pan, on a medium flame till hot. Add the curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, green chillies. Fry till spluttering stops. Now add half the onion paste. Fry till the onion begins to brown very slightly. Add the chopped tomato. Fry till the masala starts to release its oil and turn darker. Stir frequently while frying. Now add the fish marinade and stir. Bring to a boil (on medium heat). Add the remaining onion paste, the garlic paste, pepper, cumin and remaining coconut milk. Simmer and cook till oil begins to appear on top of the gravy. Add the pieces of fish now and cook till done. If stirring, do so very gently to avoid breaking the pieces of fish. Turn off heat and serve South Indian Fish Curry with plain boiled rice.

HYDERABADI BIRYANI

Ingredients:

350 gms Basmati Rice

200 gms Potatoes

200 gms Carrots

100 gms Onions

4 Green Chilies

30 gms Ginger

20 gms Garlic

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Red Chili Powder

1 cup Curd

1 tsp Saffron

2 tbsp Milk

1/3 cup Mint ( Pudina leaves )

1/3 cup Coriander Leaves

4 tsp Rose Water

50 gms Cashewnuts

50 gms Almonds

25 gms Raisins

120 gms Ghee

Salt To taste

Preparation:

Wash and soak the basmati rice for half an hour. Drain the water. Put the rice, some more water and add half the whole garam masala and salt in a pan. Bring the rice to a boil and cook until the rice is done. Drain and keep aside. Dice the peeled potatoes and carrots and wash them. Slice the onions and green chilies. Peel ginger and garlic and chop finely. Chop the coriander and mint leaves. Soak the almonds in water for half an hour and keep aside. Beat the curd in a bowl and divide into two equal portions. Dissolve saffron in warm milk and add it to one portion of the curd mixture. Heat ghee, add the remaining garam masala and sauté over medium heat until it begins to crackle. Add onions until golden brown. Then add green chilies, ginger, garlic and stir for a minute. Add turmeric and chili powder, saute for half a minute add the chopped vegetables and stir for a minute. Add the portion of plain curd, stir, add 2/3 cup water, and bring to a boil, then simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Add the dry fruits and nuts when the vegetables are done. In the handi/pan with the cooked vegetables, sprinkle little saffron curd, mint and coriander. Then spread half the rice and again sprinkle the remaining saffron-curd, mint and coriander and top it with the remaining rice. Place a moist cloth on top, cover the lid tightly so that it gets sealed. Put the handi on dum in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve the hyderabadi biryani hot with mint chutney and other vegetables.

Gaajar Ka Halwa (carrot pudding)

This delicious, rich pudding loaded with nuts and dried fruits is well-known all over the world. Normally eaten warm.

Ingredients:

1 kg (just over 2 pounds) of fresh grated carrots

2 tins (400 gms each) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup full-cream milk

1 cup sugar

1 cup ghee

200 gms khoya (thickened milk)

75 gms raisins/sultanas

75 gms almonds blanched and slivered

75 gms pistachios slivered

Preparation:

Mix the carrots, condensed milk, milk and sugar in a large pan and cook on a medium flame till all the milk thickens and reduces. Add the khoya and ghee to the carrot-milk mix and fry till the carrots turn to dark orange color. Add the dried raisins, almonds and pistachios, mix well and turn off fire. Allow the halwa to cool slightly and serve.

Comments

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    • Vacation Trip profile image

      Susan 

      5 years ago from India

      Good recipe hub. Well written.

    • GoogleCashMoney profile image

      GoogleCashMoney 

      10 years ago from Mumbai, India

      Wow. Yummy...

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