Dim Poshto: Eggs in Poppy Seeds Gravy

image1 (6).JPGNavratri is my favourite festival! In Gujarat, the cities takes on a whole new appearance during Navratri.

But for the last couple of years, I have been really excited about attending the Durga Puja in Ahmedabad for the amazing energy around the pandaal and most importantly, the delicious fish delicacies. I have made some wonderful Bengali friends over the last one year and that makes this year’s Durga Puja even more special for me.

As the Ahmedabad skies cleared up this morning, my enthusiasm for attending the puja tonight has doubled and I made Dim Poshto, a delicious combo of eggs in a rich poppy seeds’ gravy to mark the festivities.

My recipe is the same as that of Egg Masala, except with the addition of poppy seeds paste and coconut milk. There are three steps to the recipe:

  1. Soak poppy seeds for an hour and grind them to a paste
  2. Boil eggs and marinate them
  3. Cook a gravy

Dim Poshto

Ingredients:

Poppy seeds (half a cup, soaked for an hour and ground to a paste)
Eggs 4 nos
Onions 2 medium, chopped
Ginger-Garlic paste, 1 tsp
Green chillies 4 nos, chopped
Whole red chillies 2 nos
Turmeric, a pinch
Red chilli powder, 1 tsp
Coriander powder, 1 tsp
Garam masala powder, 1/2 tsp
Clove, 2-4 nos
Bay leaf 1
Mustard oil 4 tbsp, for frying and gravy
Salt to taste
Water

Method:

Boil eggs and cut them in halves. Marinate them in salt, turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder and a little oil and keep aside for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the eggs with the yolk side down. Turn them over carefully and cook till the masala turns brown. Keep aside.

Once the poppy seeds remain soaked for an hour, grind them into a smooth paste with green chillies.

To make the gravy, heat oil, add clove and bay leaf. Add onion and ginger-garlic paste. Stir and cook till the onions turn translucent. Add turmeric, coriander and red chilli powder. Add water to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan. Cover and cook. After a couple of minutes, add the poppy-green chilly paste. Bring it to a boil and cook till you get the desired consistency. Serve with a drizzle of mustard oil on top. Tastes best with hot, steamed rice.

 

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Onam Festival & Avial

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Avial: An inseparable part of Onasadya

Onam, the biggest festival of Malayalis, falls tomorrow. For me, the day is all about food, family, friends and a lot of fun. Onasadhya, the Onam lunch, is the most delicious part about this festival of Kerala. It’s a feast, if enjoyed once, will be relished forever!

Legend goes that Onam is celebrated to invite the spirit of King Mahabali, a former king of Kerala in whose reign there was no unhappy person. Meals are strictly vegetarian on Onam and there are essentially 13 food items served on a banana leaf. There are pickles of various kinds, banana chips for crunch, fruits, chutneys, curries, side-dishes, buttermilk and two or three types of payasam (kheer/pudding). Rice is the main component of this elaborate meal.

We Malayalis don’t need a reason to celebrate Kerala cuisine but we look forward to Onam to enjoy a combination of deliciousness on this day. Here, I am sharing the recipe of Avial, a mixed vegetable side dish, without which any Onasadya is incomplete.

Kerala’s Avial 

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Packed with veggies, this Onam special Avial can be relished all round the year

Ingredients:

The following vegetables, peeled and sliced:
Elephant Foot Yam (Suran in Hindi) – 1 cup
Raw Plantain – 1 cup
Winter melon/Ash gourd – one cup
Snake gourd (padavalanga in Malayalam)
Carrot – 1
Beans – 1/2 cup
Drumstick – 1
Raw Mangoes (if available), half a piece

To be ground together:
Coconut, grated – 1 cup
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garlic – 3-4 small cloves
Green chillies – 3

For seasoning:
Salt
Turmeric, a pinch
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves, a handful
Curd (to be substituted for raw mangoes)

Method: 

In a deep pan, cook together yam and plantain with a little salt and turmeric. Once half done, add winter melon and other vegetables with some more salt and cook till soft but not mushy. Use very less water to cook but make sure it does not get overcooked. Each vegetable should hold its individual identity and taste.

Add the ground paste and cook for a few minutes. Add curd and remove switch off the flame.  Add coconut oil and curry leaves. Serve with rice and rasam.

 

Paneer Corn Masala

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Spice up the rainy season with this delicious Paneer dish
There is something about Paneer. This fresh cheese is common to households in South Asian countries. Also called the Indian cottage cheese, paneer is a rich source of protein for vegetarians.

A variety of dishes–from hearty, royal curries to light and refreshing salads–can be made using paneer. My lunch box on Mondays is all about paneer. In fact, cooking a rich paneer curry on Monday mornings has sort of become a tradition, for me. And since it’s monsoon in India, I decided to combine paneer with a monsoon favourite: corn to make a delicious Paneer Corn Masala Curry!

Paneer and corn together make a wonderful combination. The sweetness of the corn enriches the milky flavour of the paneer.

Paneer Corn Masala

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Paneer Corn Masala
Ingredients:
200 gm Paneer (homemade or store-bought)
100 gm sweet corn
Onions-2 large, sliced
Tomatoes-2 medium, chopped or sliced
Green chillies-2, slit
Ginger-Garlic paste-1 tbsp
Fennel seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds-1 tsp
Red chilli powder-1 tsp
Coriander powder-1 tsp
A pinch of turmeric
Garam Masala-1 tsp
Oil-2 tbsp
Ghee-2 tbsp
Fresh cream-2 tbsp
Coriander leaves to garnish
Salt to taste
Water – 1 cup

Method:

In a pan, add cumin and fennel seeds and let them splutter. Add onions, green chillies and ginger-garlic paste. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes and saute till they soften. Add a little water, cover and cook till oil separates. Keep aside to cool.

While the sauce mixture cools, cut paneer into cubes and shallow fry them in oil. Keep aside. Boil corn till soft, drain water and keep aside.

Once the ingredients for the sauce cools, blend it in a mixer till it is a thick, gravy-like consistency. Heat ghee in a pan, add this mixture to the pan with some water if the gravy is too thick. Add turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Let the masala cook. Add the paneer and corn and let it simmer. Add garam masala and switch off the stove. Add cream and coriander leaves for garnish. Enjoy hot with chappati, paratha, pulao or plain steamed rice.