Aloo Matar and “Ghugni”

2016-01-05 12.33.10

Aloo matar

2016-01-05 12.33.47

“Ghugni,” under quotation marks as I replaced vatana with chickpeas

The trouble with Indian food is that it is not particularly exciting to take pictures of, but the flavours surely compensate for that. One day in the future, not only will you be able to see these photos, but you will also be able to smell the food on this blog, so there will be no need for such disclaimers. For now, all I can do is very strongly suggest the recipes below.

I must say, I think I am getting the hang of the Indian cuisine. I had the wonderful opportunity to taste some authentic Indian home-cooked food at a friend’s place on the same day I prepared these recipes. Of course, mine was not as good, but this was the first time I had a feeling my concoctions were close to the original.

The recipes below are from the cookbook How to cook Indian, by Sanjeev Kapoor. I tweaked some things, but I will give the original recipes here, as, when you cook, it is better to modify the original.

Aloo Matar

(Potatoes and green peas in an onion-tomato gravy)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium red onions, chopped
1½ teaspoons fresh ginger paste (see recipe below)
1½ teaspoons fresh garlic paste (see recipe below)
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red chile powder
4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes
1 cup (235 grams) fresh tomato purée
1¼ cups (190 grams) green peas
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Procedure

1. Place a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the bay leaf and cumin. When the seeds begin to change color, add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste, and sauté for 30 seconds.
2. Add the turmeric, coriander, and chile powder, and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the potatoes and 3 cups (600 ml) water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are half cooked.
3. Stir in the tomato purée, cover, and cook for 8 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
4. Add the peas, garam masala, and salt, and stir. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
5. Garnish with the cilantro and serve hot.

Ghugni

(Spiced yellow peas)

Ingredients

1 cup (220 grams) yellow vatana (whole dried peas)
1 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh coconut
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 large red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger paste (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon fresh garlic paste (see recipe below)
4 or 5 green chiles, stemmed and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, puréed
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground roasted cumin
½ teaspoon red chile powder
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 medium red onion, diced
4 teaspoons tamarind pulp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Procedure

1. Put the vatana in a large bowl, wash in plenty of water 2 or 3 times, and drain. Add 3 cups (600 ml) water and soak overnight. Drain in a colander.
2. Place a nonstick saucepan over high heat and add 6 cups (1.2 liters) water. When it comes to a boil, add the vatana and salt. When the mixture comes to a boil again, lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 1½ hours or until very soft.
3. Place a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the coconut and sauté until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the same heated pan. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, onion, ginger paste, garlic paste, and chiles, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned.
5. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the oil comes to the top.
6. Add the coriander, ground cumin, chile powder, and turmeric, and stir well. Add the cooked peas along with the cooking liquid and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until the liquid thickens.
7. Add the garam masala and stir well.
8. Ladle into individual serving bowls and top with the onion, tamarind pulp, coconut, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Fresh ginger paste

Ingredients

7-inch (18-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Procedure

1. Put the ginger in a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons water and process to a smooth paste.
2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Fresh garlic paste

Ingredients

25 cloves garlic, peeled

Procedure

1. Put the garlic in a food processor. Add ½ cup (100 ml) water and process to a smooth paste.
2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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