Cooking with Renu #3

Aloo Gobi ( Potato / Cauliflower ) (Northern Indian)

2 large potatoes , cut into 1 1/2 inches pieces

3 cups cauliflower florets

2 green chili’s, split

2 inch ginger finely chopped

1 Tbls. Cilantro


2 Tabls. Oil

1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds

1/2 tsp. Fennel seeds

1/4 tsp. Fenugreek seeds

1 tsp. Coriander powder

1/2 tsp. Hot chili powder

1/4 turmeric

1 tsp. Salt

Heat the oil to hot. Add pinch of asafetida powder. Add cumin seeds to sputter and then quickly fenugreek, fennel seeds, ginger and green chilis in succession. Stir fry. Then add potatoes and toss. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Leave over lower heat stirring occasionally for about 10to 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Add cauliflower and another 1/2 cup water, toss and then cover. Simmer for another 8 or 10minutes. When almost all moisture is absorbed, add the 6 dry spices and salt. Cover and set aside. When serving, add the fresh cilantro.

Methi Paneer (a Renu recipe)

1 cup Paneer ( made from 1 1/2 liters whole milk and 1 1/2 tsp.  vinegar)

1/3 cup cashew paste (made from 20 cashews ground with water)

1 pinch asafetida powder

2 Tbls. Heavy cream

3 Tbls Kashmiri Methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)

2 bay leaves

1 dried red chili

1/2 inch cinnamon stick

5 cardamom pods, seeds only

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 Tbls. Oil

Cube the Paneer into 1/2inch pieces.

Heat the oil to hot and add, in this order, pinch of asafetida, the red chili, cinnamon stick, bay leaves.

Add Paneer cubes and toss until they take on slight color. Add the Methi leaves and the cream. Then add cashew cream and salt. Remove from heat. Add the cardamom seeds and stir gently. It will thicken. If serving later, add a bit more water and reheat gently.

Purayal (South Indian Beetroot with Coconut)

4 medium beets, cooked, cooled, peeled and diced

Pinch asafetida

1 tsp. mustard seeds

2 dried red chilis

12 curry leaves

1 tsp. Urad dal

1 tsp. Salt

3/4 cup fresh coconut ground fine

1/2 Tbls. Oil

Heat oil to hot. Add pinch of asafetida. Add mustard and let pop for a second only . Add quickly urad dal, chili pieces, curry leaves. Be careful not to burn the lentils… so quickly add the chopped beets. Take off the heat and stir in the salt and coconut. Serve.

Tadka Dal (Northern India)

2 cups toor dal ( yellow dal)

2 fresh green chilis

1 dry red chili

1 1/2 inches ginger

1 cup chopped red onion

3/4 cup minced fresh tomato

2 Tbls. Ghee

2 Tbls. Garlic chopped

1 Tbls. Chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp. Cumin seed

1/4 tsp. Hot chili powder

1 tsp. Paprika (for color)

1 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Turmeric

Rinse the dal. If not using a pressure cooker, soak it more.

Heat the ghee to hot. Add, in quick succession, cumin seeds, dry red chili, the green chili, and the chopped onions. Lightly brown the onion before adding the garlic and then the ginger. Sauté a minute or two. Then tomato and cook until the moisture escapes and the oil bubbles out. Add salt, chili powder,, paprika, turmeric and 1/2 Tbls. of the cilantro. Pour this mixture over the dal and mix. Put in instant pot with 3 cups water and cook about 5 minutes on high and then allow natural release.

Add chopped cilantro when serving.

North Indian Raita

1 large cucumber

1/2 cup minced red onion

1/2 cup minced tomato

1 Tbls. Cilantro, chopped

1 cup yoghurt

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 green. Hili, finely minced

1/4 tsp. Roasted, freshly ground cumin powder

Mix vegetables together with cilantro. Add salt and roasted cumin and green chili. Stir in the yoghurt and sprinkle a bit more roasted cumin on top. Serve.

Ravi’s Puffy Bread: Bhatura

2 cups flour

1tsp. Salt

1/2 cup yoghurt


Mix ingredients together to make a soft dough. Leave it to rise in a covered bowl for one hour.

Knead the dough. Divide and roll out into circles the size of your wok.

Heat oil in wok. Gently drop the circles into VERY HOT oil to fry on both sides. This takes just seconds.

Drain in paper towels.


Renu’s Chickpeas in Tea

2 cups dry chickpeas, soaked overnight in ample salted water

Tie into muslin packet:

2 tsp. Tea leaves

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 Black cardamom pod

Boil chickpeas for 20minutes in fresh water along with the tea-cinnamon  packet.


2 onions minced

1 inch ginger, minced

1 green chili, minced

2 tomatoes, puréed

Chole masala packet

2 Tbls. Oil

Heat oil to hot. Add cumin seeds and toast briefly. Add onion and sauté. Then ginger, green pepper and tomato purée. Cook until moisture evaporates and oil starts to bubble out.

Tamarind /Jaggery Sauce makes a good accompaniment. Mix the two together with a bit of water, salt, cumin and chili pepper to taste. It should be a bit sweet.

credit: Renu Kumar

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