Indian Cucumber Raita

Raita is a yogurt dish used as a sauce or dip. The yogurt is usually seasoned with ground red mustard seeds, ground cumin, coriander (cilantro), salt and optionally sugar. Vegetables such as cucumber and carrot and even fruits like grapes and banana are used. The mixture is served chilled. Raita has a cooling effect on the palate that makes it a good neutralizer for spicy Indian dishes. In this recipe we will be using cucumber and grapes and adding sugar for sweetness.

Ingredients

2 cups yogurt
3/4 cucumber peeled and grated
1/2 cup grapes chopped into quarters
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground red mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. To an empty medium sized mixing bowl, add 2 cups of yogurt. Mix lightly just until the yogurt is of smooth consistency.
  2. Squeeze all the water from the grated cucumber. Add to the yogurt. Mix gently. Avoid mixing too much or too rigorously as this will cause any remaining water to be released from the cucumber making for a watery raita!
  3. Add the spices – salt, sugar, ground red mustard seeds, ground cumin. Mix gently.
  4. Add the grapes, mix gently. Garnish with cilantro.

We want the raita to be a nice balance of sweet and sour. Upon tasting if you feel one over powers the other feel free to make some adjustments.

Enjoy!

Asian Style Corn Noodle Soup Fusion

This soup is a twist on traditional corn soup. It is very common to see soups like this on restaurant menus in India. Instead of just salt and pepper, we will also use grated ginger and green chilli. In addition to this, we will add some noodles, to give the soup a heartier feel. I am choosing to use vermicelli noodles, however, you may also use Asian style dinner noodles. This is a great dish to pick you up after a long day!

Ingredients

  • 9 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ½ cup peaches and cream corn kernels
  • 1 heaping tbsp salt
  • ¾ tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp grated green chilli
  • 1 ½ tbsp corn starch
  • pinch black pepper
  • 3 spirals vermicelli noodles

Directions

  1. Using a food processor or chopper, blend the corn kernels. You can buy a bag of frozen corn kernels from the grocery store. If you cannot find peaches and cream corn kernels, any will do, but peaches and cream would be better because of its natural sweetness.
  2. Boil the water.
  3. Once boiling, add the blended corn, ginger, green chilli and salt. Keep the stove on high until boiling, once boiling turn the stove down to medium and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. In a bowl, mix the milk and cornstarch. Ensure that no lumps remain.
  5. Add in the milk and cornstarch mixture.
  6. Turn the stove on high and until the soup is boiling. Now turn the stove down back to medium and allow it to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  7. Add the pepper and noodles. Using your hands crush each spiral as you add it in.
  8. Mix and allow the soup to simmer on medium for another 10 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so that the noodles do not stick.

Enjoy!

Spinach Paratha (Indian Flatbread) (Roti Style)

Paratha are a type of flatbread that originated in India. They are made with whole-wheat flour and typically pan fried with ghee (clarified butter) or oil. The stuffing for a paratha can either be mixed into the dough, or placed into a ball of dough which is made into a pocket. In this receipe we are keeping it simple by just mixing the stuffing directly into the dough. For the stuffing we are using a form of spinich called, fenugreek.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup chick pea flour
  • 3 cloves shredded garlic
  • ½ tsp shredded ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 bunch or 1 bag of fenugreek spinich (methi) washed, cut and blended
  • pinch of sugar
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Try and get rid of any lumps.
  2. Add the wet ingredients (water, yogurt, oil) and work the dough until all the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan on the stove on medium heat.
  4. Make a ball of dough (about half the size of a golf ball) and douse it in some all purpose flour.
  5. On a smooth surface, roll the ball of dough to about 8-10 cm in diameter using a rolling pin. Roll with a very light hand and douse the paratha in flour when needed to avoid sticking.
  6. Place the paratha on the pan and lightly cook one side. After about 15 seconds flip it over and cook the other side. After another 10-15 seconds flip it over again. Lightly brush this side with oil. Flip it over again and with a spatula, press down on the paratha, allowing it to cook and absorb the oil. Flip over and continue this.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for the remainder of the dough.

** Note – You need not finish all the dough at once. You can store it in the fridge for a couple days.

Enjoy!

Giouvetsi (Lamb with Pasta Baked in the Oven)

Giouvetsi is a traditional Greek dish made with only a few simple ingredients but it is packed with flavour. It is made with lamb (although you could also substitute the lamb for beef), tomato juice and spaghetti. In our fast-paced world, it really is comforting to sit down to a wholesome meal. As Greek-Canadians, we appreciate the authenticity of this recipe, even though today it is made in electric ovens rather than wooden ovens baked in clay pots. We hope you enjoy!

  • A leg of lamb, about 1 to 1½ pounds (be sure to trim the fat)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon each of salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 3 large glasses of water
  • ½ a package of Number 7 spaghetti

Wash the lamb well and place it at the center of a roasting pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Add the tomato sauce and water. Cook the lamb in the oven for about 3 to 3½ hours at 400 degrees. For the first hour cover the pan with the lid, but for the remaining time remove the lid.
After about 3 hours, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the lamb and set it aside. Add the spaghetti to the same pan and mix it a bit. Place the lamb back in the pan, on top of the spaghetti, but be sure to turn the lamb over on the other side. Put the pan back in the oven for another 45 minutes.

It is now ready to serve. Enjoy! (serves 6)

Chole (Indian Chickpea Curry)

Chole is a North Indian chick pea dish. The base is a tomato gravy and to this you add either canned chick peas or if you prefer dried ones which you have soaked overnight. In this recipe we will be using canned chick peas. Like most Indian curries you can adjust the spice so that the dish is spicy or mild depending on your taste. This recipe will make the Chole on the milder side.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chick peas
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes diced
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 medium sized onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic diced
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ¾ tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch asafetida powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup water

** Please note: In this recipe I am using a pressure cooker. If you do not have one, you may also just use a pot.

Directions

  1. In your pressure cooker/pot heat 3 tablespoons of oil.
  2. Once the oil is sufficiently heated, add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds.
  3. Allow the cumin seeds to sizzle in the oil. Once they have turned golden brown, add a pinch of asafetida powder. Follow this by adding ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  4. Add the onions and sauté until they have turned golden brown. Follow by adding the garlic. You do not need to sauté the garlic, as overcooked garlic tends to loose its flavour.
  5. Add the tomatoes in and allow the mixture to simmer on medium heat until the tomatoes have melted and the mixture is fairly uniform. Follow by adding 1 teaspoon of tomato paste and mixing.
  6. Add in the chick peas.
  7. At this point we can add all the spices – salt, ginger paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and a pinch of sugar. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Add in 1 cup of water.
  9. At this point –
    • If you are using a pressure cooker put the lid on securely and turn the stove on high. Different pressure cookers behave differently in terms of how they release steam. In my pressure cooker, the pressure is released in the form of a “whistle” (steam shooting out), intermittently. In some pressure cookers, when the pressure is at maximum, the steam is continuously released – so basically the “whistle” does not stop. To simplify things, just cook the Chole in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes.
    • If you are using a pot, leave the stove on medium heat and put the lid half on (if you put the lid on securely, it will boil over). Allow the Chole to simmer for 20 minutes.
  10. At this point if you are using a pressure cooker make sure you wait until all the pressure is released before opening. This is very important. If you have some chopped cilantro, you may add it as a garnish. Serve with basmati rice, naan, roti… whatever you desire!

Enjoy!

Kulfi (Qulfi) Flavoured Frozen Indian Ice Cream

Kulfi is a type of frozen Indian dessert similar to ice cream. It comes in many different flavours such as, mango, pistachio and rose. In this recipe we are going to keep it simple and just use a combination of ground almond, cardamom and saffron to provide flavour.

Ingredients – Half Quantity (Full Quantity)

  • 185mL 1/2 can (370mL 1 can) Evaporated Milk
  • 75mL 1/4 can (150mL 1/2 can) Condensed Milk
  • 500mL 1/2 tub (1L 1 tub) Whipped Cream Cool Whip
  • 2 tbsp (4 tbsp) Ground Almond
  • 1 tsp (2 tsp) Ground Cardamom
  • 1 tsp (2 tsp) Sugar
  • 1 tsp (2 tsp) Saffron
  • Handful sliced almonds
  • Handful sliced pistachios

Directions

Saffron Powder

Using a mortar and pestle we want to combine the sugar and saffron and grind them together.

  1. Combine some of the sugar and saffron in the mortar.
  2. Using the pestle, grind until and sugar and saffron have become one powder.
  3. Repeat until you have gotten through all the sugar and saffron.

Kulfi Mixture

  1. Combine evaporated milk, condensed milk and whipped cream in a bowl and blend until no lumps remain, using a hand blender.
  2. Add the ground almond, ground cardamom and saffron powder into the mixture.
    Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a tray or individual serving cups. Garnish with the sliced almond and pistachio.
  4. Put into the freezer to freeze. Freezing time is about 5-6 hours.

** Half Quanity makes about 7-8 servings
** Full Quantity makes about 14-15 servings

Cabbage Sambharo (Warm Spiced Cabbage Salad)

Cabbage Sambharo is a Gujarati side dish similar in look and feel to coleslaw or salad. There are two aspects to this dish which make it quite unique:

  1. In order to stop the salad from becoming soggy, all excess water is removed by adding salt to the mixture and letting it sit for a while.
  2. The “dressing” is far from the traditional combination of vinegar/lemon juice/olive oil. Instead, it is a combination of ingredients such as mustard seeds, sesame seeds and turmeric lightly toasted in oil on the stove top.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • ¼ of a small cabbage, shredded
  • ¼ red pepper, julienned
  • ¼ yellow pepper, julienned
  • ¼ orange pepper, julienned
  • ¼ green pepper, julienned
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 tbsp salt

Dressing

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 green chili finely chopped (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp oil

Garnish

  • Handful of pomegranate
  • Handful of cilantro (Italian parsley)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Combined shredded cabbage, julienned peppers and shredded carrot in a bowl.
  2. Add the salt and mix it into the salad thoroughly – Let this sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. Squeeze excess water from the salad. You can do this with your hands. Just take a handful and squeeze, until no more water comes out. Repeat this until you have gotten through all the salad. Place the dehydrated salad in another bowl.
  4. Warm oil in a pot. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to sizzle until you hear them popping.
  5. Add the sesame seeds and allow them to turn golden brown.
  6. Add the turmeric and green chili.
  7. Pour the entire contents of the pot into the bowl of salad which you set aside in step 3.
  8. Add the lemon juice and sugar.
  9. Mix so that the dressing, lemon juice and sugar is evenly distributed.
  10. Garnish with pomegranate and cilantro.