Monthly Archives: January 2012

Lauki Chana Dal

Dal is a very important part not only of Bihari cuisine but of Indian cuisine as such – whether it is in form of Dal in North India or Sambar in South India. And Chana Dal is one of my hot favourites.  In fact, I often  serve it in parties also with very good response.                   

Ingredients

The quantities given below are approximates, but should be adequate for four per



  1. Chana dal   150 gms     
  2.  Lauki     150 gms
  3. Onion    1  medium size
  4. Ginger   10 gms
  5. Turmeric Powder    1 tea spoon                       
  6. Bay Leaves    2
  7. Black cardamoms    4
  8. Cloves     8
  9. Green  cardamoms    8
  10. Red Chillies             2
  11. Cinamon          2 pieces    1  inch long
  12. Balck pepper         12
  13. Vegetable Oil         2  spoons
  14. Ghee or butter        2 spoons
  15. Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Peel and cut  Lauki  into  one inch cube or so.
  2. Chop  the onions length-wise.
  3. Crush the ginger.

Cooking

  1. Put two spoons of vegetable oil in frying pan on medium fire and heat it.
  2. When the oil becomes hot,  add bay leaves, black cardamoms, green  cardamoms, cinnamon pieces, black pepper, cloves and red chilies and fry lightly.
  3. Put the dal into a pressure cooker and add double the quantity of water by measurement. Normal vessel may also be used but it will take longer time.
  4. Add turmeric powder, crushed ginger, fried spices  and salt.
  5. Cook under pressure for 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Open the lid when cool. The dal should be cooked but  not  too soft.
  7.  Check water. If there is too much water heat it without pressure and dry to your taste.
  8. Put the dal into a serving bowl.
  9. Put 2 to 3 spoons of ghee ( or butter as a second choice ) in a ladle spoon and  heat it for tadka.
  10. When the ghee becomes hot,  add onions and fry till light brown. This is the tadka for the dal.
  11. Spread the tadks  on the dal and serve.

When ready the dal will look like this.

Variation

  1. In case of those who want to avoid fat – the spices may be added directly to the dal without frying. The tadka  may also be avoided. It  will still leave the dal very  aromatic and tasty.
  2. Adauri  ( i.e. Bariya )  may be used in place of lauki. But the Adauri need to be fried before adding it to the dal.

Chana dal  goes well with plain roti, rice and pulao.

Jhuris or Bajakaas

Jhuris, also called Bajakaas are a very popular side dish amongst Biharis.  So much so that Jhuris are almost an essential side dish on most festive occasions.

Jhuris are like Pakora except for one vital difference.  Pakoras are made with besan batter. And generally the besan batter itself   has no other ingredient except salt. Some times ajawain or roasted dhania amy be addes to it.  Jhuris are made with rice flour batter and it has quite a few other ingredients. The rice flour gives the Jhuris much more crunchiness and crispiness than the Pakoras.   The results are startlingly different.

Besides, Pakoras are usually eaten as a snack while Jhuris ared eaten as a side dish with the main meal.

Preparing the vegetables

Jhuris can be prepared from many vegetables such as – potato, onion, baigan, bhindi, parwal, lauki, green banana, tori flowers, pumpkin flowers etc. Jhuris  prepared from soft soaked black gram ( after crushing )  are also very tasty. However, each vegetable needs to be cut/sliced differently.

Potatoes and onions – peel and cut into round slices approximately 3-4 mm thick.

Baigan –  Select  either mid size round baigans or thick long baigans. The baigans may  be cut into round 5-6 mm thick pieces.  The long baigans may be cut length-wise also in convenient sizes. However, in case of long baigans the side pieces should be discarded as its skin has a bitter taste.

Bhindi – Select tender bhindis. Wash the bhindis and let the water dry out.  Cut the bhindi length-wise in full or in convenient sizes if it is too long.

Parwal – Scrape the parwal  lightly  and cut it lenth-wise. Each parwal would normally give three to four pieces according to the thickness of the parwal.  Marinate the parwal with a pich of salt and red chili powder for fifteen minutes and dry the water before frying.

Lauki – Select mid size tender lauki. Peel and cut into round slices approximately 2-3 mm thick.

Green banana – Peel the banana and cut it length-wise approximately 3-4 mm thick.

Tori and kaddu flowers – Wash the flowers carefully and use them without cutting. The flower buds should also be used.

Black gram – Soak the gram overnight. Drain out the water. Crush the grams coarsely and mix it with batter to bind it and fry.

Ingredients for the Batter

Cut vegetables and ingredients

  1. Rice Paste
  2. Turmeric powder
  3. Red Chili powder
  4. Dhania powder
  5. Jeera powder
  6. Garlic
  7. Ginger
  8. Mustard oil and Salt

Preparing the Jhuri Batter

Soak raw (i.e. not parboiled ) rice in water for  two to three hours. Traditionally the soaked rice was ground to paste on a stone slab ( sil – batta ). Now we have to make do with grinding it in a grinder. Put the soaked rice, garlic and ginger into the grinder and grind to fine paste – though not too fine. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder,  dhania powder, jeera powder and salt to taste and mix well. Pour some water into the batter such that when the vegetable pieces are dipped into it before frying, the batter neither runs off nor the coating becomes too thick.

Frying

Put some cooking oil, preferably mustard oil for ideal results,  in Kadai or deep frying pan.  When the oil gets heated, dip the vegetable pieces in the rice batter one by one  and  fry on medium  fire. More than one piece can be put  at a time in the oil like Pakoras taking care  that they do not stick together. Turn after some time and fry till both sides become golden brown in colour.

Jhuris

Serve hot along with dhania chutney.

Makhane ki Sabji

Makhana is actually seed of lotus flowers. It is grown only in a particular region of Bihar and supplied all over the country. It is mainly used for  making kheer and  vegetables. It is also fried and used as snacks.  Makhana preparations are also eaten during fasting. Makhane ki sabji is considered a delicacy.

Ingredients

The quantities of ingredients given below are approximates only. They may need to be adjusted according to taste.



                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                

  1. Makhana  1 1/2 cups 
  2. Matar 1 cupTomatoes  2 or 3
  3.  Chopped onions 2 medium size
  4. Dhania Powder 1/2 spoon
    Garlic Paste         1/2 spoon
  5. Red Chili Powder
  6. Green chilies 3 or 4
  7. Garam Masala 1/2 tea spoon
  8. Cashew Nuts  10 t0 12 pieces
  9. Resins     10 to 12 pieces
  10. Dhania leaves
  11. Vegetable oil
  12. Salt

Method 

  1. Put two spoons of vegetable oil in a kadai and heat on medium fire.
  2. When the oil becomes hot, add makhana and sauté till the makhanas become a little brittle.
  3. Remove from fire and allow it to cool.
  4. Add makhanas, split cashew nuts, resins, green chilies slit length-wise,  stir and  cook till all the ingredients get properly mixed. You may also add some khoya, but not really necessary.
  5. Add water and cook till done.
  6. Add garam masala powder and remove from fire.

Pour in a serving bowl. Garnish with  tomato slices and  dhania leaves. When finished the curry should be thick.

Makhane ki Sabji

Makhane ki  sabji goes well with plain rice, pulao, plain roti and paratha.

 

Besan ki sabji

Besan ki sabji is cooked in Rajsthan also. It is  called Gatte ki sabji. But Besan ki sabji  is cooked differently in Bihar.

Ingredients

Coarse Chana Besan

Coarse Chana Besan

Chopped onion
Onion paste
Green chilies 
Ginger 
Turmeric powder
Red Chili powder
Jeera whole
 Dhania powder
Garlic paste
Ginger paste
Garam masala
Dhania leaves
Vegetable oil
Ghee or butter
Sugar 
Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Add  oil, chopped green chillies, chopped ginger, dhania powder, jeera, garam masala  and salt to besan.
  2. Knead the besan to hard consistency.
  3. Make besan balls to medium size potatoes.
  4. Boil the balls till cooked.
  5. Take out the balls and allow them to cool.
  6. Cut the balls into four.
The besan balls will look like this.  The besan atta can be boiled in elongated form also and then cut into pieces.

Besan balls

Cooking

  1. Put a kadai/deep frying pan on  fire.
  2. Pour  oil in the kadai/frying pan.
  3. When the oil becomes hot, fry the besan pieces to light brown.
  4. Take them out of the kadai/frying pan.
  5. Drain out oil leaving about two spoons of oil.
  6. Heat the oil.
  7. Put chopped onions and fry till translucent.
  8. Make a paste of  onion paste, garlic paste , ginger paste, dhania powder,  turmeric powder , red chili powder and put it into the frying pan and  fry for two to three minutes.
  9. Pour some water into the pan.
  10.  When the water starts boiling  add the besan pieces and cook till done.
  11. Add garam masala.
  12. Stir  and remove from fire.
  13. Put the sabji in a serving bowl.
  14. Put  two spoons of ghee in a ladle and heat it.
  15. When the ghee becomes hot put ½ spoon sugar and caramalise.
  16. Add a pinch of red chili and immediately remove the ladle from fire and spread the ghee on the sabji.
  17. Garnish with chopped dhania leaves and green chilies split length-wise.

When done the gravy should have a thick consistency.

Besan ki Sabji

Variation

  1. After boiling the besan balls the sabji can be cooked in mustard masala also.  The recipe for standard mustard masala is described in  recipe for Kachhe Tamatar ki Sabji.
  2. You may add finely chopped methi leaves to the besan before kneading.

Besan ki sabji  goes well with rice.