Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Vaalachi Usal (Dry Hyacinth Beans curry)

Hyacinth Beans are popularly known as 'Vaal' in Marathi, 'avarekaalu' in Kanadda or 'mochai'  in Tamil. In Maharashtra some people prefer to call this curry as 'Vaalachi usal' or 'Vaalacha Birda' (Hyacinth beans curry)

Vaal - 1 cup (after soaking and sprouting the volume will increase to 2 cups)
2 medium size onions (1 1/2 onion -finely chopped, 1/2 onion for making paste)
ginger about 1 inch
garlic 15-20
coriander leaves for garnish, and 1/2 cup for making masala
1 green chilli (This depends how spicy you want your curry to be)
jeera seeds 1 tbs
coriander seeds 1/2 tbs
red chilli powder as per taste (depends how much spicy you want the curry)
salt as per taste
turmeric 1 tbs
mustard seeds 1 tbs
hing 1/2 tbs
amsul (garnicia indica) 4-5  (or use 4-5 pieces of raw mango when raw mango is in season)
fresh grated coconut -1/2 cup (1/2 cup coconut milk can be used too)
jaggery 1 tbs
Oil 2 tbs
water - as required (to make curry like consistency)

For making the masala
  1. Grind 1/2 onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli(s), jeera, coriander seeds (add little water if needed. Keep aside.
  2. Separately grind freshly grated coconut (add water to make it a paste like consistency) Keep aside. Do not mix with the masala made in step 1 above.

These beans are dried ones and needs to be soaked for 8 hours, then tied in a muslin cloth for sprouting for another 8-10 hours. Then you need to remove the brown cover and what you get is white beans as shown in the picture above. This is a 2 day process but the end product is an amazing curry!!
  1. Heat oil in a non stick pan (or kadhai) and add mustard seeds, hing. Let the spices splutter for sometime. Add the chopped onion and saute for a while.
  2. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and the masala done in step 1 above
  3. Saute for 1/2 a minute. Add the vaal (beans).
  4. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes. Put 1 cup water and bring it to a boil.
  5. The best way to cook these beans is to cover the pan/kadhai with a lid/plate and add some water on this lid/plate. (this method will help fast cooking of the Vaal (beans) Test the beans if they are cooked by breaking them in two pieces. Add water to make it a curry like consistency.
  6. Add amsul, fresh grated coconut (or coconut milk ), salt and jaggery
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  8. Enjoy this curry with steamed rice/ rotis and nice spicy pickle!!


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Shahi Dum Aloo

Baby Potatoes – ½ kilo
Onion – 2 large
Tomatoes – 2 nos
Black jeera (Kalaunji) 1 teaspoon
Coriander (Dhania) seeds – 1 teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds – 1 tablespoon
Fennel (Saunf) – 1 tablespoon
Garlic peels – 6-8 pcs
Ginger – sliced into thin long pcs – about 10 pcs
Red Chillies (Kashmiri preferably) – 3-4 nos
Black pepper – ½ teaspoon
Salt to taste
Thick curds – 2table spoon – a little sour
Fresh cream – 2 table spoons
Kismis – 1 tablespoon
Cashewnuts – about  pcs
Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch
Cooking oil or mustard oil – 4 tablespoons

  1. Grind one onion with dhania, jeera, saunf, red chilli, black pepper, garlic into a coarse paste with a little water and keep aside. (This is the masala paste)
  2. Half Boil the baby potatoes with skin (if preferred) and poke a hole into each of them and then deep fry them with salt and keep aside. (If you do not want to deep fry the potatoes, fully boil them and peel off the skin and keep aside)
  3. Grind tomatoes into a puree with cashewnut and keep aside.
  4. Beat the curds and keep aside.
  5. In a large Pan (Kadai) heat oil and add kalaunji on low heat. Once it sputters, add the finely cut onion (one) and masala paste and fry well. The oil will leave the sides of the paste at this stage add the tomato and cashew paste and continue to fry on low fire. Let it simmer well and cook together with the masala. Now add salt and once all cooked add the thin long pcs of ginger, curds and some water (to make a gravy). Cook for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, fresh cream and the kismis and cover with lid and cook on dum on a very low fire for about 15 mins.
  6. Serve with plain paratha/roti 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Chicken & Veg Stew

This is a quick meal which is serve steamed rice. It is easy to make and a wholesome meal for a lazy weekend lunch/ dinner!
Vegetarians can use Tofu instead of chicken. I have once prepared the veg version of this recipe and thought of cooking it with chicken this time.

1/2 kg boneless chicken cubes
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 carrot
5-6 button mushrooms
5-6 babycorns
1 small size brocolli
2 tbs cornstarch/ cornflour
6-7 red chiilies
2 tbs oil
butter 1 tbs
1 ltr chicken stock/ vegetable stock
garlic crushed 10-15 clove
salt as per taste

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables (bell peppers, brocolli, carrots, mushrooms, baby corns) in cubes. Par boil the carrots and baby corn (as it takes longer time to cook) with a pinch of salt and keep aside. All the rest of the vegetables can be boiled later while cooking the dish.
  2. Boil the chicken in 1.5 litres of water. Let the chicken cook properly. Remove the chicken pieces and keep the stock aside for later use.
  3. Heat oil and butter in a cooking pot and add the red chillies. Let them sputter for some time and add the crushed garlic. 
  4. Add all the vegetables in the pot along with chicken. Add the entire chicken stock.
  5. Mix cornstarch/corn flour with little bit of water and add it to the cooking pot. Stir in continuosly while adding cornstarch/corn flour.
  6. Add salt as per taste. Bring it to a boil. Check for the consistency of the sauce/gravy. It should not be watery or very thick. 
  7. Serve with steamed / boiled rice.