Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hyderabadi Dahi Bhindi Masala

This recipe is from my favorite blog - Edible Garden. Its my go-to-place for new recipes, ideas to use-up whats in my pantry and last but not least drooling over the beautiful food pictures. Nags - you are an inspiration :-)

When I read this recipe - I realized that for the first time I had every single ingredient listed at home and it took me just 30 minutes to get this dish done. It tastes just like a restuarant dish - a bit rich and heavy for an everyday lunch but would definitely be a party pleaser!.

Now to the main ingredient in this dish - Vendakkai aka Lady's Finger aka Okra. I remember as kids, we were told that eating ladies finger will "give you more brains" , "make you good at maths" (really!!). I did google it to check if the brain boosting properties were a myth or a reality. This is what i found.  The nutrition details of vendakkai reads like the ingredient list on a multivitamin bottle -  vitamins C, A, E, K, and B complex, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, and phyto-nutrients. I dont know if it really increases brain mass as my grandmother believed - but it does help with digestion, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases.

Whether it is healthy or not, vendakkai continues to reign the hearts of most people and suits a wide range of cuisines. Today's recipe is Hyderabadi Dahi Bhindi - a dish that looks complex but is actually super easy to prepare. Go ahead and try it. It will garner quite a few "wows" at your dinner table.

Recipe Source: Edible Garden (orignally from Monsoon Spice)


1kg - Vendakkai / Okra / Lady's Finger
1 large onion, finely chopped
1T Tomato Paste (substitute with 2 large tomatoes)
1 t Ginger Garlic Paste
1 cup Curd
1 T grated coconut
6-8 cashews
1T milk
1t Red chilly powder
1t Garam Masala
1t Coriander powder
1/2t Turmeric
1t Kasuri Methi (Dried Methi leaves0
1/2t Amchur powder (Dried mango powder)
salt to taste

For Seasoning:

1t Mustard seeds
1t Urad Dal
1/2 t Cumin seeds
3 Dried Red Chilly
1 pinch of asafoetida
1 sprig of curry leaves
1t oil


1. Slice the vendakkai into discs and smear a pinch of salt and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Soak the cashews in 1 tablespoon of milk for 10 minutes and grind to a paste along with the coconut.
3. Heat oil in a pan and roast the vendakkai until crisp. You can also deep fry them. Remove and set aside.
4. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and season with items given under seasoning
5. Add the onions and fry until soft.
6. Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes. Add all the powders and mix well.
7. Add the tomato paste / chopped tomatoes and fry well. I have used tomato paste and therefore added some water to dilute it and mix well.
8. Add the ground paste and fry well.
9. Add the curd and simmer.
10. Add the kasoori methi, salt and mix. Continue on simmer. If you find the gravy thick, then add some water.
11. Add the fried vendakkai/okra pieces and mix well. Allow flavors to meld (about 2 to 3 minutes)
12. Serve hot with pulao or rotis.


  • If you want vendakkai that does not turn sticky while cooking, remember to leave them at room temperature for two days after you bring them home. They tend to wilt a little bit and thats when the stickiness doesnt show up.
  • The original recipe calls for an optional pinch of sugar which I have omitted.
  • The recipe can be used with paneer or mixed vegetables or even cauliflower.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pepper Chicken Vindaloo

One of the easiest chicken dishes, this Pepper Chicken Vindaloo requires no marination and no frying and grinding spices. Its simple and easy and especially suited for beginners. If you are new to cooking non-vegetarian food, then this dish is an absolute no-brainer.



Chicken - 1/2 kg (any cut would do - boneless or drumstick or wings. I have used boneless)
Onion - 2, finely chopped
Green Chillies - 2, slit
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 T
Garam Masala - 1/2t
Red Chilly powder - 1t (optional)
Coriander powder - 1T
Ground black pepper - 1T
Vinegar - 1T
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - for garnish

Mustard seeds - 1t
Cinnamon - 1 small stick
Cloves - 2


1. Heat oil in a pan. Add items given for seasoning.
2. Add garam masala and green chillies
3. Add onions and fry till they turn pink and soft.
4. Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes.
5. Add Red chilly powder and coriander powder and add a glass of water.
6. Add the washed and cut chicken pieces and salt and simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Add the vinegar and continue on medium flame. If it seems dry then add a little bit of water.
8. Add ground black pepper and mix well and simmer until the chicken is full cooked.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or rotis.


1. Chicken releases water while cooking. Hence add very less water at the beginning of the cooking process. You can adjust as you go.

2. Adding garam masala at the time of seasoning releases the aroma of spices when they hit the hot oil.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Healthy Brown Capsicum Rice

On hot summer days (which is infact everyday in Penang!) I normally prefer making one-pot lunches. Meals that are simple to make, wholesome in combining grains / lentils /veggies and involves just one pot to wash up. One such easy meal is the Simple Capsicum rice. You can make the spice powder in advance and store it (I normally make these spice powders in bulk and store them in my refrigerator) and voila - the entire meal would take just under 30 minutes to prepare.

This recipe is adapted from Sailus Food - a delectable blog with a variety of recipes.  I have made this with brown rice to give a nutritious twist. Brown Rice is one of my new finds and it took a while for me to get the grips on the water ratio and cooking times. It is a bit on the chewy side and I doubt if small kids would like the texture but it suits well for the Indian mixed rice dishes. If you are health conscious - then do give it a try. It is filling and is much more nutritious than polished rice as the outer husk is still on and therefore adds a lot of fibre to your meals. For more details on the nutrition value of brown rice check out these pages. If you do not have brown rice - simply substitute with regular white rice or basmati.

Capsicum Rice


Brown Rice - 1 cup (washed and cooked with 3 cups of water on stove top / pressure cooked as per instructions on packet)
Capsicum - 1 - sliced or chopped
Onion - 1 sliced 
Roasted Peanuts - 1 T
Salt to taste

Spice Powder:
Red Chilly - 5-6
Dhania (Coriander seeds) - 1T
Cumin Seeds - 1t
Broken Urad dal - 1T
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Curry leaves - 1 handful
Roasted Peanuts - 2T
Ghee - 1/2t

To Season
Mustard Seeds - 1t
Curry Leaves - a handful
Ghee / Oil - 1 t


1. Spice Powder - Heat ghee in a pan and roast cumin seeds, urad dal, red chillies, dhania, cinnamon and curry leaves together. Once they turn golden, add the roasted peanuts and mix well. Grind to a coarse powder.

2. Heat ghee / oil in a big pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
3. Add the sliced onions and fry till they turn pink
4. Add the capsicum and fry until they are  cooked but are still crunchy. 
5. Add salt and mix well. If you taste it at this stage, the capsicum should be a bit salty.
6. Add the rice, spice powder and mix well. Taste and adjust salt. 
7. Garnish with roasted peanuts and serve with raitha.


  •  If you are not sure about the salt quantity, then add the salt while cooking the rice and omit while frying the vegetables.
  • Store excess spice powder in a tightly lidded jar in the fridge. Use within a month.
  • If you are making this for kids - then use basmati rice and increase the quantity of ghee for added flavor

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