Friday, November 28, 2014


This is a shahi mutton dish from the Mughal kitchens. Marinated meat is cooked with the addition of almonds, cashews and lot of other ingredients and spices. To serve with it I have an equally shahi flat bread made with desi ghee and saffron flavour  So here is a Royal Treat for you..

Mutton ..... 1/4 kg
Onions .... 2 small (about 1 cup sliced)
Tomato puree ... 3-4 tbsps
Green chillies ... 1-2
Ginger ..... 1 inch piece
Garlic ..... 1 tbsp
Yogurt .... 2-3 tbsps
Mint ...... fresh few leaves or 1 tsp dried
Cream .... 3-4 tbsps
Almonds ... 6-7
Cashews ... 6-7
Poppy seeds .. 1 tbsp
Dessicated coconut ... 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder .. 1 tsp
Cumin powder ............ 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ...... 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder ... 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon... 1 inch piece
Bay leaves ... 1-2
Black cardamom ... 1
Cloves ..... 3-4
Salt ........ to taste
Desi ghee ... 2-3 tbsps (you may use oil if you like or both)
Almonds slices for garnishing.

1. Clean the meat and marinate it with yogurt, mint , ginger, garlic, turmeric powder and salt.
2. Dry roast the poppy seeds lightly and make a paste adding the almonds, cashews and the dessicated coconut. Use water or milk to grind.
3. In a pan heat the ghee and add the whole spices mentioned in the list. When they give out a nice aroma add the slices onions and saute until golden brown.
4. Add the tomato pure and saute until the ghee separates.
5. Now tip in the marinated mutton pieces and stir fry until the water from the meat dries up covering it and stirring from time to time.
6. Add sufficient water and simmer the meat for cooking. The quantity of water had to be judged by you because it depends on the meat. In India we get nice and tender meat unlike Brazil.
7. Add the spice powders and salt when it is half done.
8. Keep checking the meat and add some more water if required. When the meat is three-fourths done add the ground paste. Stir and simmer again.
9. When the meat is almost done, stir in the cream in the final stage.
Garnish with sliced almonds.

       See the Sheermal / Shirmal  recipe - HERE 

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Sheermal or Shirmal is a saffron-flavored slightly sweet traditional leavened flat bread that is found in various countries on the Asian sub-continent including Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. It is a naan-like milk bread, apparently of Persian origins, and it is suggested that the name comes from the Persian word for milk which is “sheer”. In India, this “milk” bread is predominantly found in Muslim neighbourhoods (another reason to suppose it came to India with the Mughals) of Kashmir, Lucknow and Hyderabad.
You will find that some Sheermal decorated with a lovely pricked rustic pattern on its surface, Lucknowi Sheermal garnished with raisins, others like to use slivered almonds, poppy seeds or sesame seeds to top their Sheermal. This bread is usually eaten as it is with tea for breakfast, or served slightly warm as part of a meal with a mutton curry called Nalli Nihari or spicy kebabs. It can also be served with Khurma/ Qorma, vegetable curries, etc.

Flour ... 2 and 1/4 cups (all purpose flour / maida )
Active dry yeast .... 1 tsp
Sugar ........... 2 tsps
Salt .......... 3/4 tsp
Lukewarm water .. 1/4 cup
Ghee / clarified butter .. 1/4 cup
Egg (lightly beaten ) ... 1  ( vegetarians can skip and use a little more milk instead )
Milk ............ 1/4 cup or as required for kneading
Rose water or kewra water ... 1 tsp
Saffron ......... few strands soaked in 2 tbsps warm milk
Melted ghee ... for brushing

1. Take lukewarm water in a bowl. Add sugar and sprinkle dry yeast. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy.
2. Take the flour in a big bowl. Add beaten egg and yeast mixture. Mix it You can use a food processor if you have it.
3. Add the ghee in two lots and mix it until it resembles crumbs.
4. Now knead it adding milk to make a soft and slightly sticky dough. Add the rose water or kewra water towards the end.
5. Transfer the dough into an oiled dish and cover it. Leave it in a warm place to rise until double.
6. Remove the dough and knead it again lightly and shape it into a ball. Coat it with ghee and cover it with a damp cloth to rest for 15 minutes.
7. Now Divide it into 4-5 equal portions and press it into a flat bread using your fingers. This is how it is made traditionally but if you want to use a rolling pin go ahead and do it. It should be about 4 inches in diameter and 1/8 th inch thick.
8. Place them in a greased baking tray. Using a fork prick the surface all over.
9. Brush them with saffron milk.
10. Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 180 C ( 350 F ) for about 10-15 minutes until they turn golden brown, Do not over bake them.Brush them with melted ghee.

 Information  and recipe -  Aparna Balasubramanian.

 We Knead to Bake # 22 ( Sheermal/ Shirmal ) @ My Diverse Kitchen 

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Monday, November 17, 2014


There is a large number of Chinese settlers in Peru and you will find similarities in some of the Peruvian dishes. I had the chance of learning and tasting some of them during my visit to Lima where I took the Gourmet Tour. Chefs gave a demo of a few popular dishes and this was one of them. Yellow chilli sauce is added to flavour most of the dishes which makes them spicy and tangy.

Cooked rice ... 2 cups
Eggs ... 2
Sesame oil ... 2 tbsps
Spring onions .. 5-6
Red bell pepper .... 1 (diced)
Ginger ....  1 inch piece julienned
Cooked chicken or any meat ... 1/2 cup
Soy sauce .... 1 tbsp
Salt ... to taste
Yellow chilli sauce .. 1 tsp (Peruvian Sauce ) See recipe - HERE 

1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Whisk the eggs with a little salt and make a thin omelette. Cut it into strips and set aside.
2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the white part of the spring onion and ginger.
3. Add the diced red pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes.
4. Now tip in the cooked chicken or meat pieces and the boiled rice.
5. Add the sauces and the green part of the spring onions and saute until heated through.
6. Garnish with egg strips and red bell pepper strips. and serve hot..

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This sauce is used in lot of Peruvian dishes and also as an accompaniment with the snacks.

Yellow chillies ... 1 cup
Sugar .......... 1 tbsp
Vinegar ...... 1 tbsp
Salt ......... to tatse
Oil ........... 3-4 tbsps

1. Slit the chillies and remove the seeds.
2. Boil them with a little salt for  8-10 minutes until they are cooked.
3. Drain the water. Add the sugar, vinegar and grind the chillies to a paste.
4. Heat the oil and allow it to cool. Add the ground chilli paste and adjust the seasoning.

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Sambar is a dish that is made everyday in South Indian homes as it is served with breakfast items as well as lunch. So each day a new variation is made with the addition of varied vegetables. Today I have tried it out with broccoli.

Toor dal ..... 1 cup
Tamarind juice .... 2-3 tbsps.
Jaggery ....... a small piece.
Tomato ................. 1
Onion ................... 1 ( or small onions)
Broccoli ........... 1
Green chillies .... 1-2
Turmeric powder ... 1/4 tsp.
Red chilli powder ... 1/2 tsp.
Salt ................. to taste.
Coriander leaves ... handful.

For tempering :
Mustard seeds ..... 1 tsp.
Cumin seeds ........ 1 tsp.
Asafoetida ............ a pinch
Dry red chillies .... 2-3
Garlic ............. 2-3 cloves
Curry leaves ......... a sprig

To make sambar powder:
Dry roast:
Coriander seeds ... 1 tsp
Cumin seeds ........ 1 tsp.
Methi seeds ........ 1/4 tsp
Dry red chillies .... 2
Chana dal ............. 1 tsp.
Dessicated coconut ... 1 tbsp.
Cloves ................... 2
Cinnamon ... a small piece.

1. Soak the toor dal for 2-3 hours. Cook it in the pressure cooker( 2-3 whistles)
2. Dry roast and grind the sambar powder and keep it aside.
3. In a pan heat a little oil. Add the tempering ingredients. when the seeds crackle, add the onions and stir fry for 1 minute.Now add the crushed garlic, tomato and the dry spice powders and mix well.Add the salt, jaggery, tamarind juice, broccoli and dal. Bring to boil adding sufficient water. Simmer until the broccoli pieces are cooked.(any other vegetable of your choice can replace the broccoli)
4. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

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This podi is  served with idlis and dosas with some sesame seed oil or melted ghee mixed with it.. If you like it really hot then add more chillies and you get what is called gun powder in Andhra. It tastes awesome with freshly cooked steaming hot plain rice and ghee.

Dry red chillies ... 50 gms
Urad dal ............. 100 gms
Chana dal ............ 100 gms
Toor dal .............. 100 gms
Cumin seeds ....... 1 tsp
Sesame seeds ...... 1 tbsp
Asafoetida ........ 1/4 tsp (optional)
Salt ....... to taste

1. Dry roast all the ingredients except asafoetida.
2. Bring them to room temperature.
3. Grind them and mix the salt and asafoetida.

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This is a very flavourful dal preparation from Rajasthan. A mixture of five dals cooked together with tempering. You can also give the smoke effect to it by placing a piece of lit charcoal in a katori and putting a little ghee on it . You then cover the vessel with a lid or foil paper.This really gives it a rustic taste. I did not have moth dal so I used whole moong instead. This dal is usually served with batis. But you can also serve it with rice and rotis too.

Toor / arhar dal .... 1/4 cup
Chana dal ............. 1/4 cup
Yellow moong dal .. 1/4 cup
Urad dal ................ handful
Green mung .......... handful
Green chilies ... 1-2
Ginger ........ 1 tsp
Tomato ....... 1
Coriander leaves ... handful
Asafoetida .... a generous pinch
Red chilli powder .... 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds ........... 1 tsp
Garam masala powder .. 1/2 tsp
Ghee or oil .....  2 tbsps
Salt ......... to taste

1. Wash and soak all the dals together for couple of hours.
2. Pressure cook with 2-3 cups of water with a little salt and turmeric powder. Alternately you can slow cook in a pot which is the traditional way .
3. Mash it lightly and add more water as per your preference of the consistency and adjust the salt.
4. In a pan heat the ghee or oil and the asafoetida and cumin seeds. When they crackle add the ginger, green chillies and chopped tomato. Simmer until the tomato gets cooked.
5. Add the garam masala powder and red chilli powder in the final stage and stir the tempering into the prepared dal.
Garnish with coriander leaves.

Note: Just before serving heat a little ghee and add a pinch of red chilli powder. Pour it on dal to give a nice look to the dish.

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Dal rasam is one of the rasam varieties in the South Indian Cuisine. I prefer this to others as it is less tangy and the addition of dal gives a thicker consistency. This rasam served with plain rice and fried fish is an awesome combo and our family favourite.

Cooked toor dal ... 1/2 cup
Tamarind juice ..... 2-3 tbsps
Tomato .............. 1
Garlic ........... 2-3 pieces crushed
Turmeric powder .. 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder ... 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds ... 1 tsp (crushed)
Pepper corns ... 1/2 tsp (crushed)
Mustard seeds ... 1 tsp
Asafoetida .... a pinch
Curry leaves ... few
Sugar or jaggery ... little for balancing the taste
Coriander leaves ... for garnishing.
Oil .... 2 tbsps

1. In a pan heat oil and add the mustard seeds and asafoetida.When the seeds crackle add the curry leaves,crushed pepper corns and cumin seeds.
2. Now add the crushed garlic and give it a stir.Add the tomato pieces and crush them a little with the spoon.
3. Stir in the cooked dal adding 2 or 3 cups of water as per your preference of consistency.
4. Add the tamarind juice, salt, chilli powder and sugar or jaggery.
5. Bring it to a boil and simmer for few minutes. Add coriander leaves.

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I simply love these one pot meals we make with the left over rice. Egg fried rice is always kids favourite meal since it is very mild in taste.. You can add whatever else you like or make it just with scrambled eggs.

Cooked rice ... 2 cups
Eggs ........ 2-3
Garlic paste .. 1 tsp
Spring onions .. 2-3 bulbs
Salt ......... to taste
Oil ....... 2 tbsps

1. Boil the rice adding salt. Cook to a grainy consistency.Drain and set aside.
2. Scramble the eggs with a little salt and set aside.
3. Cut the onion bulbs finely. Keep the leaves for garnishing. You may add them to the rice as well.
4.In a pan heat oil and fry the garlic to a light brown colour.
5. Tip in the onions and saute  until translucent.
6. Stir in the rice and toss everything together. Garnish with spring onion leaves.
Serve hot.

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