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Truly Punjabi

Try out these simple Punjabi dishes


ROBUST AND rich are adjectives that go well with Punjabi cuisine. A litre of milk in the morning, a dozen butter`ful' rotis with paneer and aloo dishes for lunch followed by a huge glass of lassi, apart from an invigorating cup of masala chai is what one is reminded of while speaking of Punjabi food.

But there is more to it than just that. Punjabi cuisine is not all ghee/ butter and fat-and-calorie-rich dishes, which take a lot of time to prepare. Punjabis use ladyfingers and carrots to make lip-smacking dishes. Sample these dishes for an energy overdrive. .

Ingredients:

Fresh bhindi - 350 gms
Ground coriander seeds - 15gms
Ground cumin seeds - 15gms
Ground amchoor - 15gms
Red chilli powder - tsp
Salt - 2.5 gms
Ground black pepper - 2 gms
Small onion - 1
Vegetable oil - 90 ml

Method: Rinse the bhindi and pat dry. Trim the bhindi by cutting off the bottom and the top cone. In a bowl, mix together coriander, cumin, amchoor, chilli powder, salt and black pepper.

Make slits in the bhindi with a small knife. Stuff the bhindi with the mixture prepared. There should be just enough filling to fill the pods. Over a medium flame, heat oil in a frying pan in a single layer.

Fry the onion till it begins to brown. Add thebhindi and turn the fire to medium low. It should cook slowly and uncovered. Gently turn the sides till golden brown. Cover the pan and cook for a further five minutes.

Labdhary aaloo

Ingredients:
Potatoes - 1 kg
Fresh ginger - 50 gms
Large tomatoes - 350 gms
Vegetable oil - 60 ml
Whole cumin seeds - 2.5 gms
Kalonji - tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/8 tsp
Ground turmeric - tsp
Ground cumin seeds - 5 gms
Ground coriander seeds - 5 gms
Red chilli powder - tsp
Salt - 4 gms

Method: Boil potatoes in their skins. Drain and let cool. Peel and dice them. Peel ginger and chop coarsely.

Blend with water. Chop tomatoes into very small pieces. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add cumin seeds, kalonji and fenugreek seeds.

Stir once and add ginger paste and turmeric. Stir for a minute. Add tomatoes and cook till tomatoes have turned paste-like. Now add potatoes with water and salt. Mix well and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer till done.

Gajrela

Ingredients:
Carrots - 500 gms
Khoya - 200 gms
Cashew nuts -10
Cardamoms - 6-8
Silver leaves - 2
Milk - 1 litre
Sugar - 1 cup
Desiccated coconut - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

Method: Boil milk and sugar then add grated carrots. Cook the milk, sugar, grated carrots and khoya together until the mixture thickens. Add one tsp. ghee/butter and fry lightly. Lastly, add cashew nuts and cardamom powder. Serve hot, garnished with silver leaves.

Tandoori paneer

Ingredients

Cottage cheese - 250 gms
Ginger - 20 gms
Cumin - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - tsp
Tomato puree - 1
Onions - 2
Salt - 10 gms
Garlic - 4 cloves
Green chillies - 3
Bell pepper - 2
Ghee - 1tbsp

Method: Grind ginger, garlic, cumin and green chillies to a fine paste. Add salt and chilli powder. Cut cottage cheese into 1" cubes. Apply this paste to all the pieces. Pierce cottage cheese cubes on a skewer and grill on charcoal fire for 10 minutes till it is slightly crisp and dry. Alternately, cottage cheese can be left like this for one hour, till dry. Heat 1 tbsp. ghee in a wok. Fry onions and bell pepper rings for a few minutes till onions get transparent. Keep aside a few bell pepper rings. Add tomato puree and cook till dry. Add salt and cottage cheese pieces. Toss for a minute. Serve garnished with bell pepper rings.

Pudina ki roti

Ingredients:
Wheat flour - 2- cups
Oil/butter - 2 tbsp
Oil for shallow frying
Mint - 1 cup

Method: Sift flour and salt in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp of oil and mint and make a stiff dough. Cover with a damp cloth and leave aside for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 15 parts. Shape like balls and press flat with the palm of your hand.

Roll out the roti into a round disc about 5" diameter. Put roti on a preheated griddle, dry roast both sides first, then add oil on both sides and shallow fry until well browned.

O.P. KHANTWAL

(The writer is Executive Chef at ITC Kakatiya Sheraton Hotel and Towers)

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