I have a very peculiar habit in me, probably lot of people might be doing that..I always write my name and the date of purchase whenever I buy a book. I am a hoarder when it comes to cookbooks and I started collecting cook books right from my initial days of college. The first cook book that I ever bought or rather it was gifted by a very close friend of mine Swati…Nita Mehta’s Paneer Swaad ka Khazana. But ever since then I have been collecting books…big or small. Today I have probably more than 50 cook books apart from the diaries that I maintain in which I scribble down my recipes from magazines, cookery shows… The first time I started writing recipes must have been in 7th or 8th standard.
Today I share a very simple and yet very tasty Mughlai recipe from Nita Mehta’s Mughlai Vegetarian Khana which I had bought on 16th May’97. I had tried a few kababs and curries then. In the due course I bought many other books and this book had taken a back seat. One of these days when I was arranging all books, my eyes landed on this book again, I started turning the pages and I spotted this recipe... I was eager to try it as I had all the ingredients available in the pantry...so convenient!!! The end result was a mild recipe which I surely made a little more spicy and adjusted a few more ingredients to make it suitable for our taste buds..( my mom would say..jeebhe che chochale), meaning pampering taste buds.
Mughlai Food is the food that was eaten and relished by the Indians during the Mughlai period. Mughlai khaana stands apart as the empress of the Indian range of cooking. It lays stress on good ingredients, low flame and rich spices. Ingredients such as almonds, poppy seeds and flovoring spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, mace and Nutmeg are used to prepare Mughlai food. Curd and cream form the gravies having less stress on tomatoes. Onions are usually deep fried to a golden brown colour and then blended to be used in gravies. However, this recipe uses the tomatoes as well as curds and the onions are not deep fried.
1 cup hara chana or chholia (fresh green gram)
soya chunks-12-13 soaked in hot milk for half an hour
1/2 cup thick yogurt beaten
3 onions chopped roughly
2 tomatoes chopped roughly
2 tsp coriander pwd
salt to taste
2 tsp red chili pwd
1/2 tsp garam masala
oil for cooking
1 tbsp poppy seeds
3 green cardamom
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 bay leaf
1 flower mace
and 1/2 tbsp oil
For the flavouring paste heat the oil and fry all spices on a low flame, now remove the bay leaf and grind them to a rich aromatic paste to be used later.
Grind together the onions, tomatoes and ginger. Heat oil and add the coriander powder followed by the onion paste. Cook till oil separates. Reduce flame, add garam masala, red chili powder and salt and cook for a minute.
Remove the pan from the flame and mix in the beaten curds (this prevents curdling), once properly mixed, cook with continuous stirring till oil separates. Mix in the the milk left from the soy nuggets and cook till dry.
Add in the chana and nuggets and cook on low flame for 5 mins, now add about 2 cups of water and bring the curry to a boil. Cook on low flame till the chana gets cooked.
Add the flavouring paste, cover and cook on low flame for another 5 mins.
Serve hot with rice or roti.
One can completely use green chana to make this curry.
The end result surely left me happy and I was glad I opened the book and re-read it. It is not a recipe that I will cook regularly as the fresh chana is only available in winter but I will surely make this again the next winter not only for it’s taste but also because of the high protein content it offers.