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Monday, May 30, 2011

Spicy Garlic Pickle in Oil / Lahsun Ka Telwala Achar

This is my favorite pickle. Tastes very good on side with chapati/sabji and also with Rice and dal. Or you can just have it with piece of any bread of your choice.


* 5 cups of peeled garlic cloves (~ 2 pounds of peeled garlic, I used already peeled garlic cloves from Costco)

* 1/3 cup of split mustard seeds (Rai dal, available at local India grocer)

* 1/4 cup of crushed Fennel seeds (Sauf) (optional)

* 3/4 cup of cayenne pepper (you can use more if you like spicy)

* 1/2 cup of Paprika powder

* 1/4 cup of salt

* 1 tablespoons of turmeric powder

* 2 tablespoons of mango powder

* 1/2 tablespoon of Asafetida

* 1 and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil


* Take the peeled garlic cloves in a deep bowl.

* Pour all the spices on to garlic cloves.

* Heat oil on stove until very hot.

* Carefully pour hot oil on spices and garlic cloves.

* Keep mixing as you pour oil.

* Pour all of the oil so he pickle is submerged in oil.

* Let it cool in the bowl.

* Transfer in a glass jar.

* Keep the jar at room temp for few days, you can keep in hot sun for few days covered with muslin cloth. (make sure it does not rain) Keep mixing it in between.

* Garlic will become somewhat soft in three to four days of hot sun exposure. All the spices will be nicely blended in and the garlic pods will be deliciously marinated in to these blended spices. The pickle is ready to be served :)

* You can keep it at room temp if you have made small quantity, or in the fridge if made large quantity like this.

* Mix the pickle well before every time you serve it as the oil will be floating on top and all the spices and garlic will be settled down.

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sun-dried Tomato Salsa

With graduation parties around the corner and for other summer parties, this is good recipe to make ahead of time. It is a recipe for large amount of salsa. This recipe yields 96 oz jar of salsa, but you can cut down the ingredients to make desired amount.

I was inspired by my co-workers to make this salsa. Every Friday we take turns bringing snack for office, everyone looks forward to this at end of a hectic week. It was my turn to take snack today. I love my colleagues. I take great pleasure and always look forward to make something new for them. This time I made this salsa and it was a great hit.

I never tried sun dried tomatoes when I was in India. We do have other sun dried vegetables in India, because certain vegetables are in abundance only certain time of year. Back in old days when they did not have frozen veggies, they used to preserve veggies by drying them in hot sun. In India you get various sun dried veggies like Okra, Ker Sangri, various Berries, Guar beans and various other beans etc etc, but I never saw Sun dried tomatoes until I came to this country.

Now I love them, besides making this salsa, I also make sun dried tomato sauce with Marsala wine for Portabella mushrooms raviolis (recipe on this blog). Here is what I found more info on sun dried tomatoes on my favorite website wikipedia.

Sun-dried tomatoes are ripe tomatoes which are placed in the sun to remove most of the water content from the tomatoes. Cherry types of tomatoes will lose 88% of their initial (fresh) weight, whilst larger tomatoes can lose up to 93% during the process. As a result, it takes anywhere from 8 to 14 kilos of fresh tomatoes to make a single kilo of sun dried tomatoes.

After the procedure the tomato fruits will keep their nutritional value. The tomatoes are high in lycopene, antioxidants, and vitamin C and low in sodium, fat, and calories.

Sun dried tomatoes were created in the tile roofs of Italy as a way to store fresh tomatoes for the winter. This technique is still used for tomatoes, only in much larger quantities of tomatoes and for commercial use (commercially available tomatoes).

Sun-dried tomatoes can be used in a wide variety of recipes and come in a variety of shapes, colors, and tomatoes. Traditionally they were made from dried red plum tomatoes, but they can be purchased in yellow varieties of tomatoes as well.

Sun-dried tomatoes may also be preserved in olive oil, along with other ingredients such as rosemary, basil, dried paprika, and garlic.


* 2 pound jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil

* 3 red onions

* 3-4 Jalapeno peppers (or to desired heat)

* 12-15 fresh red chili pepper pods (or to desired heat) I used frozen.

* 2 cups of crushed tomatoes from can

* 12 cloves of garlic

* 1/4 cup of lemon juice

* 1/3 cup of Apple cider vinegar

* 2 table spoon of cumin powder

* 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning

* 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper powder

* 1 tablespoon of paprika powder

* 2 teaspoons of salt or to taste

* 1 tablespoon of corn starch

* 1/2 cup of water to mix corn starch

* 2 teaspoon of sugar

* 1 bunch of cilantro

* 1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves (optional)


* Soak the sun dried tomatoes in enough water to submerge the tomatoes for 1 hour (with its oil in the jar).

* Boil them in this water for 30 min, turn the heat off and let them cool.

* Grind onions, jalapenos, garlic in food processor to fine chunky consistency.

* Grind the soaked tender sun dried tomatoes in food processor to fine paste.

* Add crushed tomatoes from can and two cups of water to this paste and heat it on stove.

* Add ground onions, garlic and jalapenos to this.

* Add all the spice and salt and cook until it boils.

* Add corn starch mixed with water to this and cook for few more minutes.

* Add lemon juice and vinegar and sugar.

* Mix well and turn the heat off.

* Chop cilantro and mint in food processor.

* Add chopped cilantro and mint to salsa.

* Let it cool and fill it in air tight jars.

* Refrigerate.

This can stay fresh in the fridge for about 2-4 weeks.

Sun dried tomatoes information source:

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Moong Dal Palak (Moong dal Spinach)


* 1 cup moong dal

* 3/4 teaspoon salt

* 2 cups of water

* 1 pound of spinach (can use frozen spinach)

* 1 onion red or yellow

* 1 tomato

* 2-3 Serrano peppers

* 1" piece of ginger

* 8 pods of garlic

* 1 tablespoon butter

* 1 table spoon oil

* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

* 1/4 teaspoon asafetida

* 1 bay leaf

* 1 cup of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree from can

* 1 table spoon coriander powder

* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

* 1 teaspoon cumin powder

* 1 tablespoon mango powder

* 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

* 1 teaspoon garam masala

* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

* 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

* 1 cup of water

* 1/4 cup of heavy cream (optional)


* Wash moong dal, add 2 cups of water and salt and cook it in pressure cooker.

* Let the cooker cool when done, while you prepare the spinach and gravy sauce.

* Wash spinach and boil it in uncovered pot until tender (if you cover it the spinach will turn dark)

* When spinach is tender and cooked, drain all water and set aside to cool.

* Chop and coarsely grind onion, ginger, garlic, serrano pepper and tomato in food processor.

* Heat oil and butter in a pan.

* Add cumin seeds when oil/butter is hot, when seeds crackle add asafetida and bay leaf.

* Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger, tomato and chili paste.

* Saute until brown and all the water is gone.

* Add all the dry spices, stir and cook for few seconds.

* Add tomato puree or crushed tomato from can.

* Cook for 2 min, stirring occasionally.

* Add 1 cup of water and dal, cook for 1-2 min.

* Chop/grind the boiled spinach in food processor to desired consistency.

* Add chopped spinach to dal.

* Cook for 3-4 min.

* Add heavy whipping cream, stir and mix well.

* Serve hot with rice, chapati or Naan.


* You can change the proportion of moong dal to spinach, that is you can add less spinach and more dal or vice versa.

* You can make Masoor palak (Lentil spinach) same way by substituting Moong dal with Masoor (lentils).

* To make it less rich and creamy you avoid adding heavy cream at the end.

Recipe and Photograph by Surekha.
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