Indian Spicy Masala Porridge

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It’s been a busy start to the New Year! My other half and I decided it would be a good idea to begin 2016 by completing a job that had been collecting dust at the bottom of our “To Do” list for a little while. A task we had been putting off for months… redecorating the house. 

What followed were multiple trips to various DIY stores to pick everything from masking tape and sanding paper to paint brushes and light fittings. Annoyingly, we scrutinised over every detail. The combination of being indecisive and new to the situation did not help either. It also meant we learnt LOTS along the way. For example did you know that skirting board comes in more than one size – and that you should probably check you have the right size before cutting it. Who knew?! (Ps. If anyone needs some 14cm skirting board please holler… my shed will thank you). 

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If you have ever had work done in your home, you will know two things very well: 1) How disruptive it can be to your everyday routine… and… 2)How quickly dust becomes your arch enemy-it gets everywhere! We cleared most things into our guest room and kitchen which meant that cooking, was well… a royal pain in the bottom. It also meant that during that time, I often defaulted to cooking dishes that were stress free and quick and easy to make. That brings me to today’s recipe! (Excellent segue skills, I know). Spicy masala porridge is my go to dish when I’m craving something filling & comforting and it should be yours too. It also gets bonus points for only taking 10 minutes to make! It’s creamy & crunchy and topped with some mango pickle and plain yoghurt, it’s a real crowd pleaser. So much so that the dating website Match.com featured this recipe on their website! (Check it out here).

Ps. I am now very pleased to say that our decorating is now complete and we have now settled back into our fresher & somewhat newer looking, home (yay!). 

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Indian Spicy Masala Porridge
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (240g) of porridge oats
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 2 ½ cups water
  4. 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  5. 1 tomato diced, diced into ½ cm pieces
  6. 1 small carrot, diced into ½ cm pieces
  7. 2 broccoli florets, cut into small chunks
  8. 1 green birds eye chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  9. 1tsp salt or according to taste
  10. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  11. ¼ tsp paprika
  12. ¼ tsp garam masala
  13. 1/4 tsp amchur/mango powder (optional)
  14. handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat a non-stick pan and add the porridge oats and cumin.
  2. Toast on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously.
  3. When you see the oats being to change colour and become slightly darker, add the water immediately.
  4. Increase the heat to high and add the onions, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and chilli.
  5. Mix well. Now add salt, turmeric, paprika, garam masala and amchur.
  6. Allow the porridge to thicken and come to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle on fresh coriander and remove from heat.
  8. Enjoy on its own or with a dollop of yoghurt and mango pickle!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Spicy Mushroom Potato Sabji

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Something life changing happened last week. We got a mattress topper. I thought our bed was nice as it was but oh Lordy…comfort levels have now been taken to the upper echelons of the slumber world. And as much as I am loving the ridiculous amount of snuggly cosiness this new topper has brought into my life, it seems to have simultaneously introduced a problem. You know when you look at the clock and realise you were supposed to be somewhere 10 minutes ago…yeah that. I can no longer get out of bed in the mornings! 

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I went through a similar experience over the weekend where I woke up late and I had to leave the house asap. Whilst getting ready I realised I was starving and wouldn’t get home till late. I started pondering over what I could make. Okay Monica, think quick food. Cereal? Out of milk. Eggs? Nada. Sandwich? No bread..or filling for that matter. I hurried downstairs and opened the door to a relatively bare looking fridge (it had been one of those weeks). I saw pomegranate, and baby button mushrooms. I picked the latter. I then opened the pantry and saw onions & potatoes. Boom. I had an idea. Ten minutes later I had a spicy mushroom & potato sabji. I wrapped it in a chapati and gobbled it up in seconds. It was delicious! I’d like to think it didn’t have anything to do with my hunger as I was craving it when I got home and made it all over again for dinner.

Quick, simple, easy and spicy! Have a go. 

Oh before I sign off, just a quick thank you to you guys as Spice Diary was recently ranked in the top 50 food blogs in India. Thanks for your support lovely people! <3

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Spicy Mushroom & Potato Sabji
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 75g button mushrooms, washed & cut in half
  2. 3 small potatoes, washed
  3. 1 small red onion, sliced
  4. 2 tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  6. 1 birds eye green chilli, whole
  7. 1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
  8. 1 tsp sambar masala
  9. handful fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a plastic bag and tie a knot. Pierce a hole and place in microwave. Cook on highest power setting for 7 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Then cut into 2" chunks.
  2. Whilst potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the cumin. Th cumin should splatter immediately. Now add the onions, chilli and mushrooms.
  3. Sauté for 30 seconds, then add the salt and sambar masala. Mix well and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Now add the cooked potatoes, and mix. Cook for another minute and add the coriander. Mix.
  5. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat & enjoy!
Notes
  1. 1) Sambar masala is a spicy, tangy spice blend available at all Indian grocery shops. I have also seen it in some supermarkets in the worldwide section so worth checking!
  2. 2) When cooking potatoes, some microwaves have different power intensities, so just check potatoes are cooked by cutting through them with a knife.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Punjabi Chickpea Curry – CHANNA MASALA

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So for the next 9 days I am vegetarian. It’s a Hindu thing.

Okay I’ll elaborate.  The Hindu festival of “Navratri” takes place over the next nine days. It’s referred to by the elders as an “auspicious occasion” and one that symbolises the triumph of good over evil! It’s also a time where celebrations are expressed in the form of colour, family reunions, force feeding of Indian sweets by random aunties, dancing and eating (very possibly followed by more dancing and eating). Although the “eating” comes in the form of vegetarian food, it’s not really a problem for me as:

a) I’m not a huge carnivore anyway
b) I was a vegetarian for 3 of my teen years (I gave up when I moved to America-damn the USA with their tasty junk food that looks awful but tastes so darned good. I’m looking at you Mr pancakes topped with crispy bacon & maple syrup!
c) There is no shortage of delish Indian vegetarian dishes

It is slightly more of an issue for my other half however, as his dreams of kick-starting the week with Murgh Masala Monday & Tandoori Chicken Tuesday, sadly no longer exist. It is for this reason that I have decided to cook up some vegetarian dishes this week that deliver an extra portion of dishoom – hopefully easing the burn of the lack of “meatiness” in the kitchen. 

Today’s recipe is spicy, filling, comforting and moreish – I don’t know how many more adjectives I need to list about this dish before it screams out MAKE ME! Enjoy and do let me know your thoughts. Oh and p.s . Happy National Curry Week!

Punjabi Chickpea Curry
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chickpeas, raw
  2. pinch of baking soda
  3. 4 tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3” cinnamon stick (optional)
  6. 2 cloves (optional)
  7. 3 peppercorns (optional)
  8. 2 bay leaves (optional)
  9. 1 black cardamom (optional)
  10. 1 large onion, peeled
  11. 1 birds eye chilli (optional)
  12. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  13. 2" ginger, washed
  14. 2 tsp salt
  15. 1 tsp garam masala
  16. 1 tsp paprika
  17. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  18. 1/2 tsp amchur (mango powder)
  19. 2 plum tomatoes & 2 tbsp juice
  20. handful fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. Soak chickpeas and baking soda in water overnight
  2. Wash and rinse thoroughly
  3. Place chickpeas in a pressure cooker. Cover with water until the water level is 1 1/2" above the chickpeas. Add 1 tsp of salt and place lid on carefully. Cook for 12 minutes after the first whistle. Turn off heat. Allow to de-pressurise naturally before removing lid.
  4. If you do not have a pressure cooker, place chickpeas with salt in a pan of water (same water level as above) and bring to boil. Now reduce the heat and allow to simmer until tender and cooked all the way through. This can take between 35-45 minutes. (If the water reduces before they have cooked, add more boiling water to the pan).
  5. To make the masala, coarsely grind onions in a processor and place in a bowl. Now coarsely grind the chilli, ginger and garlic.
  6. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Once hot add the cumin alongside the cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf and black cardamom.
  7. When they begin to splatter in the oil, add the ground onions. Add 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
  8. When they turn slightly translucent, add the ground chilli, ginger and garlic mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the masala turns completely golden.
  9. Now reduce the heat and add the remaining salt, garam masala, paprika, turmeric and amchur powder and mix well. Now add the plum tomatoes and juice and mash into the masala. When the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the chickpeas and 1 cup of water and bring to boil and cook for 5-6 minutes on high heat.
  10. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Serve with hot chapatis, naan or basmati rice!
Notes
  1. You can add or reduce water depending on how dry or wet you would like the dish to be. Some like it to be wetter if serving with rice or drier if serving with breads.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/