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North Indian Punjabi Recipes

North Indian Punjabi Recipes
If Punjabi recipes tempt your taste buds, then this page is a must-visit. Take a peep into Anita Chahal aunty's kitchen and see what authentic Punjabi food is all about. You will also find fusion recipes from Anita aunty's Punjabi kitchen. Not to mention, she has started to share OPOS recipes as well.

Authentic South Indian Recipes

Authentic South Indian Recipes
If you love south Indian food, do not leave without checking this page. Dedicated to Chitra Balachander, a south Indian homemaker, the page is all about taking a journey into her south Indian kitchen. Travel with me to her kitchen to savor traditional south Indian food.

Healthy Recipes by Homemakers

spinach kebabs by Ritu Mendiratta
tomato soup by Chitra Balachander
cracked wheat dalia by Ritu Mendiratta
chavanprash by Anita Chahal
raw turmeric-ginger pickle by Sunita Sethi
cough remedy by Anita Chahal




Kullar by Nature Kahlon

broccoli amla soup by Mandeep Kaur


dahi gatte by Ritu Mendiratta
home made chayavanprash by Radhika Maheswari
chatpatte moth by Ritu Mendiratta
Amla Candy by Parul Bansal

A Trip Down the Memory Lane


What is the history of Chola Sheb? How many of you know of its significance in Sikh history?

Do you know the chola belongs to Shri Guru Nanak Dev?

2016 began on a great note. A ride through Himachal’s snowcapped hills, criss-crossing the Beas (Vipasha in ancient Hindu Texts) and the Satluj (Shatadru in the Rig Veda) umpteenth times, visit to mythological Shakti Peethas and stay at important gurudwaras (sikh pilgrimages) on the slopes of the Himalayas allowed enviable and relishing moments to savor.











chola saheb - chola of guru Nanak
The magnificent view of Bhakra Dam, serpentine mountainous roads at Bharwain, Kangra, Nadaun, and Naina Devi and imposing hills rising over 5,000 ft near Bilaspur still entice us to have that scintillating experience again and again. On top of it, it was a self-driving adventure through the hills.
The food at local dhabas in Himachal was so inviting and worth relishing again. The chants of Jai Mata Di continue to reverberate in our ears. I still remember my little 5-year-old nephew reciting Jai Mata Ji when we were traveling in a cable car, which have me goosebumps for sure.






A Bit of History


A visit to Baba Bakala - the very site where ninth Sikh master Guru Teg Bahadur (Tyaga Mal became Teg Bahadur for his valor shown at the Battle of Kartarpur in 1635) spent 26 years, 9 months, and 11 days in voluntary solitude and religious contemplation - was a bewitching experience. This is the place where he turned from a great warrior prince to a solemnly religious persona.


The final destination was Dera Baba Nanak, the place where remnants of Guru Nanak were shifted and re-established after his tomb in Kartarpur was flooded. There is an enchanting story behind this place. How the small place that derives its name from Dohera (second burial of Guru Nanak’s remnants that Muslims got at Kartarpur) became Dera was another interesting story to learn.
Saw the “Chola” (a long upper garment/holy robe) and a few things related to Ranjit Singh’s most powerful General Hari Singh Nalwa. The chola transferred from one guru to another until fifth guru Arjan Dev along with five other symbols of Udasi Dress. However, Guru Arjan Dev  passed the robe to Bhai Tota Ram

The Story of the Chola Traveling to Afghanistan
During the construction of the sarovar (holy tank) in Golden Temple, Amritsar, Bhai Tota Ram, who was a resident of Afghanistan's Balakh-Bakhara, offered his serves with great devotion and worked tireslessly in spite of his injured foot. This was when Guru Arjan Dev Ji heard about him. 

Guru Ji called Tota Ram to shower his praise on him. He told him that he was happy with his dedicated services and that the latter should ask for a favor in return. To this, Bhai Tota Ram replied that he had all the worldly possessions, but his place was devoid of Gursikhi (service of the guru).

Since Guru Arjan Dev ji was still compiling Holy Granth or Guru Granth Sahib at that time, he decided to bestow on Tota Ram the Holy Robe, while the remaining five symbols were handed over to the Sodhi Clan. Then Bhai Tota Ram returned to Bukhara and displayed the Holy Robe or Chola for Guru Nanak's followers. Before his death, Tota Ram decided to secure the Chola in a secret place on a mountain, since he was apprehensive of its security after his death.He prayed that the Chola be bestowed on anyone chosen by Guru Nanak ji. 

The chola remained in that cave for decades until Baba Kabli Mal, a descendant of Guru Nanak Dev's clan (eight generation of Guru Nanank's son Baba Lakhmi Dass Ji), had a dream of the Holy Robe. In his dream, Baba Kabli Mal was directed by Guru Nanak to bring the chola back. 

When Baba Kabli Mal Ji reached Bukhara, he was told that Guru Ji’s Holy Robe was securely hidden inside the cave blocked by a huge rock, which could not be moved by anyone. Baba Kabli Mal prayed to the Almighty and the rock moved on its own. Then Kabli Mal brought the Chola to Dera Baba Nanak.



The visit to the BSF post on the border to gaze at the Kartarpur Gurudwara on the other side was another thrilling experience. (Will come up with detail story about the history of the place soon).
The harsh and foggy winter on the Punjab plains failed to overwhelm, rather evaporated, before the great warmth and benign hospitality of our friends bestowed at Dina Nagar.

Mani - A Traditional Sweet 'n Sour Delight

mani- sweet sour
Recently, I visited Dinanagar, my friend's place. Dinanagar is a small town in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The place is close to some hilly parts of Himachal Pradesh. This means the recipes of hill dwellers have fused with those of the bordering Punjab districts. So my friend introduced me to a pahari (hill) recipe, which is both sweet & sour. The tangy gravy makes a delightful accompaniment with rice and even roti. I enjoyed it today with rice, roti, and shalgam-aloo bharta.

Without much ado, let's go to the recipe. I have altered the recipe a bit.

Ingredients
8-10 imli (tamarind) pieces
1 tbsp sugar (or more if you want)
2 tbsp- besan (gram flour)
1/2 tsp- fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
1 tbsp- mustard oil
salt, turmeric
kasuri methi (optional)
coriander leaves (optional)


Process


  1. Boil imil in 2 cups of water.
  2. Take a vessel.
  3. Add oil.
  4. Put methi dana.
  5. Next add besan. In the authentic version, they do not roast besan, rather, mix it in 1/2 cup of water and then add.
  6. Nevertheless even this version tasted good.
  7. After besan is roasted. Add little amount of water and mix well so that no lumps are formed.
  8. Now add imli water.
  9. Add salt, turmeric, and sugar.
  10. Mix well. Add more water if you want it flowy or soupy.
  11. Boil for some time.
  12. Garnish with kasuri methi or coriander leaves. Even this is not included in the original mani recipe.
  13. Enjoy with rice and roti. The traditional recipe is dal, mani, and chawal (rice).

Winter Indian Sweets: Instant Til Ladoo, No Ghee, No Sugar

til ladoo
Looking for a traditional Indian sweet recipe?

This til ladoo recipe can come in handy.

Loaded with benefits of sesame seeds, this easy and quick ladoo is inspired by Nature Kahlon's kullar recipe.









gur til ladoo - winter sweets by Naturedeep Kahlon
What's in the recipe?

Til ladoo - 2-ingredient winter delicacy with a dash of walnuts.
 No sugar, no butter, no heating required.
Gather, churn, and bind - it's as simple as that!

Explore the benefits of sesame seeds here.

This winter sweet tastes good and is easy to churn and roll out :)
In fact, this special Indian sweet recipe comes from our grandmoms who used to spend hours cleaning sesame seeds during winters, then dry roast them on chullahs, mix with jaggery powder, and bind the dough into balls with clarified butter or ghee.

Fond childhood memories there.
Having observed my grandmom do this for us all makes me luckier.



Ingredients
2 tbsp til (sesame seeds)
1/2 tbsp gur or jaggery
1 walnut (akhrot)

Process

  1. Dry roast til. Keep aside.
  2. Take mortar or pestle or any other equipment to mash til, gur, and walnut.
  3. Mash well and roll out into balls.
  4. I could make only 2 with this amount.
  5. Made a delectable healthy sweet.

Shalgam Alloo Bharta (Turnip Recipe: Stir Fry)


Shalgam bharta ?

Yes, you have heard it right!

After alloo bharta, shalgam or turnip bharta would become a welcome addition to your dining table.

cooking with turnips: bharta
Shalgam or turnips aren't too welcome at my place, especially as a vegetable, though I love to munch on them in the form of salad. I decided to experiment with this vegetable loaded with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and calcium, In fact, its slight bitter taste is attributed to its high calcium content.

It is a proud member of the cruciferous vegetable family. According to WHFoods, "The glucosinolates in turnip greens are phytonutrients that can be converted into isothiocyanates (ITCs) with cancer-preventing properties. All cruciferous vegetables have long been known to contain glucosinolates, but it has taken recent research to show us exactly how valuable turnip greens are in this regard." To know more about turnip benefits, please check here.

Though these taste bland, turnips are rich in antioxidants. It is a perfect addition to your meal planning if you are watching calories, since turnip is a low-calorie vegetable. Additionally, it is teeming with Vitamin C, which helps the body fight off free radicals that are linked to cancer. So we can claim that our very own shalgam has cancer-fighting properties as well.

Nevertheless it makes a really delectable vegetable if prepared with caution. Yes, I am familiar with some recipes now. Mom makes turnip bharta with little sugar. I went a step ahead and added potatoes to make shalgam-aloo khasa (bharta). In Odisha, bharta is known as kasa.

Let's make this shalgam-aloo bharta that makes a great accompaniment with rice and dal. I relished it with rice and mani (a sweet & sour soup from the hilly regions). My friend, Harvinder Malhotra, introduced me to this khatta-meetha gravy, during my recent visit to Punjab, and I simply loved it.


A delicious take on turnips . Savor the shalgam bharta as a condiment or relish it as a side dish, this recipe is going to mesmerize you all!

Here is some feedback on the alloo shalgam bharta




Ingredients
2 turnips
2 potatoes
2 tomatoes
2 onions
8-10 garlic cloves
1 1/2- 2 tbsp mustard oil
1 small ginger piece
dhaniya (coriander) powder
pinch of hing
jeera (cumin seeds)
fresh coriander leaves
kasuri methi

Process

  1. Slice potatoes, turnips into cubes.
  2. Pressure cook both along with tomatoes. Do not cut tomatoes. Drop them whole in the water.
  3. Boil with little salt and turmeric (haldi) in a pressure cooker. You may skip adding tomatoes and instead add tomato puree if you have.
  4. Just 2 whistles would be enough.
  5. Meanwhile, chop onions. Keep aside.
  6. Grind or smash garlic and ginger together.
  7. Take a kadahi or wok and add oil.
  8. Put on high flame.
  9. Drop in hing. 
  10. Next, add jeera.
  11. Now we will add ginger-garlic paste.
  12. Stir fry.
  13. Add onions and little salt.
  14. Fry.
  15. Next take out the boiled tomatoes from the pressure cooker and drop into the frying onions.
  16. Mix well and fry on medium flame.
  17. Add more salt if required. Now add haldi as well.
  18. Stir very well so that the masala does not burn.
  19. Now add the boiled shalgam and potatoes.
  20. Mix well and let the vegetables cook for a couple of minutes and blend well with the masala.
  21. Next try to mash the cooking shalgam and potatoes. 
  22. Once done, sprinkle coriander powder and kasuri methi and mix well.
  23. Keep on a low flame and stir intermittently for 10 minutes or until you are able to mash everything.
  24. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  25. Enjoy the shalgam bharta with rice or roti.


Lip-Smacking Turnip Recipe: Shalgam Chana Dal


shalgam chana dal
Not fond of shalgam recipes or looking for more turnip recipes to tinker the taste buds of your loved ones?

I know this may taste like a bland vegetable, but I love shalgam in every form - as salad, as chutney, as bharta, and as curry. I have even tried shalgam recipe as a snack.

Now I am sharing a new turnip recipe in the form of a finger-licking good dal curry.

A few days back a Bengali neighbor introduced me to this sumptuous chana dal shalgam recipe. I wanted to give it a try. Since hubby does not like turnip (shalgam), I found this recipe useful as I could include this healthy vegetable in our meals. When I tried it, hubby approved the recipe. Could I ask for more?


If you have fussy eaters at home, who detest the very taste of turnip, then there is a way to bring  them to the dining table!

Perhaps, you need just 2 key ingredients - chana dal (chickpea lentils/bengal gram) and turnips.

Surprised?

Well, make this healthylicious chana dal lentil curry blended with turnips to enjoy the real taste of India!

I am not exaggerating.

You need just one try and you are done!

If your family loves chana dal curry with bottle gourd, then this is a must-try recipe. It tastes even better. Trust my words!

I made it at my mom's place as well, where nobody likes turnips, and the recipe was loved by one and all. This has become a super hit shalgam dal recipe at my place.

Ingredients
2 turnip (shalgam)
1/2 cup- chana dal (gram/chickpea flour)
1/2 cup- moong dal (or you could skip moong dal and double the quantity of chana dal)
1 tsp- fennel seeds (saunf)
1/2 tsp- ginger (if you have saunth or dry ginger powder you can add that)
2 tsp- mustard oil
salt, turmeric (haldi) as per taste
red chilly -1 or more
pinch of heeng
garam masala
2 tomatoes (pureed)
2-3 onions chopped

Shalgam Chana Dal Procedure
chana dal with shalgam

  1. Soak the dals for half an hour.
  2. Strain, wash, and keep aside.
  3. Slice shalgam.
  4. Chop onions
  5. Puree tomatoes
  6. Heat oil. Let it reach smoking point.
  7. Drop in red chilly 
  8. Let it splutter
  9. Add chopped onion
  10. Stir fry
  11. Add saunth or grated ginger 
  12. Mix and fry Add saunf and mix well. Let the aroma of saunf fill your house. 
  13. Add tomato puree and fry for a couple of minutes on low flame or until the raw scent goes off.
  14. Add shalgam and fry for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Add garam masala. Mix.
  15. Add both dals. Mix.
  16. Add 2 cups of water. You may add 1 cup more if you want it soupy. 
  17. Put on high flame.
  18. Turn off the flame after 5 whistles.
  19. Garnish chana dal with fresh coriander leaves.
  20. Enjoy shalgam dal with rice or roti. 

Feedback from Sangeeta Chandra on this shalgam recipe:



Here's another unique dal combination recipe that you may want to try. These turnip recipes are a blend of taste and health.
carrot capsicum moong dal recipe
khatta meetha matar shalgam

shalgam aloo bharta
broccoli palak saag with shalgam
makki di roti te sarson da saag with shalgam

Homemade Cookies: Oats Almond Atta Cookies


oats atta cookies
After a long break, it's time to bake another healthy cookie batch. This time I have experimented with baking with whole grains, so I have come up with oatmeal cookies with almond.















Homemade cookies Ingredients
atta cookies


1/2 cup- oats
1/2 cup- wheat flour
1/2 cup- besan (gram flour)
1/2 cup- suji (semolina)
1/2 cup- almond powder
1 tsp- baking powder
4 tbsp- ghee/butter
3 tbsp- oil
3 tbsp- sugar powder (you may add more, depending on your taste..I take less sugar)
1 tbsp- curd (optional)
2 tbsp- milk (or more if the dough feels too dry)
4-5 elaichi (cardamom) pieces, 1 small cinnamon stick (dalchini)

Baking with whole grains Process
oats cookies


  1. Grind oats.
  2. Grind almonds.
  3. Sieve baking powder, wheat flour, gram flour, suji.
  4. Mix almond powder.
  5. Add sugar.
  6. Add ghee, oil, curd, milk, elaichi, and cinnamon. 
  7. Put this mixture in a grinder. You may use your food processor...this will ensure instant mixing of ingredients...if you wish, you may mix the same with hands.
  8. Run the material in the processor for 2-3 minutes. This will ensure combining of the ingredients into dough.
  9. Take out the dough from the grinder.
  10. Preheat oven at 180 degrees for 6 minutes.
  11. If the dough feels little dry, you may add 1 tsp of milk to combine everything well.
  12. Make small balls and press with palms.
  13. Give desired shapes.
  14. Bake for 16 minutes at 180 degrees.
  15. Cool on a cooling rack and enjoy with a hot cup of tea.

For more oats cookies recipes, click here.

Sesame Seeds for Joint Pain

A few days ago, my dear friend Nautre Kahlon posted a traditional Punjabi recipe on Facebook group Healthy Recipes by Homemakers. This sweet delicacy called Kullar, a true delight for many in Punjab and north India, made from sesame seeds (Til in North India) and jaggery (Gur) has been used by our grandparents to stay warm and get rid of debilitating joint pain during the cold winter days.


This lip-smacking medicinal delicacy inspired me to explore its scientific basis. To my surprise, I discovered research papers that attested to its medicinal qualities. According to a recent report in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, sesame seeds are superior to most-used medicines as far as knee arthritis treatment is considered.

Based on a report compiled by Azerbaijan’s Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, the study found that sesame seeds offer better and more effective results compared to common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) when prescribed to patients suffering from knee arthritis traced to degenerative tissues.

The Centers for Disease Control website warns that in the United States alone 12 percent of people aged over 60 are victims of degenerative knee osteoarthritis. With age, the cartilage, a rubber-like soft tissue responsible for smooth bone movement of bone surfaces, develop spurs or become thin. This results in friction between bones in knee and other joints and patients experience pain, swelling, and loss of motion. Symptoms become worse with time.

Doctors prescribe Tylenol, ibuprofen, and similar NSAIDs that help control pain, but without impact on the progression of arthritis. Tylenol is known to cause liver failure and a host of other serious side effects. Other NSAIDs are also not without any adverse effect.

The researchers found that sesame seeds offer better results in the long-term, prevent the progression of diseases, that too, without causing any side effects. In a study, fifty patients were divided into two groups of 25 each. One group was prescribed a combine Tylenol- glucosamine therapy, two Tylenol Tylenol 500 mg twice daily and one glucosamine 500 mg daily. The second group is treated with sesame seed powder, with each patient taking 40 grams daily.

Extended over a period of 60 days, the study indicated that the pain intensity of sesame-treated patients dropped from 9.5 to 3.5 while Tylenol- glucosamine therapy could only reduce the pain intensity from 9.5 to 7.

A similar Taiwanese study published in 2013 concluded that sesame seed and oil had potent therapeutic effect to cure arthritis. It reduced acute inflammatory response significantly in rats during a clinical experiment.

Sesame is a wonder drug in your kitchen. It is one of the culinary world's magic seeds that are resistant to rancidity. However, when the seeds are hulled, they become prone to rancidity. It’ best to refrigerate them in air tight containers.

Varieties
Sesame is available in three varieties, black, white, and red. Black sesame is considered the best followed by red. White sesame lacks nutritional values of its two siblings.

Ayurveda describes sesame benefits for a number of disorders. Its hot properties help beat the blues of winter, prevent cold, and cure the frequent urge to urinate during winter days. Regular consumption helps overcome physical weakness and strengthen the immune system.

Sesame seeds are also useful to tackle toothache, pyorrhea, and other painful dental problems. Consumption of sesame regularly ensures no abdominal cramps, excessive bleeding, or uterine pain during menstruation.

Its effectiveness in joint pain relief & rheumatoid arthritis is attributed to its copper & calcium content. According to whfoods, " copper plays an important role in the activity of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme needed for the cross-linking of collagen and elastin—the ground substances that provide structure, strength and elasticity in blood vessels, bones and joints."
Sesame is also rich in copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and dietary fiber. People with allergic reactions to nuts may develop food allergy to sesame.

Sesame Recipes
Sesame Tea
 Grind 1 tbsp of sesame and boil it in 1 cup of water for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Your sesame tea is ready.

Sesame Jaggery powder (khullar)
1 cup of sesame seeds
¼ cup- jaggery

Dry roast sesame seeds or you may use them without roasting. Grind jaggery and sesame seeds into powder. Mix both and enjoy 1-2 tbsp of this healthy powder regularly for joint pain relief.

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