Indian Thali

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  • 26

    Nov

Panchmel Dal:

  • Mixed Dal
    : 1/2 cup
  • water
    : 2 cups
  • Turmeric powder
    : 3/4 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida
    : 1/2 teaspoon

Panchmel Dal Tempering:

  • Cumin seeds
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Cloves
    : 5
  • Bay leaves
    : 2-3
  • Red Chillies
    : 5-6
  • Asafoetida/hing
    : 3/4 teaspoon
  • Ajwain
    : 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ginger Green Chillies paste/crushed
    : 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic cloves sliced (optional)
    : 3
  • Onion chopped (optional)
    : 1
  • Tomato chopped
    : 1
  • Coriander powder
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Chilli powder
    : 1 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder
    : 3/4th teaspoon

Paneer Jalfrezi:

  • Paneer
    : 200 gms
  • Cumin seeds
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Onions diced and separated
    : 2 medium
  • Ginger julienned
    : 4” piece
  • Capsicum julienned
    : 1
  • Tomatoes, deseeded and julienned
    : 2
  • Chilli powder
    : 3 teaspoons
  • Turmeric powder
    : 3/4 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper powder
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Vinegar
    : 1 tablespoon
  • Salt
    : to taste

Aloo Malwani:

  • Potatoes
    : 4
  • Cumin seeds
    : 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Black Cumin
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Ajwain
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chillies
    : 5-6
  • crushed Pepper
    : 1 tablespoon
  • Malvani Masala powder
    : 3 teaspoons

Begun Bhaja ( Fried Eggplants/aubergine)

  • Eggplant
    : 1 big
  • Chilli powder
    : 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder
    : 3/4 teaspoon
  • Rice powder
    : 1 tablespoon
  • Pepper powder
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Salt
    : to taste

Stir Fried Okra:

  • Okra
    : 1/2 kg
  • Onions sliced
    : 3 large
  • Green chillies slit
    : 5
  • Turmeric powder
    : 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves
    : 15-20

Green Peas & Mint Pulao:

  • Basmati Rice (measured it in condensed milk tin)
    : 1 cup
  • green Peas
    : 1 cup
  • Mint chopped
    : 1/2 cup
  • Cumin seeds
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Shah jeera
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Black Cardamoms
    : 2
  • Green Cardamoms
    : 4
  • cloves
    : 5
  • Cinnamon
    : 7 x 2”
  • Star anise
    : 1
  • Bay leaves
    : 2
  • Garlic
    : 5
  • Green Chillies
    : 5

Spinach & Coriander Poori

  • Whole Wheat Flour
    : 1 cup
  • all purpose flour
    : 1 cup
  • Spinach Coriander puree
    : 1/2 cup
  • Yoghurt
    : 3 tablespoon
  • Oil
    : 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar
    : 1 tablespoon
  • Ajwain powder
    : 3/4 teaspoon
  • Soda-bi-Carb
    : 2 Pinches
  • Salt
    : to taste

Caramel Sago Kheer:

  • Sago
    : 1 1/4 cup
  • Milk
    : 2 1/2 Ltrs
  • Caramel Sago
    : 2 cup
  • Brown sugar
    : 1/3 cup
  • Condensed Milk
    : 1/2 tin
  • Evaporated Milk
    : 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom powdered
    : 1 teaspoon
  • Vanilla
    : 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Rose water
    : 2 teaspoons

PREPARATION

Folks folks !!!!!!!

Yaay !!!!! I’m almost there, catching up with the delay of updating my website. Hectic months of July, August and September brought in a lot of chaos and difficulties in my life, the people around me and my state. As a mark of appreciation, I had been away from social media which made all these delay. Back to my den, back to my routine and more over back to my passion. In between , though my videos were delayed, I was marking my presence once in a while. since I’m back with full vigor and vitality, you will be seeing more interesting culinary journal updates which are not restricted to my nativity but from all over the world.

This recipe is a bit long one. Hence I’m not going to blabber much of my thoughts here as there is a long descriptions to be put up. Indian meals are always a treat to eyes, a cook’s passion and a foodie’s delight. Every meal is carefully chosen with a tad variety of carbs, calcium, proteins and other nutrients :)), in the sense its always on a bit extra side, hehehehe…Breakfast and lunch is a grand affair. Of course, people have become much health conscious now and have started implementing new healthy ways to their food habits. As I have stated several times earlier, my belief and experience is that we can indulge in any fancy, but maintain a balance and rhythm in a normal way.

I prepare every type of food at home, the normal one’s. My family is not very keen on the healthy types of food, i.e; all these healthy, gluten free kind of flours and seeds. Instead I go for unrefined versions and the normal ones. But we exercise regularly and cut on our intakes and balance by minimal food when extra celebration or indulegence is done. So what I meant to say is that of course you can have what you want and enjoy all celebrations but don’t forget to make up for it. One such indulgence is this Indian thali. This is a meal with variety of veggies consisting of plenty nutrients. It is a very filling thai and you can skip dinner if you decide to make and enjoy this full meal.

Panchmel Dal:

I have chosen different dishes from different part of India which have made it’s own mark in the culinary map. Panchmel dal, is a signature dish from Rajasthan, which includes different varieties of lentil. Panchmel means five and it is basically made with 5 types of lentils and pulses. Split Bengal gram (Chana dal), Split Black gram (Urad dal / kaali dal), Split Green gram (Moong dal), Split Red gram ( Tuvar dal / Arhar dal), Split Red Lentil (masoor dal), whole Urad dal. Now a days, you get ready made mix of dals for this dish. If not you can take 2 tablespoons of each or equal amount of all lentils. Soak this for minimum 2- 3 hours as the split black gram dal and mung dal takes time to soften.

Once the soaking is done, everything gets easier. Cook the dal separately and while the dal is cooking, prepare the masala for it. I’ve added garlic and onion for this dal/lentil preparation. This is completely optional. People who dont consume garlic and onion can choose to skip that step and move on with the rest of the cooking part with all other ingredients. I add garlic in almost all the dishes taking into account the health factors. It also add on to the flavors. With some whole spices and asafoetida/hing, this becomes healthy and yummy too.

Method and Preparation:

Step 1

Wash and soak the dal in water for 2-3 hours. Transfer the dal to a pressure cooker and cook for 4 whistles adding
2 cups water,3/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder,1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida.

Tempering:

Step 2

Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the cumin and allow it crackle. Add the bayleaves, cloves, allow it to be aromatic. Then add the red chillies followed by hing and ajwain. Saute till all these crackle and release aroma.

Step 3
Add the ginger green chilli paste and saute till fragrant, followed by garlic and onion if you are using them. Let the onion becomes soft and garlic aromatic. Now add the powders and cook till the raw flavors are well gone.

Step 4
Add the tomatoes and cook till pulpy. Now add the cooked and mashed dal and combine till well blended. Adjust salt at this stage and let it cook for 5 minutes until the flavors are infused. Keep warm till you use it.

Paneer Jalfrezi:

Paneer Jalfrezi, a dish originally from the Indian subcontinent, has attained an hallmark in world cuisine. A recent survey showed that Jalfrezi topped the list amongst Indian and Nepalese restaurants in UK. North Eastern part of India is where the dish is widely known, though every part has taken over it. This dish was a by product of left over vegetables and condiments, says the history. The word jalfrezi was derived from the Bengali word “ Jhalpharezi”. jhal in Bengali means spicy.

Step 1
A combination of simple regular spices go into the making of this dish. Chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and pepper powder along with some whole cumins and ginger juliennes. Green bell pepper and tomatoes imparts that distinct flavor. Hero of the dish is paneer, which is coated with the spices along with a tad of vinegar. A simple dish which can change the face of a party meal by giving a wholesome finish to the dish.

Step 2
Heat a pan with oil. Add cumin and let it splutter. Add the ginger followed by the onions. Cook till crisp and pink. Add the powders and cook till aromatic and roasted. Add the capsicum and cook for further 2 minutes.

Step 3
Now add the paneer and vinegar and coat the paneer with the spices and let it get combined with capsicum too. Cook for 5 minutes until the all the flavors are infused into the paneer and capsicum. Finally add the tomatoes and just allow it cook through. It should be firm yet soft and cooked. Garnish with ginger juliennes and fresh coriander and serve hot.

Aloo Malwani:

Potatoes are an important part of any meal in India, especially the thali. One can find umpteen varieities of potato preparations in India. This potato preparation is my invention. This became possible because of my Sister-in-law who resides in Mumbai. As I’m a food blogger, my sil’s, friends and family often gift me with things which are related to blogging. So my eldest sister-in-law brought this Malwani masala powder for me when she came down from Mumbai and since then this has been a time and situation saver for me.

Malvani masala is a spice mix found in the Malvan region of Maharastra which resembles a lot with Goan cuisine. Pre-dominantly non vegetarian dishes are prepared here. This spice mix can be used for fish, poultry, meat as well as veggies and eggs. Several spice mix goes into the making of this. Unlike garam masala and spice mix powders of each region, this has a whole lot spices going into the making of this spice powder. 2 types of cardamoms, cinnamon, 3 different types of chillies, cumin, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, mace, star anise amd much more. I will be sharing with you all soon the preparation of this spice mix.

Since I wanted to do a dish each of different states, this Malvani spice powder in hand, things became easier for me. Aloo Malvani is a simple dish made by tempering some whole spices followed by the spice mix. Cooked, peeled and cubed potatoes are added to the roasted spices and spice mix powder. Coating and infusing of this prepared spice mix well into the potatoes and finally flavoring it with some ghee rounds up this dish to one of the tastiest dishes of all times. This goes well with chapathis and pooris and is a favorite of our home when pooris are made.

Method and Preparation:

Step 1

Wash and boil the potatoes till cooked but firm. Peel and dice into large cubes. Set aside.

Step 2
Heat a pan with oil. Add the cumin seeds and allow it to crackle, followed by black cumin, ajwain, chillies and pepper. Saute for a minute until all the spices start emitting its flavor and aroma. Then add the Malvani masala and saute for a minute until it is well roasted.

Step 3
Add the potatoes and mix up thoroughly till all the spices are well coated onto the potatoes. Reduce the flame and keep cooking for 5 minutes until you feel all the flavors have been infused into the potatoes. Finally add a dash of ghee and combine. Serve hot.

Begun Bhaja ( Fried Eggplants/aubergine)

Begun Bhaja, the irrestible Bengali egg plant fry is such a simple and easy dish which can be done in minutes. Perfectly paired with rice and dal, this goes well with Pulao too. Bengalis and Keralites shares similar dishes though varies in the spices used. Fish is a staple in both the places, but differs in preparations. Eggplant fry is a favorite dish of my father and me. There is a slight difference in what we make. We avoid the rice flour and add rest of the ingredients. The difference is that, rice flour make this one crispy and crunchy to an extent.

Egg plant is very soft and pulpy in nature, hence its always better to prepare them when your ready to have lunch. Since this is a dry marinade , don’t rest it for long time as the crunch factor will get soggy due to the water content in eggplant. Right amount of chilly, turmeric and pepper powder will give you the perfect taste for this. A simple heart warming dish for any day.

Method and Preparation:

Step 1

Wash and pat dry the eggplant. Cut into 2 cm thick roundels. Mix all the spices in a mixing bowl adding required amount of salt. Coat the eggplants well in the dry marinade and rest for 15 minutes.

Step 2
Shallow fry till crisp and golden. you can make this when its serving time as this will get soggy if we fry it and keep.

Stir Fried Okra:

Okra stir fry is also a simple preparation made in both the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamilnadu. Okra/ladies finger is one of the healthiest veggies of all time. This is an extremely simple dish with three ingredients other than the main ingredient. Onions, chillies and curry leaves. I add in a pinch of turmeric for healthy and safety reasons. simple, pure joy of cooking in virgin coconut oil in the right texture is this dish all about.

Only point to note is that if you wash the okra in advance and let it dry, you will get the right texture. If not, water and the gum of the okra can mess up this dish. To remove the gum, I’m sauteing the okra in coconut oil without stirring it much. Once the gum has been thoroughly been extracted, you can add the onions, chillies and curry leaves. The sweetness from onions, heat from chillies and flavor from curry leaves when blended with the okra, makes this a beautiful dish. Try to maintain the color as possible.

Method and Preparation:

Step 1

Wash and dry the Okra. Slit into 1/2 inch thickness.

Step 2

Heat a pan with coconut oil and add the okra. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Once the steam starts coming out of the okra, you can give a quick stir. Cook till all the gooeness is gone from it. Add the onions, turmeric, chillies and curry leaves and once again a quick mix.

Step 3
Keep stirring once in a while till it is cooked but firm. Add a splash of coconut oil once or twice between the cooking process.Switch off the flame and transfer immediately to serving bowl, lest it looses its color.

Green Peas & Mint Pulao:

Peas & Mint Pulao is my choice of rice dish for this thali. Pulao or Pilaf is a rice preparation with whole spices with veggies or meat or seafood bunged in. Stock is a must for the preparation of this rice dish. But this one’s a simple dish without much effort and pain and purely heavenly. High quality aromatic Basmati rice is the need of the hour. I cook the rice in advance and refrigerate it. This will help in getting the perfect crispy long grains of rice. You can also cook this a bit early and spread it out on a large plate by smearing some oil to the rice grains as this will give individual grains without sticking to each other. By spreading it out, rice will cool down fast too.

An array of whole aromatic spices is what gives this pulao the distinct flavor. Bay leaves, 2 types of cardamoms. cloves, star anise, cinnamon, cumin, caraway, all bring in that royal grandeur to this dish. Green peas and mint add on to this. The twist of this dish is the combination of green chillies and garlic. During the final process, adding of crushed garlic and green chillies sauteed in butter, gives that punch to this dish, wafting a real pulaoy, Nawabi aroma to this rice. Widely popular in Northern part of India, this is prepared for special occasions, festivals and weddings.

Method and Preparation:

Step 1

Cook the rice adding salt and oil. Drain and spread to cool down. Rice should not be over cooked.

Step 2
Heat a pan with oil and add cumin, followed by bay leaves, star anise, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, shah jeera. Allow all the spices to get infused into the oil. Now add the rice and mix up gently combining all the spices. Cook on low heat sticking the lid on.

Step 3
Heat a frying pan and add a dab of butter. Add the green peas and saute till green. i used frozen peas. If using fresh or dried ones, cook first and then saute. Add the mint and give a quick stir. Take out from the stove and add to the rice and mix again gently. Put back the lid on.

Step 4
Now to the same pan, add butter again and add the garlic and chillies crushed together. Saute till aromatic and add to the rice. Give a final mix and immediately put back the lid. Keep on very low flame and allow the garlic chillies concoction to infuse into the rice. Switch off the flame after 5 minutes and open the lid at the time of serving.

Spinach & Coriander Pooris

Flat or fried breads are an integral part of any Thali. Roti, phulka, pooris, naan, chapathis, parathas, you cn go on naming one after the other. During special occassions, pooris are the most preferred. You can find an assortment of pooris like flavored, stuffed, sweet and with addition of vegetables, lentils and the like. Though whole wheat flour is time-honoured for this fried bread, you can find a medley of different healthy flours used for making this puffed up Indian bread. Salt, sugar, water, oil are the other habitual ingredients used in this recipe.

Since its a special occasion thali, I thought of making it a bit more special by adding spinach and fresh coriander to give a lift to this puri recipe. Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds and drain it. Keep under cold running water and drain again. Grind it with a small quantity of water and coriander leaves. This will give the green color for the pooris which are healthy too. I’m adding some carom seeds/ajwain powder which helps in digestion and to reduce the ill effects of frying. Yogurt adds in more softness, sugar crispiness thus making it a sought after bread.

Method and Preparation:

Step 1

In a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Now add the spinach puree and start kneading the dough. Add the yoghurt in batches and once the dough come together, add the oil and knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until you get a soft smooth pliable dough. Rest for half an hour so that gluten is released.

Step 2
Heat a wok with plenty of oil. After half an hour, knead the dough once again and roll into lime sized balls. Sprinkle some flour on to the rolling board and roll out into 1/4 inch thickness 5” circumference. Deep fry in hot oil without loosing the green color. Serve hot.

Caramel Sago Kheer:

Caramel Sago Kheer:

Sago or tapioca pearls are extensively used in Indian cooking. Habitually used in sweet/dessert preparations, in India you can find main dishes, starters and even curries with this. Sago kheer is the show stopper of this category. With a twist, I have made this beautiful kheer into a fusion dish with a melange of caramel and vanilla. Cooking of sago to perfection with reduced amount of starch is the foremost thing when cooking this pudding. I cook the sago in plenty of water, keeps adding boiling water while it is being cooked. Once cooked, drain it and add mor of cold water until you get a crystal clear sago pearls which are runny and smooth.

Milk reduced in a minor way, sago engulfed in caramel sauce, condensed milk, brown sugar, evaporated milk all gets blended turning the base milk into a luscious pudding liquid. Cardamom, vanilla, rose, all sum up this dessert into a truly fusion dessert. You can top up this pudding with sliced nuts, dried berries or fruits for that extra glamour. The true fusion is the blending of caramel with rose, vanilla and cardamom where you can get that nutty flavor and soothing effect of the aromatics.

Method and Preparation:

Step 1

Cook the sago in plenty of water. Drain and add cold water and drain again. Keep till all the water is dripped off. You can keep mixing so that it does not become a sticky lump.

Step 2

Boil the milk till 1/4th is reduced by adding cardamom powder. Meantime, heat the caramel sauce till it becomes liquidy, now add the sago and combine well. Cook for 2 minutes and then take off the stove.

Step 3

Add the sago to the reduced milk and mix homogeneously. Let it boil for 5minutes. Check the sugar and add the brown sugar, condensed milk and evaporated milk. Allow this to simmer for 10 minutes. Once its thick you can take off the stove and allow it to cool.

Step 4

Finally add the vanilla and rose water and mix up gently. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate till chilled. Garnish with nuts and dried fruits of your choice and serve.

Happy cooking!!!!!!

 

 

Summary
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Indian Thali
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