Punjabi Aloo Wadiyan

Wadiyan (also spelled Varian and Badiyan) are large balls of dried lentils, peculiar to the cuisine of the Punjab. They are sun dried spicy urad dal balls that serve to spice a dish and also to thicken the gravy. They are very spicy and each bite sends a burst of flavour to your tastebuds. They are also quite meaty in texture, and thus a good option for your non-vegetarian friends.

This dish cooks the wadi and potatoes in a tomato-onion-spiced gravy for a relative quick, definitely easy meal. Wadi go very well with potatoes, but can be cooked with other vegetables too. Today I have used a mixture of potatoes and sweet potatoes, or you can use butternut and potatoes. These mixtures are not really traditional, but work very well in the modern kitchen.

Because the wadi are extra spicy, not a lot of other spice is needed in the dish.

Similar dishes include Punjabi Wadi (Badi) and Vegetables, Aloo Baingan Wadiyan, and Mung Wadi.

Browse all of our Punjabi dishes, and all of our Potato recipes. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Punjabi Wadi (Badi) and Vegetables

Punjabi Wadi are urad dal-based dried balls of spicy deliciousness. Black pepper, powdered dried red chillies and spices are mixed with a paste of urad dal and then dried in hollow cakes about 5cm diameter. They are often spicy as! To use them, break into pea sized pieces, shallow fry or saute, and add to rice or vegetable dishes, dals and soups for flavour, texture and aroma. Cook until soft.

When using any type of wadi/badi, make sure that you check its spice level before adding addition chillies and chilli-based spice mixes to the dish. Urad Wadi are notoriously spicy, so add the other hot spices with caution. Sometimes 1 Wadi is enough to season a dish for 4 – 6 people.

This recipe is an easy mixed vegetable dish, aromatic and flavoursome. The wadi can be bought in any Indian grocery.

Similar recipes include Aloo Wadiyan, Aloo Baingan Wadi Ki Subzi | Potato and Eggplant Curry with Punjabi Wadi.

Browse all of our Wadi dishes and our Punjabi recipes.
All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here.

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Buttery Dal, with Urad and Tomatoes

While lentils are a beloved pantry essential around the world, they are cooked with unmatched culinary skill in India. Dal is a staple dish in most Indian homes, one that cuts across all social and economic groupings. In Northern India, there is a deep love for urad lentils, those hard back bullets that are white when skinned. Recipes vary from deeply spiced and complex, like Dal Makhani, to gentle, subtle and glorious, like Urad Tamatar, and Amristari Dal.

What all (or most) of them have in common is an enrichment with butter and/or cream. Urad lentils are particularly comfortable with surprising amounts of this dairy fat, so there is a need to get over any qualms – just dive in and add. After all, you are not eating it every day, right? This is a restaurant style dish (ie lots of butter and cream), but if you do want to minimise the quantities, you can get by with adding about 1/2 or 1/3 of the amount. In homes similar dishes are made for breakfast, particularly in the countryside and probably with smaller amounts of butter and cream.

The recipe is one of the gentle, subtle, earthy urad dishes. You will adore it. I have added a chilli-cumin finishing oil which is gorgeous, but optional.

Similar recipes include Amristari Dal, Dal Makhani Nilgiri, and Urad Dal with Onions.

Browse all of our Urad recipes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Aloo Mattar | Potato and Peas

This beautiful and classic Indian dish is sauce-rich. The peas and potatoes sit in a luxurious gravy of pureed onions and tomatoes with chilli and spices. They are simmered together to produced this much loved dish from North India (especially in the Punjab and in Gujarat). Its popularity has spread and it is even adored in South India.

Each person will have their own particular version of this recipe. Some will add cream to the final dish. Some versions have no onions, some include garlic, and some recipes make a dry curry.  Still others will add fenugreek leaves, black mustard seeds and/or Garam Masala.

Our recipe is relatively simple but definitely full of flavour – our favourite type of dish.

Similar recipes include Aloo Wadiyan, Aloo Gobi, Sesame Potatoes, Milkman Potatoes, and Aloo Bhindi.

Browse all of our Potato Curries. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Punjabi Turnip Curry | Punjabi Shalgum Masala

Turnips were our featured vegetable last Winter and into Spring. We had not used them a great deal in the past, so wanted to explore their use. We added several new dishes, and especially several new turnip dishes from India.

This is a Punjabi turnip dish, easy to make, with an onion-tomato sauce. It takes no effort at all apart from some peeling, slicing and dicing. A perfect dish for an afternoon snack or a quick meal with some chapatis.

Similar dishes include Turnips and Onions, Turnips with Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, and Kashmiri Turnips in Yoghurt.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes and all of our Kashmir dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Chana Masala | Channa Masala

My notes on the recipe for this dish say beautiful, hot, deep complex layers of flavour. We’ve been making this for many years, so I am not sure how we missed posting the recipe for you.

Chana Masala is a spicy Punjabi dish where chickpeas are simmered in a sauce made with tomatoes and 11 spices that are perfectly balanced to provide an experience of each spice, should you care to be aware of them.

Is it chana or channa? Transliteration of any other script is always contentious around spelling and pronunciation, let alone in India where different languages and scripts abound. For decades I have called it channa but the consensus online now seems to be chana. Here, on my blog, you will see both. Chana from now on, but older recipes will be channa.

BTW, anardana seeds are dried, sour pomegranate seeds, available from your North Indian grocery.

Similar recipes include Channa Dal with Greens, Turmeric Chickpeas, Tray Baked Spicy Turmeric Chickpeas, Turkish Soup with Chickpeas, Roasted Eggplant with Crushed Chickpeas, and Chickpea Fingers with Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Punjabi dishes and all of our Chickpea recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Dal Bukhara | Creamy Black Gram Dal

They say that Dal Bukhara was made famous by the Bukhara Restaurant ITC Maurya Hotel in New Delhi, but it is definitely a Punjabi style dish. Trying to find the origins of the dish is difficult, with some claiming it was created by the restaurant, some saying it comes from Bukhara in Uzbekistan, and others claiming it is a Punjabi dish from the 1700’s. This article has some interesting insights into the origin of both Dal Makhani and Dal Bukhara. Whatever the origin, the chef at Bukhara most likely adapted an existing recipe to suit the sophistication of the restaurant.

Dal Bukhara is often compared to Dal Makhani, although the dishes are distinctly different with different spicing. It is made with whole urad that is black in colour because it is unhulled. Slow cooked, it makes a deliciously creamy dal, and in this recipe its flavour is heightened with tomatoes, ginger and garlic as well as other spices.

In my recipe I use a slow cooker to cook the lentils, and the deep taste and creamy texture are accentuated this way. In this way the dish does not rely on cream and butter for its texture. However they can be added – see the notes below the recipe for this variation. The lentils can also be cooked on the stove top – cook them until soft and then continue with the recipe.

Similar recipes include Whole Urad and Rajma Dal, Amritsari Dal, and Ma di Dal.

Browse our Urad recipes and our different Dals. Our Punjabi dishes are here, Indian recipes here and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Sarson ka Saag | Puree of Greens

When there is an abundance of greens available, what is better to make than Sarson ka Saag. Our green grocer stocks mustard greens now, so for the first time they are easy to obtain. We don’t get bathua greens though. It is traditional to use these but we have to substitute with other greens.

This is a rustic Punjabi dish, common in the Winter when the fields are filled with mustard. It is so loved it can bring tears to the eyes. The dish is easy to make – the greens are cooked with spices until tender, then coarsely pureed. Some people prefer to be pureed to a smooth paste, but traditionally the greens would be hand-ground with a wooden mixer called a mathani to get a puree. However, you can make this to whatever is your preference.

Similar dishes include Chilli Leaf Sambar, Khar, Sri Lankan Mustard Greens, Mustard Greens with Daikon, and Turnips with Mustard Leaves.

Browse all of our Mustard Greens recipes, our Chilli Greens recipes and all of our Spinach dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe

While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.

Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?

I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.

By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.

Similar recipes include Aloo Hing Jeera (Potatoes with Cumin), Sesame Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Potato Subzi.

You might also like to browse all of our Potato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes too.

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Aam Ka Panna | Green Mango Drink

India knows how to deal with heat. They have it nailed. Their heat-beating weaponry includes: An infinite number of cooling drinks. Yoghurt dishes galore. Icecreams and cooling desserts. Fruits such as watermelon, musk melon, cucumbers, mangoes, coconuts, limes, fresh kokum. Sugar Cane Juice. Limca. Sweet Lime Soda. Coconut Water.

I saw a recipe for a Punjabi drink made from a roasted green mango and I was hooked. It is Mango Season here and we have an array of different types of sweet, sour, and sweet-sour mangoes. They are all easy to find in our Asian and S.E. Asian shops. This drink is slightly sour and slightly sweet, with a hint of cardamom (or cumin), Indian black salt (which is pink in colour) and black pepper. We make it from roasted green mango, but it can be made from boiled or steamed green mango. The taste is different, though. Roasting gives the drink a slightly smoky flavour.

You can get black salt from any Indian grocery. There isn’t any real substitute, but use sea salt or chaat masala if you can’t find black salt. Adjust the quantities accordingly.

Similar recipes include Tamarind Summer Cooler, Watermelon, Lime, Ginger Soda, Kewra Sherbet, Panaka, Lassi drinks, and Cooling Juices.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

Use any left over roasted mango (or roast 2 of them) to make Mango Rice.

Browse all of our Green Mango dishes, and all of our Drinks. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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