Kashmiri Phool Yakhni – Cauliflower in Yogurt sauce

Kashmiri Phool Yakhni is a vegetarian version of the sublime yogurt based Yakhni that is traditionally mutton based in Kashmir. Cauliflower is the shining star in this recipe

The Cauliflower florets are par-boiled in turmeric, fried and then simmered in yogurt infused with spices like cardamom, fennel, ginger and cinnamon. These are the quintessential spices used in Kashmiri cuisine which date back to centuries.

Modern Kashmiri cuisine  tracks its history to 15th century when Timur ( a Turco-Mongol conqueror)  invaded India which led to the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.

Ok so here is the diversion from the traditional in my American kitchen….This is my recipe and I have used a coconut based yogurt to experiment with a vegan version. It was beyond my expectations, and dancing taste buds kind of delicious. I used the So  Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt. Please free to use your choice of unsweetened yogurt.

Continuing to break the tradition, I decided not to fry the cauliflower after boiling but it can be done just to get a crisp browning. Not necessary in my opinion.

This recipe also uses lots of turmeric simply because I love it! 

Before the recipe begins, I am leaving you with verse of Habba Khatoon and 16th century Kashmiri poetess and peasant queen. These verses remind me of the beauty and uniqueness of Kashmir that translates to its cuisine.

The distant meadows are in bloom.

Have you not heard my call?

Flowers bloom on mountain lakes

Come, let us ascend these meadows now

The lilac blooms in distant woods

Have you not heard my call?

Phool Yakhni - Cauliflower in Yogurt sauce

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

"Phool Yakhni - Cauliflower in Yogurt sauce"


Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

• Cauliflower – 1 broken into large florets

• Onion – 1 medium

• Ginger powder – 1 tsp

• Turmeric Powder – 2 tsp

• Fennel powder – 1.5 tsp

• Garlic – 1 tbsp minced

• Green cardamom – 5

• Black Cardamom – 2

• Cinnamon sticks – about 3 -4 inches

• Crushed Dry mint – 1 tbsp

• Rice flour – 1 tbsp

• Salt to taste

• Mustard or oil of choice ( 2 tbsp and additional for frying the onions)

• Organic Yoghurt ( Regular or plant based) 3 cups or 1 24 oz container


Directions

• Add 1 tsp of turmeric to boiling water. Add a sprinkle or salt and boil the florets for about 2-2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

• Chop and fry onions until golden brown. Remove onions from oil, crush in a mortar pestle and set aside

• Heat the leftover oil from the onions and add more if needed in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the yogurt and start whipping. You have to continue whipping the yogurt until it is boiling. Your hand cannot leave the stirring/whipping or the yogurt will curdle. This is a critical step in making a smooth sauce. It will take about 10 minutes.

• Add the rest of the spice ingredients ( except for mint and onions)

• Keep the stirring going for 5 mins or so.

• Add the cauliflower. If the suace is thick, add some water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered until the cauliflower is tender.

• Add the Fried onions and Mint for a beautiful flavor.

• Serve with white or brown rice or bread.


Carrots, Peas with Dill – Lucknow inspired

Here is another food story inspired my the memories of many winters in spent in Lucknow, India in my grandfather’s house and the houses of my uncles and aunts throughout the state of UP.

Somehow the archives of food snapshots in your mind brings a nostalgia filled smile and some strangeness. The simplicity of meals prepared in my grandparents house still seems so pure to me. There was a large family to feed so little ingredients went a long way. The laughter and the joy of togetherness at the lunch table in Hussaingunj with a simple meal of Dal and Vegetables is instilled in my memory to this day. There was always the abundance of “romali” (paper thin) roti that our “bua” ( god bless her) cooked in bulk over on a sawdust stove in a dark kitchen.

Bringing one of those vegetables to life in this blog is homage to the lady who cooked our meals,  “bua” and my grandparents who also inspired us to be creative, smart, simple and good humans.

The house was defining and built character in every child, teenager and adult that spent time within its walls. The picture is recent but a fossil of an amazing before. 

The house of memories – Lucknow, India

It is an honor to be to hosting the Fiesta Friday this week where I can showcase the beautiful memories of food. Looking forward to the dishes that you all will bring to the party so please join us!!

Gajar Matar with Dill

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Vegetables with Dill - Lucknow Inspired


Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • Mustard Oil ( or any preferred oil) – 2 tbsp
  • Carrots – 2 cups chopped small
  • Potato – 1 cup chopped fine
  • Dill – 1 1/2 cup Fresh chopped fine
  • Green peas – 1 cup frozen
  • Cumin seeds – 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Chili Powder  – 1tsp ( or manage the heat to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt to taste


Directions

  • Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. If using mustard oil, it need to be smoking before you add the next ingredients
  • Add the cumin and mustard seeds and let them pop of a few seconds.
  • Add the carrots and potatoes and sauté for about 5 mins
  • Add the spices and cover an cook until the carrots and potatoes are almost done ( probably 15 mins)
  • Taste and adjust the salt if needed
  • Add peas and then add dill leaves.
  • Mix well and cook covered for another 5 mins until all the vegetables are tender.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice and serve with fresh rotis or rice. I have served with rice and beans with a side of pickle

the door to childhood….
Carrots and Peas with dill and spices

Station Wale Aloo – Simple Potato curry

What is that title you may say 🙂

Let me explain by a trip down memory lane…Throughout childhood,  my family embarked on the winter trip from the icy cold winter in Srinagar, Kashmir to the weirdly uncomfortable winter in Lucknow, UP to bask in the sunshine of my grandparents.

Once winter descended in Kashmir and school wrapped up for winter vacation, it became bitterly cold, electricity was a novelty for the most part and activity was limited to playing in the snow or running around the house making up games. We would then prepare to make the trek to spend the winter with our grandparents and extended family in Lucknow.

Lucknow houses were big and open which reluctantly welcomed a moderate winter but full of warmth and laughter from the cousins, uncles and aunts that waited anxiously for our arrival each year.

My siblings and I absolutely loved the adventurous trip… so I am getting to my story that ties to the recipe….The yearly adventure first involved getting to the city of Jammu from Srinagar which could be a long bus or car ride ( airplane in later years). Then the famous “express” train which would take 2 days from Jammu to Lucknow. A day in life in trains in India  was sweet, surreal, seductive, scary, inspiring, dismal, reflective and never ending all at the same time.  To this date if I close my eyes, I can feel the wind (and the dust) through the grilled train windows.

The train ceremoniously stopped at numerous railway stations during this journey at strange hours of the night and day and I would eagerly await the one that called out the potato curry and puris (fried bread).

That gets me to the point of Station Wale Aloo. The simple potato curry being served for a couple of pennies through the grilled train windows at indistinct stations is a memory that is deep rooted.

Food memories reside deep within your soul and can be recreated through flashbacks and visuals and the sense of smell and taste through time and experiences. I have not been on a train in India for about 25 years  but this is my version in my American kitchen weaved together from magical childhood memories

It is essentially potatoes in curry with no onions or garlic. You can omit the oil as well if you like.

A simple vegan dish that will nourish your soul.

Station Wale Aloo

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

 

  • 4 -5 Boiled potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes – pureed or 1/2 canned tomato pureed
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tsp methi ( Fenugreek) seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 5-10 curry leaves ( optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Hing ( Asafetida)
  • Oil if using ( 1 tbsp)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Directions

 

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. You can remove the skin if thick or leave it on depending on the potato. . I use my hands to break the potatoes into chunks ( 1 inch or so) and set aside. You can chop if you like.
  2. Soak the methi ( Fenugreek) seeds in warm water for about 20 mins and grind.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. If not using oil you can add the spices directly to the pan and monitor that they do not burn.
  4. Add cumin, Hing, curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for a minute
  5. Add the ground methi seeds and fry for a few second and then the pureed tomatoes and ginger.
  6. Cook everything for 5 minutes and add the rest of the spices.
  7. Add vegetable broth and then the potatoes.
  8. Cook everything until it gets to a thick gravy consistency
  9. Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro.
  10. I have served with this with sprouted wheat and lentil roti…but the choice of puris(fried bread) or rice would be great too.

Turmeric Ginger tonic

I make this every week but have never really photographed it or posted the recipe until now, not sure why and this is totally something you want to share with everyone.

This is good for you…. for the gut and general healing. It is fermented and There is heat in the turmeric and ginger so adjust the quantity based on your own body type and digestive system

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is anti inflammatory. Ginger happens to be a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Lemon is naturally detoxifying boosts the immune system. Allof it together is one solid health shot!!!

I normally add water to a 1/4 cup of the fermented tonic and drink it every morning with a dash of lemon juice

Beautifully healing from all things evil and toxic for the body especially for the gut.

The fermentation process needs some sugar, I have used both honey and a vegan option of rice or coconut syrup. Please adjust to your liking.

The tamarind is key to bring on the tartness. Please do not omit ( I guess you could but it would not be the same).   Tamarind pods can be found in the local Asian stores.

So here is the recipe:

This recipe is not precise, please do adjust as you wish.

Ingredients:

  • 10 fresh turmeric pods
  • 1 pod of ginger ( about 4 inches)
  • 7 dry tamarind ponds
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoon coconut nectar or honey or rice syrup

Directions:

  • Remove the shell of the tamarind pods and bol them in water on low heat covering just barely. This takes about 10 mins. Cool and them use your hands to removes the shells and strings until everything is a pulp.
  • Chop the fresh turmeric and ginger and boil for 20 mins until golden brown. Cool to room temperature.
  • Blend the turmeric ginger in a high speed blender. Add tamarind, nectar and lemon juice until everything is smooth and combined. If it is thick you can add some water.
  • Pour into glass containers, cover with muslin and ferment in a dark dry place for 2 days.
  • Once fermented you can cover the bottles and move into the fridge.
  • You can strain into a glass, add some lemon juice and drink once a day!
turmeric ginger tonic with tamarind

Kashmiri Chutney – Dodh AL ( Bottle Gourd in Yoghurt)

Kashmiri culture and ways of preparing the food lends to its exquisite and unique taste. An art form which is then accented by how the food is served….in copper dishes, with flavorful white rice, rich yoghurt and tart chutneys.

In the series of Kashmiri chutneys, this one is a little unusual and delightful. Made with boiled bottle gourd (Lauki), yoghurt and a dash of honey, it brings a slight sweetness to the table of spicy food.

In my version I have omitted the honey and the raisins but do add them if you prefer the sweetness. I also made a vegan version by using coconut milk instead. Either way it will come out just superb.

These are images of Bottle Gourd growing and being sold in the floating vegetable gardens on the Dal Lake in Kashmir. A visit to the pre-dawn vegetable market on the lake is a memory that does not leave your soul.

Dodh Al - Bottle Gourd Chutney

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Kashmiri Chutney

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • One small bottle gourd, seeds removed and grated
  • About 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of full fat yoghurt ( plant based yoghurt is fine)
  • 1 tbsp organic honey (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black cumin
  • a few strands of saffron crushed
  • 1 tbsp of yellow raisins (optional)
  • chopped cilantro and mint leaves

Directions

  • Boil the gourd and garlic until tender about 5-7 mins. Drain the water and cool. ( you can save the water for soup or broth in other dishes)
  • Put it in a sieve or muslin, mashing the garlic cloves and squeezing the water out.
  • Put it in a sieve or muslin, mashing the garlic cloves and squeezing the water out.
  • Add this to the yoghurt and mix the other ingredients.

Serve as a side topped with black cumin and cilantro/mint leaves. This is also perfect as a dip with pita bread.


Vost Haakh t, Nadir ( Lotus stems with Amaranth leaves)

From the land of dreamers, poets, artists, emperors and saints comes a cuisine that inspires all your senses.

Modern Kashmiri cuisine  tracks its history to 15th century when Timur ( a Turco-Mongol conqueror)  invaded India which led to the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.

The descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. Thus came an elaborate feast preparation called Wazwaan. “Waan” refers to a “shop” in Kashmiri.

Nadru or Lotus stems/roots are a delicious curious vegetable very popular in Kashmir (India). They are often fried and served as a street snack food. For the dinner table, the 2 most popular recipes are Nadru Yakhni (yogurt sauce)  and Nadru Palak ( Spinach). This recipe is a variation of the latter but you can try our the delicious yogurt recipe in my earlier post or my step by step guide on wikihow

Processed with VSCO with al3 preset

Lotus Stem is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C.

In this recipe I have the closest I could find to Vost Haakh or Wousta Haakh (red kashmiri spinach). Our local international market carries an abundance on “Shen choy” and I have fallen in love with it. These are Amaranth leaves and need to be washed through and picked off the stems. They impart this beautiful red color to your broth.

The ingredients are simple and the recipe is simple. I always use a pressure cooker with root vegetables as it locks in the ingredients and saves time but you can use a heavy bottomed pan.

I have served it with onion relish

I have served it with white rice and red onion chutney with cilantro and mint ( will post the recipe).

Take the time to make this and you will love it.

Ingredients are as follows, please adjust to taste

  • 2-3 mid size lotus stems
  • I big bunch of Shen Choy ( red spinach)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder ( adjust to taste)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • Salt to taste

Heres how to cook it:

  • Pick the leaves of the spinach from the stems and wash thoroughly
  • Scrape of lightly peel the tope layer of the lotus stem.
  • Slice the Lotus Stems in 1/4 inch slices and wash thoroughly
  • Add 1 tsp of mustard oil to a pressure cooker and heat until smoking. Add the lotus stems with some salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Add 1 cup water and pressure cook for about 5-6 whistles. Remove from cooker ( liquid and all) and keep aside.
  • Using the same cooker,  add mustard oil  and heat until smoking
  • Add chopped shallots and the garlic
  • Fry of a minute and add the greens
  • Add salt and Fry the green until completely wilted
  • Add cardamoms, ginger powder, fennel powder cumin and cloves
  • Pressure cook for about 2 whistles
  • Remove the cooker cover and add the turmeric and chili powder and fry a little
  • Add the cooked lotus stems and about 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 10 mins.
  • This has a beautiful and unique flavor and is best served with rice.

Dal chilla – savory lentil crepes

Its hot and humid but soaking in the warmth while browsing cookbooks is how I tend to enjoy my weekend afternoon. I was looking a vegan lunch idea and stumbled upon so many wonderful “Chilla” recipes, These crepes called “Chilla” or “Cheela” are so simple, wholesome and savory that I couldn’t wait to experiment with a version of my own.

I have used 3 types of lentils here…Urad, Masoor and Chana and some rice flour. You could use soaked rice as well but I had the rice flour in my pantry so went with it.

The lentils have been washed and soaked for a few hours. They were then ground into a paste along with the rice flour and then I let the batter ferment overnight. I just put it in my cool  oven.  It was so cool to see it bubble and rising by the morning.

Once the batter is fermented, add the herbs and spices and use water to bring out the consistency of pancake batter.

Cooked on both sides to a warm golden brown and served simply with coconut yoghurt raita and pickles was just perfect.

The recipe measurements below are just setting some guardrails but  this is not an exact science. Feel free to experiment and taste along the way!

Chilla - Lentil Crepes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Wholesome Savory Treat

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Urad Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup Masoor Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup Chana Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 1 inch Finely chopped ginger
  • 3 -4 Finely chopped red or green onions
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

Directions

 

  • Wash the lentils thoroughly and soak for 4 hours

 

  • Grind the lentils in a food processor, add the rice flour and blend until a batter like consistency
  • Let ferment in a cool oven overnight
  • The batter will rise a little which will tell you that it has some fermentation. Add the herbs, veggies and spices and use some water to bring it to a pancake consistency
  • Heat the griddle or cast iron pan until quite hot. Keep the heat to medium and pour in the batter. Use a teaspoon to oil the edges and the middle. Once bubbles start to form and the edges are brown, flip the pancake/crepe and cook the other side for a couple of minutes.
  • The crepes should be soft and warm brown.
  • Serve hot and deliciously!

Sharing at at Angie’s Fiesta Friday # 283. Thanks to the co-hosts  Antonia @ Zoale and  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

great food and discovery of the soul

%d bloggers like this: