This is a traditional Onion Chutney that accompanies many a feasts and dinners in Kashmir. Kashmiri food, the whole playbook of amazing dishes often overshadows the humble accompaniments that elevate the flavors of the meal. The side kick here is truly kick ass, simply made with sliced onions that are marinated in vinegar, dried mint and red chili powder. The process is a quick pickling process which is very simple bringing out the tart, spicy and savory flavors.
The recipes call for dry mint but fresh would be fine if you are out of stock. I dry my mint in summer and fall and it lasts me at least 6 months. Dry mint does have a unique taste that it imparts to many Kashmiri dishes.
I serve it as a side to rice and savory dishes but you will find that it was be used in many other ways such as sandwiches, kebabs and burgers.
Gand Chetin Kashmiri Onion Chutney
A pickled spicy onion chutney
2 cups of organic red onions sliced thin
3 green chilies sliced thin
1/2 cup of green coriander/cilantro chopped
1/2 tsp black cumin ( different form regular
1/2 tsp dry mint
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 cup of organic vinegar ( i used rice
sea salt to taste
Salt the onions and keep aside for an hour or
so and then wash and drain. You will need to squeeze the water out.
Mix all the other ingredients ( you will not
need additional salt) and cool in the refrigerator before serving as a
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.
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!!
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
4 -5 Boiled potatoes
2 tomatoes – pureed or 1/2
canned tomato pureed
2 green chilies
1 tsp methi (
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 (
Oil if using ( 1 tbsp)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
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
Soak the methi (
Fenugreek) seeds in warm water for about 20 mins and grind.
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.
Add cumin, Hing, curry
leaves and green chilies and sauté for a minute
Add the ground methi
seeds and fry for a few second and then the pureed tomatoes and ginger.
Cook everything for 5
minutes and add the rest of the spices.
Add vegetable broth and
then the potatoes.
Cook everything until it
gets to a thick gravy consistency
Garnish with lemon juice
I have served with this
with sprouted wheat and lentil roti…but the choice of puris(fried bread)
or rice would be great too.
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.
It’s a vegetable overload weekend in our household. We had pea protein packed smoothie this morning and then ran a 5k in freezing temperatures. But the sun was out which gave energy to the mind and body. Riding the veggie theme for lunch I wanted to make something that continues to feed the body with energy.
So what I have here is a simple harissa roasted and charred cauliflower that is a sensory gift to the taste buds. The fact that it is plant based and has plenty of protein is something wonderful. The cauliflower is crusted with a mix of harissa paste, Labneh and Tahini dressing that amplifies the taste. The Avocados add the much needed fat and the citrus from the grapefruit balances it all.
1 head of cauliflower cut into thick steaks.
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1 tablespoon labneh ( or greek yoghurt)
1 tsp of the tahini dressing
2 tablespoon tahini
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon pomegranate
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 handful of cilantro
Pink or Sea Salt – to taste
Salad greens and Topping
Arugula and Baby spinach
Putting it together:
Blend all the ingredients for the tahini dressing adjust for consistency and salt.
Mix the harissa with labneh and a teaspoon of the tahini dressing.
Smother the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 mins until slightly charred.
Dress the flowerets with the harissa dressing and put back in the oven for 5 mins. Remove and cool
Remove the grapefruit meat in slices being careful to remove the skin.
Slice the avocados
In a large bowl add the arugula and spinach and dress lightly with the tahini dressing
Plate the green, adding the grapefruit, avocado. Top with cauliflower and walnuts.
The magic of Kashmiri cooking always inspires a smile and a happy tummy. So simple and fragrant served with steaming steamed rice and some pickles. The cheese can be homemade or you can buy a block of Indian Cheese which is pretty readily available in supermarkets now. I do find the homemade version with organic milk much better and softer.
For the greens, I prefer the leaves called Chinese broccoli but collard green work really well too. Remove the leaves from the stems. If the stems are thick, peel the skin and use the inside, they are packed with flavor
The key flavor enhancer, I find is the use of Mustard oil. You can always substitute with regular vegetable oil. I used a pressure cooking but you don’t have to, it cooks just fine in a regular pot.
Here is the recipe
Collard greens or Chinese
broccoli – 2 bunches
Indian cottage cheese sliced
into 2 inch pieces
Cloves 2 pices
asafetida – 1/4 Tsp
1 tsp crushed garlic
Ground ginger powder – 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Fennel powder – 1 tsp
salt to taste
1/2 cup mustard oil
2 cups of water
Fry the cottage cheese pieces in oil until lightly golden ( not too dark), remove and immerse in warm water. Set aside
In a pressure cooker add the same mustard oil and the cloves. Add Asafetida and garlic. Add water and the rest of the spices and bring to a boil. Add Salt to taste
Add the greens and pressure cook for 5 mins.
Remove the lid and add the cheese.
Cooks for 5 – 10 mins until the flavors combine and the cheese is soft.
Serve as a main dish or side dish with steaming rice.
Ok…. so this is not much of a recipe but more of the art of putting it all together…but I just had to post. Such an amazing crunch and taste that it leaves you craving for more. And it is healthy, nutritious and scrumptious. If Gluten bothers you, this is GF.
My cauliflower pizza base is Cauliflower and Corn flour from Trader Joes or Moms Organic market. On my trip to MOMs, I brought back beautiful garlic, asparagus, fresh Kale, Jalapeño, and mushrooms. I had some Parmesan and Halloumi in the fridge so putting this together was a breeze.
Note this is not a typical pizza smothering in tomato sauce and cheese. This one showcases the beautiful vegetables so adjust if you need more of the cheeses or add some tomato sauce.
The Kale and chopped mushrooms need to be sautéed in chopped garlic with a pinch of salt and set aside.
Slice or chop some Asparagus, Jalapeño, Roma tomato and set aside
Slice the cheeses.
Cook the crust according to instruction until it is firm and slightly crisp. The TJ version had me cook at 450 degrees and flip the crust to cook 12 mins on each side. That was perfect
Top the crust with veggies and cheese and put under a broiler for 3-4 mins.
Douse with some good avocado or olive oil and red chili flakes.