Urban Food

Summer Recipes Black Channa and Coconut Stew

A light stew which brings together delicate vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, bottle gourd (lauki) and black channa, is one you should be having. Especially if you’re looking for a healthy quick fix.

1/2 medium sized chopped onion
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 a stalk of lemon grass
A few lime leaves
2 green chilies, slit into 2 lengthwise
2 eggplant, diced
60 gm zucchini, diced
60 gm bottle gourd, diced
90 gm black channa, cooked
60 ml cooking liquor of the beans
100 ml coconut milk
2 Tbsp harissa paste
A few basil leaves
A small bunch of coriander
A small bunch of parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Red or yellow chilies for the garnish

1. Wash and soak the beans. Drain, refresh the water and cook with a little salt until cooked but not mushy. Alternatively you can even pressure cook them for 12 minutes. Reserve most of the cooking liquor for later.
2. Wash, pat dry and dice the zucchini, bottle gourd and eggplant into a bowl of chilled salted water.
3. Pound the green chillies, ginger, garlic, lime leaves, lemon grass and a pinch of salt to a paste in a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
4. In a casserole or heavy bottomed dish, heat up some oil and fry the onions. Drain the diced veggies and sweat them along with the onions.
5. Add the cooked black channa, the pounded paste and saute for 5 minutes.
6. Throw in 2 tablespoon of the harissa paste and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add the liquor of the beans.
8. Add some salt and pepper and ladle in the coconut milk.
9. Cook the veggies are cooked, just done.
10. Garnish with the sprig of fresh coriander leaves and maybe sliced fresh red or yellow chillies if available.



Summer is here and the temperatures are already soaring northwards. Vegetarian food is good option for meals in these months to keep our body cool and healthy. Below are few recipes that are surely a treat for your taste buds. By Chef Nirmal Kumar

Allahabad Ki Tehri (Vegetable Pulao)
Also known as vegetable pulao, this one pot rice meal is unique to the rich state of Uttar Pradesh. It’s made with a lot of bright vegetables, fiery masalas and topped with desi ghee.


100 ml mustard oil
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
4 brown cardamoms
8 green cardamoms
8-10 black peppercorns
8 cloves
2 onions, chopped
50 gm garlic, chopped
50 gm ginger, chopped
3-4 green chillies, chopped
2 Tbsp cumin seeds, ground
2 Tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida dissolved in water (heeng)
5 boiled potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
100 gm green beans, chopped
100 gm cauliflower, chopped
Salt to taste
200 gm curd
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
6 cups vegetable stock
50 ml ghee
Bunch of fresh coriander
1 lime

1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat mustard oil and add in the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, brown cardamom, green cardamom, peppercorn, cloves, onions, garlic, ginger and green chilly. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add in the ground cumin and coriander seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida water and cook the spices out for 5-6 minutes.
3. Into the masala base, add boiled potatoes, chopped carrots, chopped green beans and cauliflower.
4. Add salt as per taste. Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes till the vegetables are about 75 percent cooked.
5. Add in the curd and stir well to mix.
6. Next, add in the pre-washed basmati rice and stir till the rice is evenly coated with the base.
7. Add in the vegetable stock, cover and let simmer over a slow flame till the rice is cooked.
8. Garnish with a drizzle of ghee, a sprinkle of fresh coriander and some lime juice.

Homemade ravioli fresh Pomodori Basil Sauces


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons for boiling water
6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach boiled & chopped
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
6 egg roll wrappers (6 1/2 by 6 1/2-inch squares)
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup mushroom (shiitake, button), finely chopped
2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large saute pan heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get a coarse texture. Place in bowl and stir in ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Line up 3 wrappers on a cutting board. Brush with the egg andwater mixture. Using a tablespoon, arrange 4 dollops of the filling on each wrapper 2 on the first row and 2 on the second 1-inch apart. Place another wrapper directly on top, pressing around the filling and sealing the edges. Using a fluted ravioli cutter, cut out squares of ravioli. Place ravioli onto a floured baking sheet and keep covered with a linen towel.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of salted and oiled water. Carefully add small batches of ravioli, about 3 to 4 at a time. This will prevent them from crowding in the pot and sticking together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spider strainer, carefully remove the ravioli and place on the plate.
In a sauté pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When almost smoking, add chopped mushrooms and sauté until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Carefully pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.Top with mushroom tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.

sureshSimple Tomato Sauce:
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning.
Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process untilsmooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.


Kashmiri Pandit Cusine – A Gastronomical Affair

Most of us associate Kashmiri food with the more popular Wazwan cuisine or the Kashmiri Muslim fare that is robust and does justice to the beauty and serenity of the region. But not many have been able to taste and relish the Kashmiri Pandit cuisine that comes from the Hindu homes in the valley. Just like the ‘Kashmiri Pandits’, their cuisine too is a blend of many cultures maintaining its unique taste and identity. Avid Urban Vaastu reader and homechef, Aditi Wanchoo shares her secret heirloom recipes that were taught by her mother and grandmother. Through the years, her culinary craftsmanship has developed in keeping with today’s tastes but she hasn’t forgeten the rich history that these recipes once come from.

Lyodur Tschaman or Kashmiri Paneer gravy is a popular aromatic and delicious dish


Paneer 150 gms (cubed)
Mustard oil 1 tsp
Hing/Asafoetida 1 tsp
Dry Ginger powder 1 tsp
Fennel powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Kashmiri red chilies 2
Whisked Curd 1/2 cup
Heavy Cream 1/2 cup
Black Peppercorns (coarsely ground) 1 tsp

How to make:
• In a wok add oil. Once the oil is hot, add hing, dry ginger powder, fennel powder, turmeric and red chillies.
• Cook for a couple of seconds and add the curd and paneer. Keep whisking it so that the curd does not curdle.
• Once it comes to boil add cream to it.
• Let it cook on a low flame for 10 minutes. You can add little water depending upon the Add black pepper and salt. Give it a stir and remove from flame.

Modur pulao is a Kashmiri Sweet Pulao prepared using dry fruits and nuts

Basmati Rice 1 Cup
Sugar 1 Cup
Ghee 4 tbsp
Bay leaves 3 nos
Cloves 3-4 nos
Cinnamon Stick 3 nos – 1 inch
Green Cardamom 10 nos
Black Peppercorns ½ tsp
Saffron Strands ¼ tsp
Chopped dates, Blanched almonds, cashews and raisins ¼ cup
Salt to taste
Water 3 cups

How to make:
• Wash rice thoroughly with water and soak for half an hour. Drain the water and set aside.
• In a small bowl, soak saffron with a tablespoon of water.
• In a small saucepan, add 2 cups of water and bring it to boil. Add rice and cook for about 5 minutes. Ensure that the rice is only cooked 3/4th. Do not cook for long time
• Drain water from the rice and set aside.
• In a non-stick Kadai, heat ghee over medium flame. Once the ghee is hot, lower the flame and add cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom and peppercorns.
• Cook them until peppercorns clutter.
• Now, add sugar, ½ cup of water and cook until they dissolve completely. It should be in thick syrup consistency.
• Add the half cooked rice and give it a stir.
• Now add chopped dates, raisins, almonds and cashews to the rice. Soak dates and almonds in warm water for few minutes for chopping it without efforts.
• Combine them well and pour the saffron water on top of the rice.
• Cover the pan and cook rice over low flame for about 20 – 25 minutes until they are cooked well. Ensure to stir them occasionally to prevent it from being burnt at the bottom
• In case if you have added undercooked rice, add required amount of water. Ensure to check the consistency of the rice often to avoid overcooking




Ingredients Quantity
Iceberg lettuce 50 gm
Yellow pepper roasted 18 gm
Red pepper roasted 18 gm
Green zucchini roasted 10 gm
Yellow zucchini roasted 10 gm
Sun dried tomato 6 gm
Green olives 6 gms
Black olive 6 gms
parmesan shavings 10 gms
Pepper 2 gms
Salt to taste


Ingredients Quantity
“Egg mayonaise or
veg mayonnaise” 10 gm
Garlic 5 gm
Parmesan cheese 3 gm
Olive oil 2 ml

Garlic Cheese Mayonnaise

Use the blender to prepare the garlic cheese mayo dressing and keep aside. Roast or grill the peppers and zucchini keep it cold. Wash the iceberg lettuce in ice chilled water and break the lettuce using hands and let it to dry. Slice the black, green olives and sundried tomatoes. In a mixing bowl add ice berg lettuce,peppers,zucchini,sundried tomatoes ,olives and gently toss finally drizzle garlic and cheese mayonnaise and present as per the picture specification. Serve garnished with parmesan shavings




Ingredients Quantity
medium eggplant,
diced into 1/2” pieces two no
kosher salt
extra-virgin olive oil, divided 2 tbsp
Freshly ground
black pepper
onion, chopped one no
bell peppers, cut
into 1/4” spears two no
bay leaf one no
tomato paste 1 tbsp
zuchhinins slices
into 1/4 coins two no
garlic clove crushed few 3 no
cheery tomato 2 .c
dried oregano
red pepper flakes
fresh basil
crusty baguette for serving

Place eggplant in a colander and toss with a big pinch of salt. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then pat the eggplant dry to remove excess moisture. In a Dutch oven (or a large pot), heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden all over, about 6 minutes, then remove the eggplant. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pot. Add onion, bell peppers and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and peppers are beginning to turn tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir until it’s fragrant, about 1 minute, then deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in zucchini and cook until tender, about 4 minutes more. Stir in garlic, cherry tomatoes and oregano.