Post 18: sugar and spice

It has been a long time that I tried a new recipe. Especially an Indian recipe. There are as many  different cuisines in the country as there are languages (Wikipedia says , and I quote, “According to Census of India of 2001, 30 languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers, 122 by more than 10,000”)  and chances are you can find some hidden gems in every local cuisine you try! I recently tried my hand  at a new mutton (goat meat) curry  from a recipe I got from my sister who got it from her husband’s uncle who lives in Ranchi, India and for some reason, not known to me, calls it “atte”

This recipe is slightly unconventional in two ways. One, It uses sugar as a flavor enhancer for the curry (some Gujarati and Bengali savory dishes use sugar too!) and secondly  it uses the ready-made,store bought meat masala (spice-mix). Most recipes from back home call for making the spice mix from scratch but this one takes the easy route!


You’d need:
1 kg mutton or beef(beef takes longer to cook)
500 gm onion, thinly sliced
500 gm tomatoes
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1-2 Bay leaves
1-2 Basic ilaichi (black cardamom)
Red chili powder to taste.
3-4 tbsp Meat masala
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp Ghee
Coriander for garnish

1. In a thick bottomed pan, heat some ghee and add the sliced onions. Saute till the onion starts to brown. Add ginger-garlic paste.

2. Separately steam the tomatoes and remove the skin. Mash up and add to the browned onions. Let it cook.

3. Add the sugar, red chili powder, meat masala and rest of the spices. Cook well till ghee separates and add the mutton. Let it cook well in spice mix in high heat.

4. Cover with a thick lid and cook on low heat till the meat is tender.

5. Garnish with chopped coriander.

If you use a pressure cooker, add a little bit of water and cook till 5 whistles on slow heat. This is best served with roti’s or naan but rice will do just fine too. I am looking forward to try some more recipes with the sugar and spice mix and will keep you posted on how it turns out.

Phir Milenge!

Green Beans for Jess

My friend Jess is a trooper. She loves Indian food and is willing to brave the hardships that come with it – Red face, excessive perspiration, heart burn and digestive discomfort. It has got the makings of true love I tell you.

Indian foods are spicy as compared to continental food but what you eat at the restaurant is something hardly anyone consumes on a daily basis. To tell you the truth ,  There are a lot of simple every day recipes that are non-spicy, non-oily and non life threatening. They are simply not restaurant worthy. I love cooking at home for Jess and I can find comfort in fact that she will not be downing Pepto-Bismol next morning.

Here is a recipe for making Green beans – its a dish from south of India and its commonly called “Thoran” and you would find this served in a restaurant that offers a south-Indian ‘Thali’ (platter).

Wash and Rise the green beans. You can use french beans and flat beans for this recipe too as well as cabbage. Chop Green beans very fine. Chop Yellow onions as finely as you can.


Other ingredients you would need are: Mustard seeds, green chillies – slit length wise and curry leaves. You can replace curry leaves with coriander leaves too if you want.  If you don’t want too much heat, remember to remove the seeds from the chillies.



Heat one tablespoon of Oil in a pan. The oil should be hot enough that the mustard seeds start to splatter as soon as they hit the pan.  Add the chillies, curry leaves and onions to the oil.


When the onions are little tender , add turmeric and salt. Add chopped beans.

Cover and let it cook on low heat for some time. I would say keep checking at regular intervals to see how it is coming along.  The beans are cooked when they are Al dente – cooked but not soggy.

Just before removing it from heat, add grated coconut for garnish , if you would like.


This would generally be served with boiled rice and Yogurt-curry called “Mor-Curry”.  The idea of putting my cooking into a post did not strike me until I was half way through and I do not have pictures of what I made but there is a very good instructional video on Youtube. Click here.

It is a simple south Indian meal which is easy on the stomach. If you do try to make it , Let me know how it turned out and if you liked it.

Phir Milenge!!