Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tiny Potatoes

These tiny potatoes are a hot favourite in our house. Making an appearance in the local markets during the winter months we can get to buy them till  summer. Washed, halved, and fried is the usual way of having them. The addition of onions, chillies, turmeric, and ginger (optional) go into making these potatoes a tasty dish.

Another way of preparing them is to boil them till nearly done but not mushy. Drain and then press each potato till there's a little crack on the skin and the flesh. Of course the tiniest ones can be left whole. Heat a little oil and fry till crisp in batches with the addition of chopped onions and green chillies, a dash of cumin or coriander powder. Remove from the heat and add fried peanuts for that extra crunch. 

As for the garnish, coriander or serrated coriander, finely chopped, completes the dish.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Okra With Eggs/Bhendi Yaoyaba Daodi Jang

The beginning of summer sees the markets flooded with the tender okra. In our region early sowing starts from February and continues till the end of June. So throughout summer this is a vegetable that's cooked at least once or twice a week in our homes. So we have them stuffed, fried, steamed, mixed with potatoes, tomatoes, dried fish, and eggs. 
A variety of okra grown in our region
When we were growing up most of of the vegetables for home consumption came from our garden. My mother was a keen gardener and even today her gifts from the garden give my sisters and I, much joy. It's just that her knee isn't good so going down the slope where the garden lies ( my hometown is a hilly place) is getting more difficult with age.
Okra with eggs

One okra dish that she used to make was with a few ingredients but it was delicious! Here's the recipe.


About 250 grams of tender okra
1 large onion, diced
2 green chillies, chopped
2 small tomatoes
3 eggs
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
A bunch of serrated coriander, chopped fine


  • Wash the okra, drain, and dry with a tea towel and cut into thin circles. They need to be absolutely dry as we don't want the dish to be gooey.
  • Heat oil in a pan and when it comes to smoking point, add the onions and chillies.
  • Cook till the onions are translucent then add the cut vegetable.
  • Fry for a few minutes then add the turmeric. Chop the tomatoes and add them as well.
  • Check to see if it's done and season with salt.
  • Break the eggs in a bowl and whisk for a minute or so.
  • Add the beaten eggs to the dish and stir till the eggs are scrambled.
  • Take the dish off the heat and garnish with the chopped herbs.
This dish goes well with rice and rotis.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hand Pies With A Sweet Coconut Filling

Since I still have some more coconuts lying around my kitchen I thought coconut hand pies for tea would be nice. With the slight drizzle that we've had, the summer heat has been kept at bay. So it's a pleasure to knead, roll, handle not only the dough but a dozen other things in the kitchen as well. As I type this I'm worried that the jackfruit pickle that should have got a day's basking in the sun only got a quarter of an hour before the drizzle started. Keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping that the generous amount of spices and oil that I have smothered it with, will see it through this setback.

These pies are all about tweaking the gujia, a very popular Indian sweet with a filling of coconut, nuts and khoya, which is evaporated milk. There are moulds too that give you that properly done look, the kind that you might get at a mithai shop. For gujia, a little bit of ghee is mixed into the flour and kneaded. The filling is prepared, the dough is rolled out, the stuffing goes in and the sweets are fried in oil till they turn golden brown.
I used regular pastry dough that I made with butter. The filling (seen in the glass bowl in the picture) was of coconut, sugar, and raisins, lightly fried.
After the dough was rolled and cut out, about two teaspoons of the filling went in. I didn't use any water before pressing the edges. I pinched the edges and created this pattern. Before they went onto a lightly greased tray in a 180 C oven, I made three little cuts on each pie with a knife. A bit of egg wash and in they went for about 15 minutes

And for a little indulgence came pink antirrhinums from my rain-drenched flower bed and some dollops of cream. At tea-time, thoughts about my jackfruit pickle not getting enough sun were forgotten as we dug into these buttery, coconut(ty), and not overly sweet pies. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baked...In Banana Leaves

Baked fish on the left and leafy veggies on the right
It had rained and the temperature came down by several degrees. Lighting a fire outside didn't seem like self-inflicted torture.:) And since some food taste best baked on hot coals with the flavour of smoke, I baked tiny fish wrapped in banana leaves. The leaves came from my backyard. I have a small clump of banana trees. The local name of the cultivar is Jahaji.  And since the packet was small and did not take much space I thought tender clerodendrum leaves could also go into the hot coals. Known as Mishimou in Dimasa, it translates to tiger's ears. Convenient way of naming, I must say. We also have Mojokhmou that translates to rat's ears but I'll be writing about that in a future post.
Clerodendrum colebrookianum
These leaves come from a shrub that grows to a height of 1.5 to 3 mtrs. The striking white blooms are loved by pollinators. In our region, this plant is believed to have medicinal properties. The leaves are used in traditional medicine for high blood pressure and for rheumatism. The leaves have a pungent smell but cooking changes all that. in fact, baked or steamed leaves are delicious.

The fish was wrapped in a banana leaf then covered with foil

Cooked! The leaves were also wrapped in the same manner
 The packets went into the hot coals for nearly twenty minutes. The clerodendrum leaves weren't kept that long.
Hooker chives/Alium hookeri
Several leaves from my potted chives went to the baked fish, chopped fine and with the addition of three roasted and chopped green chillies. Salt had been added earlier. The fish can be mashed or mixed with the garnishes. As for the clerodendrum leaves, only salt was added. This vegetable has its distinct smell and flavour. The addition of any spice would be akin to spoiling its taste.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jackfruit Curry

Ingredients for the curry
It's jackfruit season in our region now. The tender ones are usually made into curry or pickled during this time of the year. Mid-summer is when they ripen and till now my memories of  childhood summers are a potpourri of ripening mangoes and jackfruit. The strong yet delicious smells would pervade the air. Although there were other fruits ripening as well, the smell of these two would dominate. Today's curry is the way we always cooked it. I do a few variations at times but still come back to this kind of simple cooking.

Jackfruit tree in my mother's garden

As you can see from the picture above the innards give out a milky sticky latex when cut. So hands must be oiled and the knife as well. It's easier to clean up afterwards. My worktop was lined with banana leaves to make it less messy.

Jackfruit curry


One tender medium jackfruit

8-10 dried red chillies, soaked and ground to a paste

3 onions (medium), grated

5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped

1 tablespoon of  cumin, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon of coriander,    ,,

A quarter teaspoon of turmeric + extra for mixing into the fruit before cooking

3-4 Indian bay leaves/tejpatta

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

A quarter teaspoon mustard seeds

A 1" piece of ginger, ground

A small bunch of serrated coriander for the garnish

A teaspoon of freshly ground garam masala paste

Salt to taste

About 4 tablespoons of Mustard oil + extra for greasing hands and knife


With well-oiled hands and knife cut the jackfruit, first intro halves and then into quarters. Peel and chop into bite-size pieces. Heat water in a pan. Mix about a quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder and some salt on the  chopped pieces and keep aside till the water becomes hot. Then add the jackfruit and boil till it becomes nearly soft. This will take between 15-20 minutes. Drain.

Heat the mustard oil in a pan. When it comes to smoking point, add the mustard seeds and the tejpatta. Put in the onions and stir. Then add all the rest of the spices except the garam masala. Fry for about five minutes before adding the drained jackfruit. Stir well till the fruit is covered in all the spices. Add salt to taste. Cook for another twenty minutes or so. Add about two cups of hot water to the curry. Check to see if it's done. It should be soft but not mushy. Stir in the garam masala paste. There should be very little gravy in this dish. Take it off the heat and garnish with finely chopped serrated coriander. This curry goes well with rice and rotis.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Judima, the Dimasa Rice Wine

Judima brewed by yours truly

Every ceremony among the Dimasas, whether joyous or sad, is incomplete without the brew that is known as judima. It’s sweet and potent and well-made judima can taste somewhat like honey and the colour is a mellow yellow. It’s interesting how the idea of the brew first came about. The story goes that a Dimasa man packed his rice in banana leaves and headed to the fields to work. He hung the packet on the trunk of a tree and went about his usual business. At noon when he came to have his lunch, liquid was coming out of the packet in droplets. When he tasted it he realized that the liquid was special. He figured out that the tree on which he had hung his packet of rice had the quality to turn cooked rice into delicious brew. The tree was a kind of wattle/ Acacia pennata. And that particular patch of jungle had an abundance of this variety of acacia. Image of the tree can be seen here.

 Acacia pennata or Climbing Wattle from the family Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family) is native to south and south-east Asia. It’s a small tree with thorny stems and grows up to five m in height. Young branches are green in colour but turn brown with age. The leaves  resemble those of the tamarind. The flowers are yellow or cream-coloured and are borne in large panicles at the end of the branches. The pods are thin, flat, and with thick sutures. This tree is called thembra in Dimasa. Stories tend to be exaggerated and the fact is that fermentation of rice wine takes longer than half a day. Accidental discoveries have always added more delights to the world of food and drink. And much like wine which came from the grapes of rot, this discovery of cooked rice and the bark of the tree must have taken ages to be perfected.

The brown bark is dried in the sun and then chopped into tiny pieces. Then the mixture is ground into powdery form. This is then mixed with rice flour and some water and made into dough. The rice flour is a combination of glutinous and non-glutinous varieties. Sticky rice is added so that the dough sticks together and can be shaped. Stale cakes are also needed to complete the process. The roundels of dough need to be dusted with powdered stale cakes. The ratio is about two stale cakes per one kilogram of rice flour. Depending on the quantity of the mixture, the dough is shaped into several roundels. A ritual that is followed here is that the total number of the cakes must be an odd number. The pattern on the cakes must be the same except for the last one which is shaped in a different pattern and is termed a "male". That is the way it has been done since time immemorial. The saying in Dimasa….matla rao ni gjer ha humao jla is said in jest when a male is seen among several females. The literal translation is, In the midst of all the girls is a male rice cake!

The starter cakes known as humao
The starter cakes known as humao, are then placed on a bamboo tray and kept to dry for five days. Some keep them for three days. The cakes must be placed in a cool dry place. Sunlight falling on it will reduce the potency of the thembra. After five days the cakes can be stored by tying them loosely in a piece of thin cloth. Traditionally they are stored on a bamboo tray on a bed of dried rice stalks. They are also covered with the same. Once the cakes are used, these rice stalks are kept separately to be used later for the same purpose.

The ratio of rice flour and the dried/ground bark
Now coming to the rice itself, both glutinous and non-glutinous rice is mixed and cooked together. Sometimes only glutinous rice is used. The use of sticky rice is that it gives out more wine in a kilogram of rice as compared to non-sticky rice. A particular variety of rice known in Dimasa as maiju bairing is much prized for the quantity of wine that the rice produces. Whatever the rice may be, just enough water must be added to cook it. The rice should not be soggy and it should be brown at the bottom. A little browning ensures a better colour to the brew.

The rice cooked to a golden brown (at the bottom)
 Once the rice is done, it is taken out of the pot and cooled on a bamboo mat (depending on the quantity) or a tray. The cake is ground to powder, ready to be mixed with the rice. The mixing is done in small quantities . This is done by sprinkling a bit of the powder and water to a handful of rice. The mixed portion is transferred to a bucket. The mixing continues till all the rice is used.  Then the bucket is covered with a thin cloth and then, a lid. In summer, the rice has to cool completely before the mixing starts. In winter, the rice can be mixed when it is still a little warm.

The starter cakes and the bark of Acacia pennata
During summer it takes 24 hours for the smell to emanate and the liquid to start oozing out. But the rice must remain undisturbed for a week at least. Even if the brew can be tasted, it’s best not to take out the liquid as soon as it collects in the container. To enable the judima to collect and to take it out with a cup there’s a bamboo object called yenthi . It’s open on both sides (imagine a can with the top and the bottom removed) and can be placed right in the middle of the bucket or utensil. This is where the liquid collects through the woven bamboo which works like a sieve. It takes in the liquid and keeps out the solids. After ten days or so, the brew can be taken out and kept in bottles. Not several bottles at one time because the brew will keep coming  out but the pace will get slower after two weeks or so. During winter it can take two or more days for the fermentation.

Yenthi, the sieve used inside the container for the brew
Traditionally large bamboo baskets called khulu are used for the rice. The baskets  are lined with banana leaves and the bottom is covered with several strips of banana leaves folded in such a way that when the fermentation takes place all the liquid does not seep out of the basket. The basket is placed on a bamboo stand and after the fermentation the liquid falls drop by drop into a vessel kept below. They are still used when large quantities of the brew need to be made on festive occasions or for the after-death ceremonies. But with nuclear families making judima for home consumption, smaller containers are used. Instead of yenthi made of bamboo, plastic jars can be used with the bottom removed and with perforations on the entire body.

It’s interesting to note that over the years several changes have taken place in the way the rice is kept. During my mother’s childhood, the floor was where the rice was kept. First of all a thick layer of rice husk was placed on the floor. This was from the first sifting of the rice after it’s pounded. The subsequent sifting produces smaller particles of rice husk. Then another thick layer of banana leaves were placed on the husk. Then the cooled and mixed rice was placed on the banana leaves. This was again covered with leaves. The topmost cover consisted of jute sacks to maintain a warm temperature to facilitate the fermentation.  Once the fermentation took place, generally after twenty four hours, the mixture was transferred to earthen pitchers. The pitchers were first cleaned with a particular leaf with abrasive properties. Then the pitchers were placed upside down on iron stands which were placed on a chulha with a smouldering fire from rice husks. This was a long process lasting for two or three days. This ensured that the pitcher was cleansed of all impurities and promised a longer shelf life to the brew.

When the brew is first taken out it is done so with an offering to Madai Shibarai/Lord Shiva, seeking  blessings for the family and the household.
Newly made rice wine has a cloudy appearance but turns clearer with age
In the place where the mixture is kept, no sour fruits are cut or consumed. It is believed that the brew will turn sour in that case. Maintaining hygiene in the surroundings is of utmost importance. A bottle of judima as a gift is a symbol of love and affection and all good things that are associated with these feelings and emotions.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Coffee Cake With Caramel Sauce

Although I love to bake cakes, they are of the simplest kinds. What I add to them depends on what I have in my kitchen at that moment of time. A coffee cake was what I baked today. A heaped teaspoon of instant coffee added to the usual suspects resulted in this!
The batter goes into one of my favourite moulds ready for the oven. The recipe is given below.
All done in nearly thirty minutes!

Ready to be drizzled with caramel sauce


Flour                   180  grams

Baking powder    1 level teaspoon

(at room temp)     150 grams + extra for greasing the tin

Sugar                   150 grams

Eggs                     3 medium

Vanilla essence      1 teaspoon

Raisins                   a handful

Instant coffee          a heaped teaspoon


Grease the tin with butter. Wash and soak the raisins in warm water. After a few minutes, drain and chop them up.Sieve the flour along with the baking powder. Beat the eggs with the vanilla essence. Add a teaspoon of warm water to the coffee and stir till no granules remain. Now cream the sugar and the butter. Gradually add the beaten eggs. Pour the coffee mix. Then fold in the sieved flour to the batter. Bake in a preheated oven at 180*C for thirty minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

The Caramel Sauce

Caramelize some sugar, about 100 grams. When it turns a lovely golden brown add some butter and about 180 ml of cream. Take it off the heat and cool. Drizzle over the warm cake. I didn't make a dark caramel as I wanted the sauce to be lighter (in colour) than the cake.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bean & Pork Salad With Sesame Seeds

I've had a pretty good harvest of French beans this year. A fresh batch picked this morning went into making this salad. Since I had some boiled pork in the fridge, I took out a chunk and cut it into thin rectangular pieces. The beans (I didn't string them) were blanched in salted water and promptly went into iced water to retain their colour. As for the other ingredients, I added one sliced onion and two sliced chillies (de-seeded). 

For the dressing I toasted a heaped tablespoon of black sesame seeds. It was done on a skillet till they crackled and the nutty scent filled the kitchen. Then the seeds were ground to a not-so-fine paste. Some freshly grated pepper and a drizzle of olive oil finished off the dressing. No extra salt was added as the meat and the beans were already salted. The nasturtium blooms were a last minute addition. They won't be blooming beyond April so I might as well make the most of them. I think the bright oranges and yellows make the dish  look more vibrant. As for the taste (even if I say so myself) was delicious!!

Lunch time salad

                                *Thank you for stopping by today.*

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Creme Caramel With Coconut Milk

Half a dozen coconuts that came from my mother's garden went into making  popular sweets like laddoos and gujias and that lovely Malaysian curry called rendang. Although I use packaged coconut milk at times, freshly made ones are more than welcome. And the thought of creme caramel with coconut milk was an obvious choice. Needless to say that scenes from Fox Traveler's Food Safari and sights from all the other food shows keep dancing in my head!
This morning we woke up to an overcast sky. The thought of impending rain called for a celebration.;)  At least let us be spared of the dust that threatens to cloud our vision and everything else!

With one grated coconut the yield was nearly one large bowl of milk. I'm already thinking about how I can use up that coconut. Maybe that'll come in a future post. For the caramel, I used a hundred grams of grated jaggery. 

I'm also using my 3" ramekins that I bought from Urban Dazzle.  So convenient for desserts. 
Well, it didn't rain and it looks like we'll have to keep biting the dust after all.;))

Coconut creme caramel


Coconut milk                     200 ml

Milk                                  150 ml

Eggs                                  2

Yolks                                 3

Jaggery (for the caramel)      100 grams

Sugar (for the custard)         3 heaped tablespoons

Vanilla essence                   1 teaspoon

Butter to grease the ramekins


Pour about two tablespoons of water in a pan. When it heats up, add the grated jaggery and let it cook till the colour changes to a reddish brown. Pour the caramel into prepared ramekins. Butter the ramekins from the layer above the caramel.

Heat the milk along with the sugar. Stir till the sugar melts. Then add the coconut milk. Remove from the stove. Meanwhile beat the eggs and the yolks with a fork or an egg-beater. Pour the milk into the eggs, constantly stirring the mixture. Also add a tablespoon of vanilla essence. Pass the eggs/milk mixture through a sieve and then pour them into the prepared ramekins.

Fill the oven tray halfway with water. Place the ramekins on the tray and bake at 180* C for thirty minutes or till a knife inserted into the pudding comes out clean. Cool and refrigerate for two hours or so before serving.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tomato Chutney & Two Rustic Pies

A bag of tomatoes and baby carrots came from my sister's garden. She's an avid gardener and produce from her garden is always welcome. We like to add tomatoes in everything and one tomato dish that I love to make is chutney. It's wonderful accompaniment to our flatbreads and with rice as well. As for the carrots, they'll go into crisp salads later.
Ingredients that go into making this dish
The mix of spices on the right is called "panch puran". The mixture consists of equal parts of fennel, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, and nigella seeds. 
Nearly done, here!

Ready to be served

Tomatoes (I used half and half of                500 grams
ordinary and cherry tomatoes) 

Mustard oil                                                about 3 tablespoons

Jaggery                                                     a small bowl

Panch puran                                               a quarter teaspoon

Indian bay-leaves/tejpatta                          3-4 (bruised so that the aroma is

Turmeric                                                     a quarter teaspoon

Salt to taste

Chilli powder                                             a teaspoon

Coriander powder                                       a tablespoon


  • Blanch and peel the tomatoes. Since I was using two different types, I did not blanch the cherry tomatoes. Slice them. The cherry ones need to be washed only.
  • Grate the jaggery and keep aside.
  • Heat the mustard oil in a pan.
  • When it comes to smoking point, add the panch puran and the bayleaves.
  • Stir, add a few sliced tomatoes and all the spices. Alternately you can sprinkle water without adding the tomatoes so that the spices won't burn.
  • Keep stirring then add the rest of the tomatoes. Keep cooking till the liquid nearly dries up. This will take between 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the grated jaggery. You can taste to see if it is sweet enough. Add a bit of salt as well.
  • For a more sweet and sour taste, add some tamarind, seeds and all.
To make the chutney more special, either soaked raisins, pitted dates, prunes, and apricots can be added. In which case you can cut down on the jaggery or sugar (whichever you are using) because of the natural sweetness of these ingredients.

And with some of the pastry dough from past pies, and still more cherry tomatoes to play around with, I thought about what I could fill up my rustic tarts with. Good that the French beans are still there, can't say they are going great guns but I had enough for a vegetable filling. There were left-overs in the fridge too, some mashed potatoes that I added with onions, some pepper, and a packet of Maggi masala. You're right, I don't waste a thing!;)

For my future posts, maybe I can work on these galettes and come up with more attractive fillings. Today it was more about using the cherry(ised) tomatoes!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Time For A Quiche

Eating up my greens:)

I'd been thinking of making a quiche by using  some of the leafy greens that have cropped up in my pots. Spinach has always been a favourite but since other greens from the brassica family have re-seeded in some pots along with  purslane I combined the three leafy greens for this dish. This was also the first time I used my new fluted quiche dish that I had ordered online from Urban Dazzle. It's large enough for several helpings:) and I like the blue tinge on the glass.

Purslane (the small succulent leaves on the right) springs up around this time of the year. This can be stir-fried or mixed with potatoes or in dal. It is considered to be nutritious and is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin C.
Rolled out and ready to be blind baked

A layer of peppery chicken salami goes into the pastry shell

Fresh out of the oven

It tasted a wee bit different from the regular spinach quiche


For the pastry

Flour             2 cups

Butter            100 grams (chilled)

Egg                1

Iced water (to be sprinkled while working on the dough)

For the filling

Mixed leafy greens         a small bunch

Salami                         I used a 250 gram packet

Onion                          1 large

Eggs                            2

Yolks                           3

(25% fat)                     200 ml

Pepper                         quarter teaspoon

salt to taste


Sieve the flour in a large  bowl. Cut the  butter into cubes and add to the flour. I chill it earlier after making the cubes. Using both hands, mix with the fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Break an egg into the mixture. Mix. Sprinkle some chilled water and bring the dough together without kneading. Lightly flatten the pastry dough and put in in the fridge wrapped in cling-film. Chill for at least thirty minutes.

Heat the oven to 180*C. Take the dough  out of the fridge. As you wait for the dough to get softer, grease a quiche dish with butter. Take a sheet of grease-proof  paper and cut it in a circular shape slightly bigger than the dish. On a floured surface roll out the dough in a circle a little bigger than the quiche dish. Fold the rolled out dough on the rolling pin and place it on the dish. Trim the edges. Grease the grease-proof paper with butter and place it on the dish, buttered side down. Then place the baking beans on the paper. Bake for about 12 minutes. Then take it out of the oven, remove the paper and the beans and bake again for another ten minutes. The shell will by now, turn a golden brown. Take it out of the oven and prepare the filling.

The Filling

Wash, drain, and chop the leafy greens. Peel and slice the onions. Heat oil in a pan and start with the salami. Fry them for a few minutes till they change colour on both sides. Remove. In the same pan, fry the onions till translucent. Then add the chopped greens. Continue to cook till they wilt. I've never tried using purslane in any baked dish but I guess it's worth a try.

Break/separate the eggs in a bowl. Whisk and add cream (I used Amul Fresh cream). Keep whisking. Season with pepper and salt. Now layer the pastry shell with the salami, scatter the greens and the onions. Then pour the egg/cream mixture on top. Bake in a 180*C oven for about 30 minutes or till a knife inserted in the quiche comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lunch-time Menu

The combination of pulao and a meat-based curry has always been much-loved in our house. It actually takes care of the need of other accompaniments, read more effort and time. When it comes to a dinner party,  it's a different matter but just these two dishes work for a laid-back Sunday lunch.

Since I still had some of the black rice I'd bought earlier, I thought of making pulao. For this dish I used one and a half cups of white long grain Ijong and   half a cup of black rice. This particular variety of rice, Ijong, is not fragrant but the addition of the black rice took care of that. So I went easy on the spices. When the oil heated up I threw in a few crushed cardamoms, two sticks of cinnamon, about five cloves, a few peppercorns and tejpatta/Indian bay leaf. The black rice was soaked for thirty minutes before it was added to the pan. The colour turned burgundy. A change from the usual white or pale yellow pulao. The garnish was done with fried onions, fried till crisp and brown.

As for the lamb, the spices that went into the oil are: plenty of chopped onions, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric, twelve cloves of garlic (crushed), a half teaspoon paste of ginger, and a teaspoon of freshly made garam masala. I used slivers of ginger for the garnish. The taste? Hmm...I was pretty happy!:)