Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Leaf Curry / Dudde Panna Kadi or Tamboli





This is another of Konkani traditional recipe made with tender pumpkin leaves. I get very fresh squash leaves at my farmer's market. We usually make tamboli or green curry out of pumpkin leaves , so I thought why not try it with the squash leaves. This was another of my grand mom's favorite recipes. While serving tamboli with rice, usually curd or unsweetened yogurt is served as a side dish to add a tangy taste.

Ingredients
2 cups pumpkin leaves
4-5 pepper corns
1 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
salt for taste
2 green chilies
small piece of tamarind
1/2 cup coconut
1 teaspoon ghee

Method

Wash and chop the pumpkin leaves. Add some ghee in a pan and fry jeera and pepper corns. Add and cook the leaves for 4-5 minutes till they wilt. Remove from heat and grind it into a smooth paste with rest of the ingredients. Traditionally, the tamboli is not heated after grinding and is served with rice and curd as a side dish. But, here in winter it is very cold, so I heat the tamboli on the gas or in the microwave and serve it with rice and omit curd.


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vegetable Pot Pie





After seeing pot pie being mentioned in many Tv serials, I would always wonder about what pot pie exactly is. The Ingalls family in the Hallmark channel serial, Little House On the Prairie would eat pot pie for diner. Then, the other day I watched Ina Garten make pot pie on one of her shows on the the Food channel. She made chicken pot pie. As my husband does not eat chicken, I usually make only vegetarian dishes at home. So I tried to make vegetable pot pie with a variety of vegetables and it turned out to be very tasty. It has been raining here today and the pot pie made a perfect dinner on a cold rainy day. I guess this is a very healthy and sizzling winter dish and I have decided to make this very often. I also carved my own Jack o lantern for Halloween and thought of displaying it with the pot pie. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour or maida
4 cups of chopped vegetables(choose from or mix and match from pumpkin, corn kernels, peas, potato, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, beans, mushrooms, zucchini)
1 green pepper
1 medium onion
pepper for taste
2 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
3 tablespoon oil
salt for taste
1 cup milk

For the pastry:

2 cups whole wheat flour or roti atta
ice cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg

Method
To make the pastry, mix the wheat flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Then put the flour mixture into a food processor and add the butter. Give a pulse or two, so that the butter blends with the flour. Add cold water and blend it in the food processor till it forms a soft dough. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for around 30 minutes. This will prevent the flour from getting sticky while rolling it.

For the stuffing:
Chop the onion. Fry onion in 1 teaspoon oil till transparent. Chop the green pepper and fry it with the onion till soft. Add all the vegetables and cook covered till soft. In another pan, add the rest of the oil and flour. Fry the flour till it is light brown in color. Let it cool down. After it cools down, add milk to the flour and mix it well so that there are no lumps. Add salt and pepper Cool down the vegetables and mix it with the white flour sauce. Check for salt and pepper and season it accordingly as per taste.

Assembly
Beat the egg in a small container.
Fill the bowls or the baking tray with the vegetable filling. Sprinkle some flour on the rolling board and roll the flour into the shape of the bowl or the baking tray. Brush the top outer edges of the bowl or the baking tray with the egg wash so that the flour sticks easily to the edges. Now gently put the flour cover on top of the bowl or the baking tray and seal the edges. Make a slit on top of the flour covering to let out the steam while baking.
Brush the remaining egg wash on the flour covering. Sprinkle pepper over the flour covering if you want a very spicy pot pie. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the pot pie for 40 minutes or till the top is browned. Serve hot.


Variation:

-You can add garam masala to the vegetables.
-Coriander leaves or cilantro can be added to the vegetables.
-If you want it tangy, you can add tomato ketchup to the cooked vegetables.
- Cooked soy chunks can also be added with the vegetables.
- Shredded and cooked chicken can be added along with the vegetables.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bottlegourd or Dudhi Halwa/Gardudde Halvo


 
This is a Konkani specialty and is very popular dessert at my home. This recipe goes to the event Iftar Moments Hijri 1431 hosted by Umm and Joys from Fasting to Feasting  by Lubna..

 Ingredients
3 cups grated bottle gourd
2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
3 teaspoon raisins
2 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoon chopped cashew nuts
3 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter

Method

Soak the raisins for 20-30 minutes in warm water. If the grated gourd is left around for a long time, it oxidizes and turns brown. So use it immediately after it is grated. Put the grated gourd and sugar in a pan and cook it covered on low heat. Stir it occasionally and avoid browning of the gourd. Cook the gourd till it turns transparent. Adjust the sugar and add more sugar as per your taste. Fry the cashew nuts till brown. Frying the cashew nuts brings out the flavor of the nuts. Add the cardamom and heavy cream to the halwa. Stir well. Garnish the halwa witht he nuts and the raisin. Serve it hot or chilled.



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Corn Soup




This is the one of my favorite winter soups. It has all my favorite vegetables and especially the yummy flavor of corn. This recipe goes to the event Iftar Moments Hijri 1431 hosted by Umm. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

2 cups sweet corn
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon onion
1/4 cup carrot and peas
1 egg
pepper for taste
salt for taste

Method

Boil the corn till soft. Grind the 1 1/2 cup corn with onion into a smooth paste. Cook the carrot and peas. Add the carrot, the remaining 1/2 cup corn and peas to the soup and get it to a boil. Separate the egg white and beat it well. Add this to the soup and stir it well to form thin strands of the egg white. Cook for 3-4 minutes and remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, soy sauce and vinegar. Stir soup well and serve hot.

Tips: If you want chicken corn soup, you can add shredded chicken to the soup and use chicken stock instead of water.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Dosa



This is one of the dosas I make very often. I add pumpkin to these dosas and is another way to make good use of pumpkin. I prefer these dosas to the urad dosas in winter as they are very light and digested more easily. Traditionally, grated coconut is added to the dosa batter. Coconut makes the dosas more softer and tastier, but I usually avoid using coconut in this dish due to the fat content in the coconut. I serve these dosas with ridgegourd peel chutney. It makes a very healthy breakfast.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup grated pumpkin
2 cups rice flour (optionally, wheat flour can be used instead of rice flour)
1/2 cup grated coconut (optional)
2 green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt or as per taste
oil for frying
Method

Chop the green chilies into small pieces. Mix in pumpkin, rice flour, grated coconut and salt as per taste. Add water to make a batter. The batter should not be very runny. Oil a pan or tava and spread a ladle full of batter on the tava. Cook covered till the side is cooked. Flip the dosa over and cook uncovered on the other side. Serve hot with chutney.



Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cashew Nut Candy / Batasha


This is another of my grandmother's recipes. She would usually make it for my evening snacks when I was around 4 years old. I would also feed some of the candy to my dolls - Nikita and Milli. I would store the rest in my small toy containers for the next day. When you make the candy, you need to stir the sugar syrup till it reaches a single thread consistency. I would be very tempted to put my pointing finger into the syrup and lick it as I would not realize that it is very hot. So my grandmother would keep strict eye on me while making the candy and prevent me from sticking my hands into the hot syrup. The other day I saw Paula Deen making nutty candy and I remembered my grandmother's batasha. I made this for me and my husband and we enjoyed this candy in the evening.

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts
1 tablespoon clarified butter or ghee

Method

Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan with ghee and 2 tablespoon water. Spread ghee on a china plate or an aluminum or steel plate in advance to spread the hot candy. Heat sugar till it melts and gets to a point of single-thread consistency. I test it by adding a drop of the sugar on the plate and check it if it solidifies. If it does not solidify, heat further. When it solidifies, add the chopped cashew nuts and mix well. Put the mixture on the plate immediately, else it will harden in the pan and form a solid mass. Spread the mixture well on the plate with help of a spoon. When it cools down, cut it into pieces. Enjoy the candy.


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Yardlong beans Sabzi / Chawli Upkari


Chawli sabzi is one of the easiest sabzi's to make and is also very nutritious. It is served with spicy curries like rasam or sambhar. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1 bunch of yardlong beans
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon coconut oil or any other oil
2-3 green chilies
3 tablespoon grated coconut
salt for taste

Method
Wash the yardlong beans and chop them into 1 inch pieces. In a pan, add oil and heat it. Put mustard in the pan and when it splutters, add green chilies. Add the cut yardlong beans. Add 2 cups water and cook the beans till soft. Add salt for taste and mix well. Garnish with grated coconut.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween

I have always been interested in craft and art. When I heard about Halloween, I was very tempted to carve a pumpkin. As an amateur, I bought a small pumpkin and made a handmade design on it and carved it with my kitchen knife. I wanted to make a funny looking pumpkin than a more serious or scary one. Later I came to know that there are special tools available in the market to carve pumpkins. This is the pumpkin I carved in 2008. I am sending this to the event hosted at Chef In You .

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ridge gourd or Turai Chutney


This is a very simple and tasty chutney. Traditionally, only the ridge gourd peels are used to make this chutney, but I add the ridge gourd pieces with skin. The ridge gourd skin had lot of vitamins and provides a very good texture to the chutney. This chutney uses very less coconut because of the dense texture of the ridge gourd. It goes very well with dosas and idlis. Ridge gourd can sometimes be bitter. Ridge gourds have cheated me many times. I would make the dish using the ridge gourd and then find that the dish is bitter due to the ridge gourd. Now a days, I taste pumpkin, ridge gourd, cucumbers, summer squash and bottle gourds before using it in any dish. Taste the ridge gourd before frying it or you could end up with a bitter chutney.

Ingredients
1 cup ridge gourd with skin (or just the skin of 2 ridge gourds)
2 tablespoon grated coconut
5-6 garlic pods
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon jeera
small piece of tamarind
2 -3 green chilies or as per taste
salt for taste
oil

Method

Fry the onion, garlic and jeera in a teaspoon of oil. Fry till onion is brown and th garlic is pink. Add the ridge gourd or the skin and fry for 10-15 minutes on a medium flame till it is light brown.

( If you don't have much time to make the chutney, the fried onion and ridge gourd can be stored in the freezer before hand and then ground it with other ingredients when you need the chutney). Grind the onion and ridge gourd/ skin with other ingredients into a fine paste. I don't season this chutney as it already has a great flavor from garlic and onion.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Pumpkin Sabzi





This is another of the winter sabzi made with butternut squash or pumpkin. This sabzi is spicy and sour due to use of amchur or dry mango powder. This balances the sweet taste of the pumpkin. Read more about pumpkin here. Peas, or beans can also be added to this sabzi. When I visited Calcutta, I had brinjal and pumpkin sabzi. I will post this sabzi recipe later.

Ingredients

3 cups cubed pumpkin
1 medium sized onion
1/2 teaspoon kalonji or Nigella sativa
1/2 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon sauf or fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or as per taste
4 fenugreek seeds or methi seeds
1/2 teaspoon jeera powder
3/4 teaspoon amchur or dry mango powder
salt for taste
1 tablespoon oil
Method

Chop the onion finely. Add 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add the jeera, sauf, methi and kalonji seeds. Add onion and fry it till brown. Now add the pumpkin, chili powder, turmeric powder, amchur powder. Add 1 cup water and cook covered till the pumpkin is soft. Add salt and serve hot.


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thai Forest Curry


I love Thai food as they use a lot of vegetables and lemon grass. One of my friend had invited us some weeks back and made excellent Thai curry with chicken and vegetables. Upon asking, she gave me this Thai curry paste which she had used to prepare the curry.
Some time back after shopping at the Mountain View Farmer's market we went to Amrin Thai restaurant for lunch. We tried the forest curry and it tasted similar to the curry paste which my friend had given me. I also loved this curry because it didn't have coconut (which is a major source of fat in Konkani cooking and we try to avoid the excess use of coconut in our day-to-day cuisine). It also was very spicy and I thought it would make a great dish for people suffering from cold, cough or sore throat. The next week, I bought Shiitake mushrooms and lemon grass from the farmer's market and tried to make this curry just like it had tasted at Amrin Thai. I am not sure if I used all the correct ingredients used in Thai curry, but it turned out to be great.

Ingredients
8-10 Shiitake mushrooms
2 cups chopped vegetables (choose or mix and match from pumpkin, brocoli, beans, carrot, baby corn)
1/2 capsicum
2 tablespoon long sliced bamboo shoots
3-4 strands of coriander or cilantro leaves
6-7 very thin slices of ginger
2 tablespoon lemon grass chopped in rings
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon red curry paste or as per taste
pepper powder for taste
3 byadgi or kashmiri chilies
1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or as per taste
salt for taste
1 teaspoon oil

Method

Soak the red chilies in water for 20 minutes. Slit the chilies and remove the seeds and grind it into a very fine paste with 1 cup of water. Add another cup of water to this paste and add ginger, pepper powder, garlic cloves and lemon grass root and boil it for 20 minutes. Discard the garlic cloves. Add red curry paste, tamarind juice. Slice the capsicum and fry it on all sides in one teaspoon of oil. Add the capsicum, bamboo shoots, mushroom and vegetables and boil till soft. Garnish with coriander leaves.


Preparation time: 50 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Quick Panipuri in 20 minutes !!/ Golgappa


I love Indian street chat food. So I try to make some or the other chat or snacks during the weekends. We had been to one chat place few weeks back and the chat food there was not at all good. So I had this panipuri project in mind to reminisce the chat food I used to have in Pune. Pani means "Water" and puri means crispy fried puffed chips. It is possible to make puris at home, but I usually get it ready made from the Indian store. We would get amazing chat food in the City area and in Aundh. I have also made panipuri's in India and I would be the panipuri wala bhaiya making the puris while my father and sister would compete for eating the puris. This weekend I tried making panipuri and my husband and myself devoured many panipuris.

Ingredients
Ready made Puris from the Indian grocery store
2-3 potatoes
2 cups of sprouted moong or green gram (boiled kabuli chana or chick peas can also be used)
ice cubes
sev (optional)

For Metha Pani
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate or tamarind water
1 1/2 cup grated or cut gur or jaggery
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or as per taste
salt for taste

For Theeka Pani
2 tablespoon Everest jaljeera masala
1/4-1/2 teaspoon kala namak or black salt
4-5 green chilies
1 handful coriander leaves
around 10-15 mint leaves
1 teaspoon amchur
1 tablespoon ginger chopped

Method

Peel and cut the potato into small cubes. Boil the potato and moong in the microwave.

Sweet chutney: Mix all the meetha pani ingredients and add water as per desired consistency. I like it more watery, so I added 2 cups of water. Get the meetha pani to a boil in the microwave (I heated it for 5 minutes). Add ice cubes to the water to cool it down.


Theekha chutney: Grind the green chilies, coriander leaves, ginger and mint leaves with 1 cup of water. Strain it one and keep the water aside. Grind the remaining green residue with another cup of water to extract all the flavor of the herbs. Strain again and mix the strained water with the previously extracted water. Add rest of the theekha chutney ingredients and salt as per desired taste. Add ice cubes if you desire cold pani.

Assemble the puris, pani and potato and moong. Take a puri and break the top lid. Put the desired quantity of moong and potato in the puri. Add desired amount of the theeka and meetha pani. Garnish with sev and eat it immediately.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin and Corn Soup



This is an awesome soup for cold and windy winter days. I use both the pumpkin flowers (if available) and pumpkin to make this soup. I also add tomato to balance the sweet taste of the pumpkin. This soup is a great source of beta carotenes (vitamin A) and it helps to protect and provide immunity against cold and cough. Both my husband and myself love to have this on a cold evening after coming home from work.

Ingredients
1 cup cubed pumpkin
1/2 cup cooked corn kernel
1 tomato chopped
2 inch piece of carrot
1 teaspoon cumin powder
pepper for taste
salt for taste

Method
Boil or pressure cook the vegetables in one to one and half cup of water till the vegetables are soft. Blend the vegetables with cumin powder and pepper. Add desired quantity of water and corn to pureed vegetables and get the soup to a boil. Season with salt and serve hot.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bhindi Do Pyaza / Okra and Onion Stir Fry



Come winter and I like spicy and hot dishes. I lose interest in eating the cold salads, heavy rice items and raitas. We tend to eat more of roti and wheat items during winter. This is one of the recipes I make to spice up our winter. Bhindi Do Pyaza goes well with roti or rice and dal. As the name of the recipe suggests, a lot of onion or pyaz is used. As it takes a lot of time to fry the onions, you can fry in before hand, store it in the freezer and use it when making Bhindi Do Pyaza. Here is the recipe.



Ingredients
1 pounds of okra or bhindi
2 large onions
1/4 teaspoon kalongi seeds or Nigella sativa
one pinch sauf or fennel
1 teaspoon amchur or dry mango powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder or as per taste
1 teaspoon kasuri methi leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
3/4 teaspoon coriander powder
2 pinches asafoetida
1 tablespoon cut slivers of ginger
salt
oil

Method
Mince one large onion into a fine paste. Add 3 tablespoon oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and kalonji seeds. Fry or bhuno for a minute and add the onion. Fry the onion on a medium-low flame, stirring occasionally till the onion is light brown.
Slice rest of the onion and fry in 2 tablespoon oil till transparent.


Mix both the minced and sliced onion. Add turmeric powder, amchur, chili powder, salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, sauf, ginger,kasuri methi leaves and asafoetida. Cut the bottom and top portion of the bhindi and add it to the masala. Mix it well with the masala.

Cover and cook till the bhindi is soft. Check for salt and chili powder. Then, cook uncovered for 10 minutes till it is dry.


Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves: 2

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dill Sabzi / Sepu Sabzi

I make this curry mostly during the weekends, when we get fresh dill from the farmer's market. This is a Maharashtrian sabzi and dill is considered good for all digestive problems.

Ingredients
1 bunch of dill
1/4 cup chana dal or split chick peas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
4 pinches asafoetida
2 green chilies
salt for taste
oil

Method

Waash and soak chana dal for 20-30 minutes. Cut the dill into one inch thin pieces. In a pan, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add cumin seeds,asafoetida and finely chopped green chili. Fry for a minute. Add chana dal and 1/2 cup water. Add coriander powder. Cook the chana dal till soft. Add chopped dill and cook covered till the dill is soft. Season with salt and Serve hot with roti or rice.


Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves:2

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stuffed Bitter gourd / Bharwan Karela

I ate this dish at my friend's home and loved it. Bitter melon or bitter gourd is one of the most loved vegetables at my home. I usually make fritters or sabzi with it. But this is a unique dish where the bitter melon is stuffed with sweet and sour stuffing and shallow fried in a pan. It turned out to be delicious and here is the recipe.

Ingredients

4 bitter melon/ bitter gourd or karela
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1/4 teaspoon dry mango powder or amchur
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder or as per taste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoon grated jaggery or gur
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1 garlic clove (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt for taste
oil for frying

Method

Wash and peel the bitter melon. Make a slit on each bitter melon and remove the seeds with a spoon. When you make the slit, ensure that the bitter melon should not be slit into two parts. If you don't like the bitterness of the karela, then rub salt on it and keep it for 20-30 min. Squeeze all the bitter from the melon.
In a pan add a tablespoon of oil and add jeera. Fry it for a minute and add the ginger and garlic. Add chopped onion and fry it till golden brown. Add chopped tomato and cook it till soft. Now add all the powders and jaggery and stir well it all the spices are well blended into the masala.



Stuff this masala into every bitter melon. Tie the bitter melon with a string to avoid the masala from coming out while frying it.

Add a tablespoon of oil in a flat pan. Drop all the tied bitter melon in the pan and fry on a medium flame till all the sides are golden brown. Serve hot with chapatti or rice.




Preparation time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lentil Curry without Coconut / Konkani Sar Upkari

This is one of the healthy dishes made with lentils. Coconut is not used to make this curry. I make this dish very often during the weekends when we feel like eating something light. While boiling the vegetables and the beans, add just the required amount of water. The water in which the vegetables and beans are boiled is used to liquidify the curry, so don't throw the water after boiling the vegetables. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup lentils (choose from white navy beans or whole toor dal, whole peas, whole dried yellpw peas, whole moong, whole mooth, whole chana, horse gram (kulith), adzuki beans, black eyed beans
)
1/2 cup cubed vegetables(choose from ash gourd, raw papaya, potato, yam(suran), bottle gourd)
1 teaspoon coconut oil or any oil
2-3 green chilies
salt for taste

Seasoning:
3-4 pods of garlic
Or
1 teaspoon mustard
1 pinch of asafoetida

Method
Soak the beans over night. Wash the beans and pressure cook them with slit green chilies and 1/4 teaspoon salt till the beans are soft. Cook the cubed vegetable in water till soft. Add the vegetables to the beans. In a seasoning pan add oil and heat it. Add crushed garlic pods and fry the pods till they are pink in color. Optionally, you can add mustard and asafoetida to the oil instead of garlic. Add the seasoning to the curry and adjust salt. Serve hot with rice and dal.




Preparation time: 25 minutes excluding soaking time
Serves: 3-4


Kolhapuri Vegetable Curry / Rassa Bhaji


This is a very spicy and tangy curry which is perfect to have on a cold, rainy day. Kolhapuri curries or sabzi is spicy and very flavorful. Kolhapuri chicken and mutton curries are very popular in Maharashtra. "Rassa" means gravy, so the curries usually have quite a bit of gravy with the meat or vegetables. I decided to try this rassa curry using vegetables. The red color of the curry is due to the byadgi chili I use in the masala. This chili is mild in pungency and imparts a very red color to the curry. Alternatively, Kashmiri chili can also be used to impart red color.  Byadgi or kashmiri chilies are less pungent in flavor. Other varieties of chilies can be used to impart more pungency. Here is the recipe.


Ingredients
1 capsicum
1 potato
3 cups cauliflower cut into big pieces of 2 inches each
1/2 cup peas
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
3 medium tomatoes
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
4-5 red chilies (byadgi)
1/2 inch stick of cinnamon
3 tablespoon grated coconut
3 cloves
1/4 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
2 cardamom
6 tablespoon coriander leaves or cilantro
2-3 pepper corn
oil for frying
salt for taste

Method
Cut capsicum into two inch pieces each and fry it for 5-10 minutes till brown on all sides. Fry cauliflower for 4-5 minutes on high flame till crisp. Chop onion into small pieces. In a tablespoon of oil add chopped ginger and onion. Fry onion till brown. Chop tomatoes into small pieces and add it to the onion. Cook tomato till soft.
Soak red chilies in water for 5-10 minutes. Grind red chilies, coconut, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, coriander seeds and cumin seeds into a very fine paste. Add this paste to the tomato-onion mixture. Add tamarind and salt for taste. Add the vegetables in the curry and cook the curry till the vegetables are soft. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with roti or rice



Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Friday, October 3, 2008

Black Bean Sabzi




Black beans is also known by the name "Kala Police" in Pune. Not aware of why the name "Kala Police", but it makes a very tasty sabzi. I grind all the spices fresh and that also gives a distinct flavor to the sabzi. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup black beans
2 medium onions
1 tomato
2 garlic cloves
4-5 tablespoon cilantro or coriander leaves chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4-5 kashmiri chilies
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon jaggery or gur
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt for taste

Method

Wash and soak black beans for 8-10 hours. Wash the beans well and keep aside. Chop the onion and tomato into small pieces. Add oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Add chopped garlic and onion and fry till the onion is brown in color. Add the tomato and cook till the tomato is soft. Fry the kashmiri chilies and coriander seeds for 4-5 minutes and powder them. Mix this powder and the jaggery with the masala. Add turmeric powder and 3 tablespoon coriander leaves to the masala. Cook for 3 minutes and add black beans and 1 1/2 cups of water. Add salt for taste and mix well. Pressure cook the beans till soft. Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves and garam masala. Serve hot with roti.

Preparation time: 40 minutes excluding soaking time
Serves: 2-3

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vegetables in Coconut Milk / Avial / Valval


This is another of traditional Manglorean vegetable curry. Traditionally, valval was made in plentiful during the rainy season when the vegetables like ivy gourds and cowpeas beans or yardlong beans were in plenty. It also uses vegetables like ridge gourd, pumpkin (it is a must), ashgourd, potato, magge ( yellow, oval cucumber)...I guess it is also called Dosakai (they name it so at my local Indian grocery store.). You may also add carrot, peas, snappeas and normal or baby corn. The recipe uses coconut milk, which can be easily found in Indian or International grocery stores in the US, or can be prepared using the following recipe. Here is the recipe for valval.

Ingredients
1/2 cup cubed pumpkin
1/2 cup yardlong beans chopped into 1 inch long pieces
11/2 cups of mixed vegetable (choose from
ivy gourds, ridge gourd, ashgourd, potato, magge, carrot, peas, snappeas, corn(baby or normal))
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or jeera
2 pinches haldi or turmeric powder (to obtain the light yellow color)
1 teaspoon ghee or clarified butter
6-7 curry leaves
3 green chilies (thai chilies) or as per taste
pinch of asafoetida
salt for taste

Tips:
The secret behind this dish or any other mixed vegetable is to cut the vegetables into almost equal pieces so that they cook evenly. Else you can cook all the vegetables separately. I usually cut the vegetables into inch to half inch long pieces.

I usually cook all the vegetables and when I switch off the heat, I add the ridge gourd pieces and cover the vessel. Ridge gourd cooks very fast and just the heat from the other cooked vegetables is sufficient to cook it.

The ridge gourd can be skinned or be used with the skin. I skin the ridge gourd and use the skin to make chutney. I never throw the ridge gourd skin as it contains lot of nutrients. I sometimes even leave the skin in the freezer if I am not using it immediately.
I skin the pumpkin, but in India we get pumpkin with a thin skin and we usually don't remove the skin. Same with the ash gourd. You need not skin the other vegetables.
Do not throw the water in which the vegetable are boiled. You can add this to the curry to get it to a desired consistency or use it as vegetable stock to flavor soups.
I cook all the vegetables together with around 1/4 teaspoon salt so that they are salted before adding them to the curry. But be careful when you salt the curry.

Method

Cook all the vegetables till soft. Heat the coconut milk with slit green chilies. When the coconut milk is heated, add the vegetables and get the curry to a boil. This will facilitate all the vegetable flavors to be blended in the curry. In a seasoning pan, add ghee and heat it. When it heats up add mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard seeds splutter, remove from heat and add cumin seeds, turmeric and curry leaves. Add this hot seasoning to the vegetables and cover the vessel with a lid.
The flavor of the seasoning will be absorbed by the curry. Serve the curry hot with rice.


Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves: 3-4

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kabuli Chana Stir fry




I usually make this as a quick snack for evenings. Chick pea is considered to be very nutritious and contains large amounts of protein and is good for growing children. My grand mother would make this every alternative day for me. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients
1/2 cup chick peas or kabuli chana
1 teaspoon ghee (preferably) or oil
salt and pepper as per taste

Method

Soak the kabuli chana for 8- 10 hours and pressure cook it till soft. Heat ghee in a pan. Add the kabuli chana and fry for 4-5 minutes. Garnish it with salt and pepper powder and serve hot.