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Category Archives: vegetable side dishes – dry

{Quick Recipe} Baby Brinjals with Ginger and Kalonji

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Baby Brinjals

Baby Brinjals

I did a column recently for the newspaper I write for, emphasizing that most beginners in the kitchen shy away from Indian cooking on a weeknight because we think it is complicated, uses too many ingredients and is a multi step process. While this is true for elaborate recipes, there are an astounding number of dishes that can be made in under 20 minutes. For instance this brinjal dish, I like to make it with the freshest and most tender green baby brinjals I can find. With a light seasoning of kalonji, this cooks in less than 10 minutes. Perfect for a week night dinner and pairs well with both rice and roti.

This recipe can be made with any kind of brinjals, although I strongly recommend the green ones.

Baby Brinjals Saute ~ with Nigella Seeds (Kalonji) and Fresh Ginger

Baby Green Brinjals                    250 grams, stems removed and quartered

Onion                                             1 small, sliced (optional)

Green Chilli                                   1, finely chopped or crushed with a mortar and pestle

Fresh Ginger                                 1/2 inch piece, grated

Vegetable Oil                                 1 teaspoon

Kalonji or Nigella Seeds               1 teaspoon

Fresh Coriander Leaves              1 small bunch

Salt                                                  to taste

In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat till hot but not smoking. Make sure the oil is not overheated, as the kalonji seeds will burn easily and become bitter.

Splutter the kalonji seeds, add the onions and quartered brinjal together and saute for about 3-4 minutes, till the vegetables begin to wilt.

Add the crushed green chilli, grated ginger and salt to taste and stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 minutes, checking to see that the vegetable doesn’t stick to the pan.

Stir in the fresh coriander leaves, remove from the heat and serve hot with rice or rotis.

This dish cooks in the moisture from the brinjal, in steam because it is covered. If you prefer open pan cooking, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of water every few minutes, till the vegetable is cooked.

Baby Brinjals

Baby Brinjals

{Vegan MoFo 2013} Quick Schezwan Style Cauliflower Recipe (with ready made bottled sauces)

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

I love cauliflower in most forms. The first reason being, the vegetable lends itself beautifully to any recipe and absorbs flavours and spices very well. It can also be chopped into any size large or small and takes very little time to cook. A lot of Indian style preparations, overcook cauliflower and make it mushy. I like cauliflower to be firm yet cooked through and I find that depending on the cooking time, the texture can be preserved.

I made this as a party appetizer, but this is a versatile dish and can be served on the side with fried rice or noodles as well. Most grocery stores stock an array of readymade spice mixes. I stock a few to be able to make a few recipes at short notice. One of the mixes that I like is the Schezwan spice mix. there are several brands available and a teaspoon of this adds a nice kick to oriental style gravies, fried rice or even noodles.

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Cauliflower (Serves 4)

Cauliflower Florets                 2 cups

Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil                                                2 tablespoons

For the Sauce

Tomato Sauce                         4 tablespoons (I used tomato chilli sauce)

Soy Sauce                                 2 tablespoons

Garlic                                          2 pods, chopped

Ginger                                       1 inch piece, chopped tiny

Red Chilli Powder                  1 teaspoon

Schezwan Spices                   1 tablespoon (Available at all leading supermarkets)

Green Onion                           3, sliced, green and white parts separately

Onion                                        1 medium, chopped into large pieces

Method

Steam the cauliflower in sufficient water with salt for 4-5 minutes, drain and set aside. Do not overcook it.

Heat oil in a pan and sauté the cauliflower on high heat till it begins to get golden edges. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Remove the cauliflower pieces to a bowl.

In the same pan, add the finely chopped garlic and ginger and fry for a minute. Add the chopped onion and sauté till it turns translucent.

Add all the other ingredients except the green parts of the spring onions. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Add the sautéed cauliflower to this sauce and toss well to coat. Garnish with the green onions and serve.

{Vegan MoFo 2013} Thotakura Vepudu (Amaranth Leaves Stir Fry) ~ Andhra Style Recipe

In my maternal home, we always had a variety of greens growing in the yard. It was uncommon for us to buy any greens for the table, but for spinach which didn’t grow. We had tonnes of Amaranth, atleast 5-6 varieties of it, Malabar Spinach (three kinds), drumstick leaves, night shade spinach and some other stuff which are not commercially grown. My mother would step out, pluck enough for either a quick stir fry or a dal, step back inside and cook the greens all inside of 20 minutes. the taste of fresh greens is a treat and cannot be replicated by commercially grown greens one bit.

This dish was made from the fresh amaranth leaves I picked from my container garden. Its a glorified name for the assorted pots and old recycled buckets i have up on my terrace where I am attempting to grow a few vegetables and herbs. The bonus was this amaranth. It sprouted on its own because of the seeds present in the soil that was purchased. Each morning I go upstairs, sometimes with my dog Sage, sometimes just a cup of coffee, look around to see what seeds have sprouted, which plant is flowering or fruiting and get anxious if i see a pest or a plant wilting.

This is a very simple recipe, that gets done in no time. You can replace the amaranth leaves with spinach or any greens of your choice. Usually, we add chopped garlic to the greens to increase its flavour. this dish is a good accompaniment with steamed rice and dal / sambhar or roti.

Thotakura Vepudu

Thotakura Vepudu

Thotakura Vepudu (Andhra Style Amaranth Leaves Stir Fry – Serves 2)

Fresh Amaranth Leaves (Thotakura)               4-5 cups, tough stalks removed, washed, drained and chopped

onion                                                                          1 medium, chopped

Garlic Cloves                                                             2-3, skinned and chopped

oil                                                                                 1 teaspoon

salt                                                                               to taste

mustard seeds                                                       1 teaspoon

Whole cumin seeds                                              1 teaspoon

Green Chilli                                                              1, slit lengthwise

In a pan, heat the oil, splutter the cumin and mustard and add the chopped garlic. saute for a minute till aromatic, add the chopped onions and green chilli and fry till the onions are translucent. Add the washed, drained and chopped amaranth leaves and saute the greens a few times. the leaves will sweat and a lot of water will be released, which on a medium to low flame needs to be evaporated, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 4-5 minutes till the pan is almost dry but not sticking. Add the salt, taste and adjust. Switch off the heat and serve up with rotis or steamed rice and dal.

 

 

Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning Recipe (Step by Step Pictures)

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Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

I made this for lunch yesterday. My friend A was to come over and she always enjoys what I make. Unfortunately there was a mishap and her darling pooch Happy was injured and had to be rushed to the hospital and she couldn’t come. Happy has had a fracture and will undergo surgery on the weekend, send him your love and good energies. A, this is for you.

This is a simple recipe to bake and grill vegetables. I use the En Papilote method which means ‘in parchment’ ~ the food is put into a pocket made of parchment, aluminium foil or any other oven proof material and baked. While a lot of recipes for baked vegetables will do it open spread out on a baking dish, I find that the flavor of the seasoning is deeper and the vegetables cook more evenly this way. After cooking the vegetables covered in foil for a while, I remove the foil and grill them for a bit to char the edges. The result is deep flavors of seasoning, sweetness of the vegetables and crispy ends! Totally yummy!

My friends J & B love vegetables made this way. I never posted the recipe here because there is no way one can make grilled and baked vegetables look good! It’s such a good way of eating vegetables that I decided even if there were no good pictures, I had to post the recipe here.

I used whatever vegetables I had on hand. This is a very forgiving way of baking and grilling and almost any kind of vegetable tastes good.

Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning Recipe (Serves 3-4)

4 Cups of Vegetables cut into medium wedges ( use assorted colored peppers, potato – sweet and regular),  onion, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, green beans, zucchini etc)

salt to taste

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning (or a seasoning of your choice)

1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder (or Sweet Paprika)

1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled

Method

Wash and pat dry the vegetables. Cut them into medium wedges.

Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

Mix the vegetables with the rest of the ingredients except the salt in a large bowl, check the seasoning and add salt to taste.  Let it stand for 10 minutes while you pre heat your oven to 200 C

Place a large piece of aluminium foil in your baking tray, enough to be fastened into a pouch once the vegetables are arranged.

Seal the edges of the foil to make a pouch

Seal the edges of the foil to make a pouch

Layer the vegetables onto the foil covered baking tray and close the ends to form a pouch.

Bake at 200C for 20 minutes. Wear Oven gloves and take the baking tray out of the oven, carefully with a knife open out the closed pouch.

Baked and out of the oven

Baked and out of the oven

Wear oven gloves and be very careful as the steam is very hot and you can scald yourself. 

Turn on the grill of your oven, turn the foil downwards from the baking tray, place the vegetables back into the oven and grill for 5 minutes till the edges of the vegetables are beginning to char.

Grilled after baking

Grilled after baking

Remove, rest the vegetables for 5 minutes before serving.

Mangalore Style Potato Sukke

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Potato Sukke

Mangalore Style Potatoes with freshly ground masala

I made this for the weekly recipes I write for Hans India. It turned out fabulous even if I say so myself! I took inspiration from my dear namesake’s recipe. Who by the way, visited me last month from Singapore, baby A and husband in tow. We spent the whole day together, talking, shopping, talking, eating, talking and shopping some more! What can I say, apart from the fact that we share the same name, we apparently have a deep abiding love for our voices. After we were done with all the talking and other stuff in between, we headed to my place, to be joined by her child and our respective spouses for a lovely evening that ended too quickly at roughly 3 a.m. These are the things blogging has given me…friends…for life.

Here is the recipe. Make it on a day when you are bored of plain fried potatoes. The coconut and red chillies really jazz it up. Tastes best with hot rice and dal or rasam.

Potato Sukke (serves 2-3)

Sukke is a semi dry preparation made with freshly roasted masalas.

Potatoes                                              6 medium, boiled, peeled and cubed

For the Sukke Masala

Freshly Scraped Coconut            ¼ cup

Dry Red Chillies                               3-4

Tamarind Paste                                1 tablespoon

Whole Coriander Seeds                 1 teaspoon

Fenugreek Seeds                              ¼ teaspoon

Turmeric                                             ¼ teaspoon

For the tempering

Oil                                                          1 teaspoon

Mustard Seeds                                  1 teaspoon

Curry Leaves                                     a few

Asafetida                                             a pinch

Dry roast the fenugreek and coriander seeds in a pan. Grind them along with the coconut, red chillies, turmeric, tamarind paste and a little bit of water to a smooth paste.

  • Add the masala to the boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes and mix to coat them like a marinade

In a pan, heat the oil, splutter the mustard seeds, curry leaves, add the asafetid.

Add the potato mixture to this and a little water if needed. Cook this covered, stirring a couple of times for about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and cook a few more minutes till it is almost dry. Serve hot with rice and sambhar, dal or rasam.

Accompaniment Suggestions

Pepper Rasam

Tomato Dal

Dosakaya Pappu (Lemon Cucumber Dal)

Sambhar

Quick Cooking ~ Garlic Infused Green Beans

green beans

green beans

I prefer my vegetables cooked but still retaining a crunch and as much natural colour as possible. It was a tough task to reach middle ground with K, he comes from a family where their vegetables are cooked to a mush. Oh, and they are cut into miniscule shreds before said cooking.

Here’s a fusion vegetable preparation. crisp vegetable of choice (I have repeated this with cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and even bell peppers), chilli flakes, garlic pods, salt and a little oil = yummy. goes well with indian and indian versions of western/ continental food as a side or what do they call it? Ah, Warm Salad!

Garlic Infused Green Beans

(Serves 2-3)

2 cups green beans, topped and tailed, strings removed and chopped into inch long pieces

1 teaspoon oil

salt to taste

1 teaspoon red chilli flakes

2 pods of garlic, skinned and chopped fine

a few curry leaves

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

In a bowl, add the green beans and 1/4 cup of water, steam in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. You could do this on the stove top too. Stop cooking when the beans are still green and retain a nice crunch.

heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and crackle. Throw in the garlic and saute for half a minute, do not allow it to turn brown. Add the curry leaves and the steamed and drained green beans, toss about. Add the red chilli flakes, salt and toss for 2 minutes till everything is nicely coated.

Serve warm with rotis and dal. Or (skip the curry leaves) and serve as a warm salad with one of these soups.

How to Make Stuffed Bhindi with Store Bought Spices

this has been sitting in my drafts for a few months now… but better late than never….

Ever since Nupur called for looking into your pantry, i have been so inspired that i shall be continuing to post recipes here that have been the result of forcing myself to look into the inner recesses of my pantry and fridge.

K loves ladies finger. If you serve it to him everyday even, there wont be a complaint. I end up taking the easy route out and make a quick vegetable stir fry out of them. I had been eyeing a few recipes of bharwan bhindi or ladies finger stuffed with masala and fried whole. each recipe i looked at had a spice blend that was high on coriander powder, amchur or dry mango powder and chickpea flour or besan.  I rifled through my stockpile of store bought ready spices and found a packet of Rasam Powder. what does one do with the many assorted kinds of masalas that one acquires over time. this one i bought from a stall at an exhibition. it was a womens self employment group, and i picked up some munchies and this masala. long after the munchies were gone, i still had this packet that admittedly did’nt make very good rasam. not when i had my own killer recipe anyways. so i went back to the recipes of bharwan bhindi and decided whats good for rasam should be good for bhindi too!  so here it is. I cooked them crisp on a low flame in  anonstick flat bottomed pan. if you dont like to spend too much time, use a little more oil to get the job done faster!

Bharwan Bhindi (Stuffed Ladies Finger) with Rasam Powder

Serves 3

Time Taken: 30 mins

20 tender ladies finger (top snipped off and slit length wise without cutting it through)

3 heaped tablespoons readymade rasam powder or substitute by mixing together 2 tablespoons ground coriander powder + 1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin) powder + 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

salt to taste

1 heaped teaspoon besan (gram flour)

1 heaped teaspoon amchur powder (dried mango powder)

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon oil

wash and drain the ladies finger. lay out on a soft cloth or paper towels and pat dry. cut off the heads and slit lengthwise without slitting them fully. Make a paste of all the dry powders with the water. it should be a thick paste. with your fingers, stuff this masala into the slit lady fingers. heat the oil in the pan and add the stuffed vegetable to the pan. ensure they are laid out flat, if they’re crowded, they wont fry crisp. you may need to do this in two batches if your pan cant accommodate all of them at one go. fry them on a low flame for about 8 mins till they are crisp on the underside, flip over and cook the same way on the other side. Serve when they are still warm. since this is dry. goes well with Rice and a gravy or dal.

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