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{Vegan MoFo 2013} Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu Recipe

Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu

Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu

Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu is the perfect accompaniment to Paalappam. It is a classic breakfast dish. The vegetable ishtu is a medley of vegetables simmered in the naturally sweet coconut milk. There is no holy grail in recipes and each one does what they like best. I have blogged a recipe for Ishtu earlier when I wrote the recipe for another favourite of mine, Idiappam or String Hoppers. Here is the current favourite version of ishtu, the addition of caramelized onion on the top, adds a nice depth to the flavour of this dish.

Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu

Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu

Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu (Serves 4)

Mixed vegetables – 2 ½ cups, cut into small square pieces (carrot, potato, cauliflower, beans, peas)

Onion – 2 medium, 1 to be chopped roughly, the other to be sliced in semi circles and set aside.

Green chilli – 1, slit lengthwise

Oil – 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon

Whole Garam Masala – 1 star anise, 2 one inch sticks of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 4-5 pepper corns, 1 cardamom split open

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Salt to taste

Coconut Milk (Thick) – 1 cup ( I used coconut milk from a carton)

1 tsp finely chopped / julienned fresh ginger

½ tsp sugar

Coconut Oil – 1/2 te


In a pan heat the oil and fry the sliced onions till golden brown on a gentle heat. Remove the onions onto a plate and set aside. Continue to add the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper corns in the same oil, after a few seconds add the julienned ginger, chopped onion and green chilly.

When the onions turn transparent, add the vegetables, ½ a cup of water, salt and cover and steam for about 7-8 minutes till the vegetables are tender, cooked but not mushy.

Add the coconut milk, ½ cup of water (or adjust according to the consistency of gravy desired), simmer for a minute.  turn off the heat and let it stand for atleast 10 minutes before serving.

Heat the vegetable oil and coconut oil together, add curry leaves and allow them to sizzle, add the caramelized onion to this and take off the heat. pour this over the ishtu just before serving.  Serve with Idiappam or Paalappam

{Vegan MoFo 2013} ~ Semia/ Vermicelli Pulav Recipe

Vermicelli Pulav

Vermicelli Pulav

I am attempting something very brave this month, cooking and posting Vegan recipes all this month for the Vegan Month of Food where bloggers around the world will post vegan recipes all this month. Wish me luck dear readers as I do not fare very well with rules and schedules. the only other time I attempted to do something like this was when I joined Nupur in the blogging marathon. I was very rewarded although it was exhausting to post daily.


So to begin this marathon, I am posting a simple yet filling Indian breakfast / all day recipe of Semia Pulav. Semia is vermicelli which is extensively used in Indian cooking to make sweet and savoury preparations. On one occasion when Siri who is also doing this marathon visited me at home, I asked if she would have something to eat (it was past lunch time) and she said yes. I offered to make this Semia Pulav about 10 times. She must have thought that is the only dish I know how to make! She finally said “looks like you are determined to make me eat this, so yeah make it!”

Anyway, onto the recipe which is fairly simple. I like to add a dash of ready-made masala for a nice spice kick and lots of vegetables. A lot of people do not like to eat Vermicelli because it tends to have a sticky pasty consistency once cooked. This is due to the starch content in it. One way to combat this is to add a precise amount of water to cook it. Another way is to dry roast the vermicelli till golden to prevent it from turning mushy. I take the easy route out and buy pre roasted vermicelli. What? that’s 10 minutes off your active cooking time when you plan to make this!

Vermicelli Pulav Recipe

(time taken – 20 minutes, Serves – 2)

Vermicelli / Semia                   1 cup, pre roasted preferred, else dry roast in a medium hot pan, stirring gently till golden

Vegetables of Choice              1 cup (I used red capsicum, peas, carrot and carrot)

Onion                                        1 medium, sliced fine

Vegetable Oil                           1 tablespoon

Salt                                             to taste

Green Chilli                              1, slit

Fresh Ginger                           ½ inch piece, grated

Curry Leaves                           a few

Mustard Seeds                       1 teaspoon

Ready Masala Powder    1 teaspoon (I used Everest Pav Bhaji Masala, can substitute with ½ teaspoon garam masala + ½ teaspoon coriander powder)

Hot Water                                11/2 cups


In a medium pan, heat the oil and splutter the mustard. Add the curry leaves and green chilli along with the onions and fry till translucent, add the grated ginger, the chopped vegetables and half the salt.

Fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the pav bhaji masala (or garam masala) and fry for half a minute.

Now add the hot water and taste for salt, adjust with the remaining, when the water comes to a boil, slowly add the vermicelli and stir till the water is above the vermicelli. Cover with a loose lid and cook for 5-6 minutes or till the water has been absorbed, but it is still moist.

Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving with some raitha and pickle.

Mushrooms with Peas and Lotus Seeds

Posted on

In the throes of summer, I was quite fed up with all the salads and wanted to bite into some winter style Jeera rice and comforting gravy curry. All I had on hand were a bag of fresh mushrooms and some frozen peas. I also recenlty reorganised and cleaned out my pantry cupboard and found a bag of unused puffed lotus seeds, called makhana. I have eaten it in curries in vegetarian buffets here in hyderabad, but most preparations are made with cream and rather heavy. this was a quick preparation that took under 30 mins for both the rice and the curry and needed to be lite since its so damn hot here these days.

Mushrooms with Peas and Lotus Seeds

200 gms button mushrooms, cleaned and halved or quartered depending on their size

1/2 cup frozen / fresh peas

1 medium onion chopped

2 small tomatoes chopped

1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste / or a small piece of ginger and 2 pods garlic chopped/ smashed

1/2 teaspoon jeera / cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander / dhania powder

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

a pinch of turmeric powder

salt to taste

1/4 cup of milk

1 teaspoon oil

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves

1/2 cup of puffed lotus seeds

heat the oil in a pan and splutter the whole cumin. add the chopped onions and fry till they change colour. add the ginger garlic and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes and the red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric. cook for a few minutes till the tomatoes begin to shrink and are half cooked. Add the mushrooms and cover and cook on a low flame for 5 minutes. uncover, add the salt and the frozen / fresh peas and the puffed lotus seeds and cover & cook for another few minutes. open the lid, check for doneness and salt and chilli. adjust if needed. pour in the milk and stir everything around. bring to a gentle boil. turn off and serve hot with jeera rice or plain rice or rotis.

Simple Jeera Rice

this is very different from the Jeera Rice posted here 

I used unpolished basmati from the farm of a friend. and this rice is a little sticky cos it isnt polished too much. it also has the most amazing fragrance and flavour. All it needs is a little kick from the whole cumin and a little ghee. Overpowering the rice with a lot of whole spices, will be sacrilege. This is the kind of jeera rice that goes well with kadhi or rajma or this simple mushroom curry.

in a pressure cooker, heat one tablespoon of ghee. Splutter a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, add 1 cup of washed, soaked and drained basmati rice, 2 cups of water, salt to taste. Cook under pressure for 2 whistles. wait for the pressure to release, fluff with a fork and serve hot.

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