Monday, August 7, 2017

तरबूज़ के छिलके की सब्ज़ी - Watermelon Rind

We talk about sustainable crops, fiber in the diet and food wastage in the Western hemisphere while people are starving in certain parts of the world. Though my Mom used to cook it, and I had eaten it in my childhood days, lately I had forgotten about it.  This dish is prepared using the normally discarded Watermelon rinds. If we peel the outer green skin away then we can use the white/pink outside flesh which is not so sweet and it can be used as a vegetable. The recipe here is a mish-mash of sorts and I have used a typical Bengali tempering using Panchphoren (5 seeds - mustard, fenugreek, cumin, fennel, wild onion)

In a pot, take oil, temper with Panchphoren and wait till the seeds blossom, add the whole dry red peppers and then the cut rind. Saute for a minute, cover and cook on slow heat for 5 minutes. Add turmeric, salt and cook till tender. Best served with Paranthas - whole wheat, layered, fried bread.

Enjoy and feel satisfied that you have contributed to a GREEN effort and
reduced your carbon footprint 😀😀

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Arvi Masala

Onion Garlic pureed and fried in oil over slow heat with turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder for 20 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent sticking at the bottom.

Peel the arvi and cut lengthwise in 4 to 6 pieces. Wear gloves if you are allergic to the vegetable which contains Oxalic acid and can cause rashes and/or hives in some people. Under-cooked tubers can also irritate the throat.
In a separate pan heat some desi ghee, add ajwain seeds and then fry the cut arvi for 5 minutes.

In a separate pan heat some desi ghee, add ajwain seeds and then fry the cut arvi for 5 minutes.

Add the fried arvi to the masala

sorry, too much steam obscuring the picture

Saute for 5 minutes, add water, check salt, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves and a little garam masala before serving it with Roti (whole wheat)
And much to my consternation, all the dhania leaves in the fridge had gone bad. ☹
Onion Kachumber and green hot peppers go well as an accompaniment

Arvi - another root vegetable, Recipe 1

Actually it is the stem part of the plant, a rhizome like ginger but with a smooth, creamy flesh. Choose ones with rounded ends on each side for this dish - the ones which are pointed on one end are more fibrous, so I was told, many a times by my Dad. Boil the roots, starting in cold water and when the water comes to a boil, turn down to simmer, add salt and cook with lid on. Depending on the size they should boil between 20-35 minutes. I have no idea about the time if using a pressure cooker for the same task. Drain, cool and peel why still warm, as it peels much easily. Cut in rounds 1/4 inch thick.

In a pan heat oil (be liberal and take more), add Ajwain (also called Omum, Carom, Bishop's Weed) and wait till it splutters. Move pan away from fire and add the turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and the slit green chillies.

Add the boiled Arvi, reduce heat and mix gently to coat with masala on all sides, add salt, and allow to cook on slow fire, turning to cook and brown evenly.

Sprinkle chopped cilantro when done. Lot of people add Amchoor (raw mango, dried and powdered), I would much prefer to squeeze a lime on it before serving.
Serve with whole wheat parathas, Mooli (daikon) lachha salad, and ginger pickled in lemon juice.

Monday, July 31, 2017

चुकन्दर मसाला - Beetroot in onion masala

Beetroot - yet another vegetable where you can eat the root, the stem and the leaves. Have never seen the flowers but I am sure I would find a way to cook and eat them too. This here, is a recipe from my childhood days that Mom used to make. I loved having it with steamed rice and a dollop of desi ghee (sound familiar 😲 right ? 😲) on top.
Here it has been prepared in an onion (2 medium sized) and garlic (10 cloves) puree which is fried (bhuno-ed) in ghee, and then further sauteed for 5 minutes with turmeric, cayenne powder and coriander powder. Add the chopped stems, stir 2-3 minutes, then add the grated beetroot and cook for 15-20 minutes till tender. Add the chopped leaves, salt and cook another 5 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala and chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice. Can also be enjoyed with wholewheat roti (flatbread)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Gatta Curry - from Rajasthan

From Rajasthan, the desert state of the Rajput warriors comes this dish. Gatta aka 'Takey Paise' are spiced gramflour rolls, poached and then cut to resemble the golden guineas of the past. It is one of those unique dishes to represent a state, community as well as a style of cooking. The recipe here is from the Jain and Marwari households who are vegetarians and do not even eat onion and garlic. In fact some orthodox Jains do not eat any vegetable which grows below the ground - so no potatoes, carrots, turnips, colocasia, ginger for them.

To make Gattas - gramflour, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, pinch of hing, a teaspoon of oil and little cumin seeds. Add a little water and make a very hard dough. portion it out and make 3/4" diameter rolls using your palm - maybe 8-10 long. The surface should be smooth and not cracking open. Cover with moist napkin and leave aside. Being water to a boil in a wide mouth vessel, add salt and then boil the gatta rolls for 25 minutes on simmering heat. Take out carefully on to a greased surface and allow to cool. Cut them into 1/4' thick roundels.

To make the sauce we heat some Desi Ghee (clarified butter), add the cumin seeds and as they blossom, move the pan away from the heat and add all the powders and cloves in the fat. Stir it, without allowing it to burn and quickly add the beaten up yogurt. Bring the pot back to the flame, and bring the liquid to a boil while stirring continuously. The yogurt may curdle but that is OK. Once the gravy is boiling, add the cut Gattas to it, wait for the boil to return, add salt, and set it on simmer for next 20-25 minutes. Add cilantro and serve - best enjoyed with Roti (wholewheat flatbreads). If the yogurt is too sour you may add a pinch of sugar.

You can crush the cloves for better flavor

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Goat Stew with preserved Lemons and Mint

Surfing the net is fun and sometimes one comes across recipes/dishes/pictures that spark your interest and imagination. Was reading about this Moroccan Goat stew and wondering about a few puzzling ingredients when in walks a lady from - yes, Morocco of course to solve away my problems. So this morning decided to make use of the recipe with slight modifications. Instead of buying Preserved Lemons, decided to use a pickle that my Mom had made 20+ years back which has gotten totally dehydrated sitting in the refrigerator all these years. Got a chance to use the mint leaves also that I had dried last year. So folks, grab a thick bottom pan, look up the ingredients in the picture and mix everything and add salt and oil. That is it, bring to a boil, cover and leave to simmer away for 1.5 to 2 hours till done. You may pressure cook it for 25-30 minutes. I had forgotten to add the green hot peppers, so threw them in at the end and cooked for 5 extra minutes. Serve with Nan or Pita bread. I would even serve it with steamed rice. Or maybe Couscous.
Note: check the salt content of the preserved lemons before adding salt to the dish.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Shorshe Baingan (eggplant in freshly prepared mustard)

First of though it is a Bengali dish, I had never tasted it while in India. This is my wife Sonali's creation since she knows I love Eggplants - cooked in any possible way. So today I found some home made Kasundi (prepared mustard) in the fridge and decided to replicate what my better half has been feeding me. Once again the ingredients are listed in the order they go in to the pan and pictures will give a good enough idea of the quantity and proportion.
Mustard Oil, Kalaunji (wild onion seeds), Whole dry red peppers, Eggplant, Fresh ground mustard seeds, Salt. The coriander leaf on top is optional and I just might get some flack from the Purists :)

Again, like most Bengali dishes, this too best enjoyed with steamed rice.