Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Baby Corn Masala (Vegan)

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Baby Corn Masala is a semi dry curry made by tossing stir fried Baby Corn in a North Indian style tomato masala gravy.

baby corn masala tomato gravy north indian curry

I’m all into Baby Vegetables this week. First came the baby potatoes simmers in a delicate creamy gravy a.k.a Punjabi Dum Aloo. In case you missed it, check it out here.

Now it is the time for Baby Corn to shine in this super simple Vegan Baby Corn Masala.

I go through phases in my cooking. One week it is the all down to earth pure South Indian meals with simple vegetables cooked in their own juices with just a simple tempering of mustard, green chilli and curry leaves and finished off with a generous helping of grated coconut. Ah! I just LOVE love love fresh Coconut. I even made Raj get me some fresh Coconut oil from Karkala and it tastes amazing.

baby corn masala tomato gravy north indian curry

Anyway, my next week is all full blown Masala curries or other cuisines I love – Italian, Chinese or Thai. This last week was full on North Indian week. I’ve been busy making grilled Paneer, Punjabi Dum Aloo and now Baby Corn Masala.

Now this recipe is very similar to most North Indian curries you have made and very similar to the Vegatable Jalfrezi that I made earlier (which was super AWESOME, btw). 

It is made by sautéing onions, ginger-garlic paste and tomato puree until the oil separates. But don’t be upset if this never happens for you. It rarely happens when I cook too. For oil to separate, there needs to be sufficient quantity of oil in the pan before you add the ingredients, and I usually skimp on the oil. As far as you fry it sufficient enough, the oil-no oil should not be any problem. 

Then add the tomatoes and cook them until oil “separates”, but seriously, don’t worry about it separating, just as long as the tomatoes are cooked and the flavor has intensified, you should be good to go.

baby corn masala tomato gravy north indian curry

I stir fried the baby corn separately and added it. I’ve found that baby corn never softens, no matter how much I cook it. I like that in a way, since I don’t need to worry about over cooking it, but sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it wrong. But I’m still okay with it since it tastes great with that crunch.

This Baby Corn Masala tastes really good with Naan bread or Roti. 

baby corn masala tomato gravy north indian curry


If you liked this, you may also like:



Baby Corn Masala


baby corn masala tomato gravy north indian currySemi-dry North Indian style curry made with Baby Corn tossed in a tomato based masala gravy.

Recipe Type:  Main
Cuisine:            North Indian
Prep Time:     15 minutes
Cook time:     45 minutes
Yield:                Serves 2

Ingredients:


18-20 Baby corn cobs
1 large Onion
1 large Tomato
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Garlic Paste
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Kitchen King Masala or Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds or Jeera
4-5 tsp Oil
1/4 cup Water
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:


Cut the baby corn cobs into chunks.
Heat 1-2 tsp of oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the baby corn and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
Remove from heat and keep aside.
Chop the onion finely and puree the tomato.
Heat the remaining oil and add the cumin seeds.
Once the cumin seeds brown slightly, add the onions and fry until translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the tomato puree and cook on low heat for 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add all the spices and salt. Mix well. Cook on low heat for another 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the fried baby corn and the water. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Rotis.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Punjabi Dum Aloo (Vegan)

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Punjabi Dum Aloo is rich, creamy yet vegan curry in which baby potatoes are simmered in a delicately spiced tomato based gravy.

Vegan glutenfree creamy north indian punjabi dum aloo baby potatoes masala gravy

Once in a while I indulge… in cooking and eating. Everyone deserves a reward for working hard all week. And a long weekend is the perfect time to indulge. Don’t you agree?

I never buy potatoes with any specific plan of using them. I just add them to any mix vegetable thing I’m cooking or when there are fussy eaters around. Coz which fussy eater does not like potatoes, right?

But when I saw these cute little baby potatoes in the supermarket, I wanted to buy them and make them shine. What better dish to cook with baby potatoes than Punjabi Dum Aloo.


Vegan glutenfree creamy north indian punjabi dum aloo baby potatoes masala gravy

There are different types of Dum Aloo all over India, there is a Kashmiri Dum Aloo, a UP Dum Aloo and a Bengali Dum Aloo as well apart from the Punjabi Dum Aloo. Each one has a different kind of gravy the baby potatoes are simmered in. 

I'm trying to find traditional recipes for the remaining Dum Aloo since I've never tried them. If you have one, contact ME! I would love to try out the other varieties and compare them.

Vegan glutenfree creamy north indian punjabi dum aloo baby potatoes masala gravy

I've tried to keep this indulgent Punjabi Dum Aloo as healthy as possible without losing out on the taste. Some of it's highlights:

  • It is VEGAN - Yesss! Vegan yet creamy is obtained by the addition of a silky smooth Cashew nut paste. Being a Goan, I love my Cashews in anything and everything, so why not in a Punjabi Dum Aloo. Bring it ON! A more traditional Punjabi Dum Aloo has added yogurt or thick cream. I skipped both and only increased the quantity of cashew nuts used. This gave me all the creamy texture without any dairy in it. Hurray!!

  • Potatoes are boiled, not fried - A lot of Punjabi Dum Aloo recipes call for deep frying of the potatoes. While everyone loves deep fried potatoes, they are not so much in line with the whole eating healthy food movement. So I boiled them and then tossed them in a hot pan to get a slight char. Feel free to bake them as well. Give it your own twist. 

  • Quick cooking - Dum Pukht is a form of cooking in which meat or vegetables are cooked over a very low heat in sealed containers. This helps develop flavor. While this makes a major difference to meat (at least that's what I've heard), it barely does much for the potatoes in this case. Hence. I pressure cooked the potatoes and later simmered them for a while in the gravy. I can assure you, no flavor was lost in this process.

Vegan glutenfree creamy north indian punjabi dum aloo baby potatoes masala gravy

If you liked this, you may also like

  • Gobi Mussallam - Cauliflower cooked in a mild creamy sauce. You can make it vegan by using soy or almond milk.
  • Double Beans Masala - Double Beans Masala is a semi dry curry made using fresh double beans, basic Indian spices and fresh tomatoes
  • Lauki Kofta - Bottlegourd dumplings simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. You can replace the milk with any vegan milk to make a vegan version.



Punjabi Dum Aloo | How to make Vegan Punjabi Dum Aloo Recipe


Vegan glutenfree creamy north indian punjabi dum aloo baby potatoes masala gravyPunjabi Dum Aloo is a curry made by simmering baby potatoes a delicately spiced vegan creamy tomato based gravy. 

Recipe Type:  Main
Cuisine:            North Indian
Prep Time:     30 minutes
Cook time:     45 minutes
Yield:                Serves 3-4

Ingredients:


250 gms Baby Potatoes (about 20-25 baby potatoes or 3 large Potatoes)
1.5 Onion
2 Tomatoes
18-20 Cashew nuts
1 black Cardamom
1" Cinnamon
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp Ginger paste
1.5 tsp Garlic paste
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
0.5 tsp Garam Masala
3 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp Kasuri Methi
Salt to taste
Water as required
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:


Heat up 1 cup of water and soak the cashew nuts in it for half an hour.
Wash and scrub the baby potatoes and place them in a pressure cooker or a deep pan. If using large potatoes, then peel them and dice them into 1" sized pieces.
Add 1 tsp of salt and enough water to cover the potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are cooked through but not mushy. In a pressure cooker, it takes around 1 whistle.
Peel the baby potatoes.
Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan and once it heats up, add the potatoes in it. Toss the potatoes until they are browned slightly and keep aside.
Puree the cashew nuts and keep aside.
Puree the onion and the tomatoes separately.
Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the black cardamom, cinnamon and the bay leaf. Fry for approximately 1 minute.
Add the onion puree, garlic paste and ginger paste and fry on low heat until for 8-10 minutes till the paste becomes golden brown or the oil separates.
Add the tomato puree and fry on low heat for another 8-10 minutes until the oil separates.
Now add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder and mix well.
Cook on low heat for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the cashew puree and fry for another 4-5 minutes.
Now add the potatoes, salt and 3/4 to 1 cup of water and cook until the gravy thickens. At this point you can add more chilli powder if required.
Add the kasuri methi and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Roti or Rice.





Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Restaurant Style Dal Fry | How to make Dhal Fry

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restaurant dal dhal fry tadka toor tuvar pigeon pea split lentil

I simply love Dal... Especially the restaurant kind. You know, with that hint of ginger and fragrance of the garlic combined with the slight heat from the green chilli and tartness of the tomatoes?

Have you had a tiring day cleaning that cupboard or working on your taxes? Do you crave comfort food? How would you like a warm bowl of hearty, filling and guilt-free healthy Dal? That's my go-to comfort food when I'm short for time, hungry (cranky too...) and tired. Some warm dal with white rice and a side of mango pickle. Yummm... Getting the picture? 

restaurant dal dhal fry tadka toor tuvar pigeon pea split lentil

As much as I love dal with rice, my love for Dal-Roti is even greater. Almost a must-order when we visit a restaurant. I almost always order Dal with roti in restaurants, mostly because they get it spot on and with all that spicy food on the table, sometimes you need something to tone it down. 

There are so many ways in which you can make dal, the simplest being with just a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chilli or you can try this recipe for a more flavorful version.

If you remember the universal truths from my previous post - Avarekalu Uppit . This dal fry totally satisfies that truth. It is one of the basic Indian dishes your mom will expect you to know how to cook.

restaurant dal fry dhal tadka toor tuvar pigeon pea split lentil

Dal is also probably the simplest Indian dish you can make and let me tell you the biggest plus point - You cannot mess it up!!! Well, as long as you are tasting for salt along the way, that is. And if you by chance did mess up, worry not, it is equally easy to fix it too.

Dal or Dhal can me made from any type of lentil, although there are a few popular ones based on the region. North Indians make dal from Chana Dal or Moong Dal while the South Indians swear by the Toor Dal. You can make this recipe with any other type of lentil or dal you have and it will taste just as good. Promise!!!

restaurant dal fry dhal tadka toor tuvar pigeon pea split lentil

If you liked this Dal Fry recipe, you may also like:


restaurant dal fry dhal tadka toor tuvar pigeon pea split lentilRestaurant Syle Dal Fry


Dal or Pigeon Pea Lentils cooked in restaurant style. 

Recipe Type:  Main
Cuisine:            Indian
Prep Time:     10 minutes
Cook time:     45 minutes
Yield:                Serves 2-3

Ingredients:


1/2 cup Toor Dal or Arhar Dal or Pigeon Pea Lentils
1 Onion
1 Tomato
1-2 Green Chilli
1 tsp Garlic Paste
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds or Jeera
1 pinch Asafoetida or Hing
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
8-10 Curry leaves
2-3 tsp Oil
Water as required
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:


Wash the dal at least twice.
Pressure cook the dal in 1.5 cups of water until done.
Mash the dal and keep aside.
Chop the onion and tomato finely.
Chop or slit the green chilli.
Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
Once they start spluttering, add the cumin seeds.
Add the onion, ginger paste, garlic paste and green chilli and fry until the onions are slightly browned.
Add the curry leaves and fry for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes until they become soft.
Add the turmeric powder and the asafoetida powder and mix well.
Add in the cooked dal, salt and water as required. Adjust the water according to the consistency you desire.
Simmer for 5-6 minutes.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Avarekalu Uppit | How to make Hyacinth Beans Upma

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Avarekalu Uppit or Upma is a basic South Indian breakfast made by cooking toasted semolina in a vegetable broth containing boiled Avarekalu or Hyacinth beans.

avarekalu avarekaalu uppit upma hyacinth beans semolina rava suji sooji



I had a nice chat with one of my friend's in the bus yesterday. We were chatting away about food, we are both obsessed foodies and were super hungry by the time we reached halfway, thanks to our little chitter chatter. During our extremely animated food talk, we realized some universal truths:

  •  "What to cook?" is a more exhausting question than actually cooking that "What" on a daily basis
  •  Every Indian mother thinks their children should stop cooking "Special" dishes and learn to make the basic mundane daily food.
Do you agree with me? Or have some more universal truths? Leave me a comment and we can discuss it in length.

avarekalu avarekaalu uppit upma hyacinth beans semolina rava suji sooji

"What to cook next week?" is a regular question I ask myself and the people around me every weekend so I can stock up on the raw material. And pretty much every woman I ask, asks me back the same question. Sigh

And the second point takes me back almost 15 years in time when I was still living with my parents and had recently discovered I love to cook. I'd flip through the magazines at the library and find some new recipe and rush home to try it. And my mom had just the same response my friend's mom had - Learn to cook basic everyday food and then learn the "Specials". 

The wisdom in those words dawned on me much later in life when I moved to Bangalore for a job and had to eat out everyday. I craved for simple home cooked meals like my mom made. So now I balance my simple meals with my special meals. And sometimes, I mix the two.

avarekalu avarekaalu uppit upma hyacinth beans semolina rava suji sooji

This Avarekalu Uppit is my version of special and simple, all combined together. Avarekalu or Hyacinth beans are extremely seasonal and make their appearance for a short time in the winter. Imagine my surprise when I found street vendors selling it at this time of the year. I had to pick them up. Addition of avarekalu made my simple uppit, special for me. 

Avarekalu is a local name for Hyacinth beans. They have a very subtle delicate flavor. In winter, there is a fest dedicated just for Avarekalu in Bangalore where the creativity of the chefs is displayed as they make anything and everything using avarekalu. Ah! Simple special moments in life!!!

Uppit or Upma is a dish usually had for breakfast in South India. It is made my cooking toasted semolina or rava in a vegetable broth. You can make uppit with just onions and tomatoes or load it up with veggies like carrots, peas, green beans, cabbage, capsicum or like in this recipe - Avarekalu. To make a simple Avarekalu Uppit, you can skip all the other vegetables except the avarekalu, onion and the tomato.

avarekalu avarekaalu uppit upma hyacinth beans semolina rava suji sooji

You may also like to check out the recipes for Uppit/Upma or Avarekalu Saaru.


Avarekalu Uppit or Hyacinth Beans Upma


avarekalu avarekaalu uppit upma hyacinth beans semolina rava suji soojiAvarekalu Uppit or Upma is a basic South Indian breakfast made by cooking toasted semolina in a vegetable broth containing boiled Avarekalu or Hyacinth beans.

Recipe Type:  Breakfast
Cuisine:            South Indian
Prep Time:     20 minutes
Cook time:     30 minutes
Yield:                Serves 2

Ingredients:


1 cup Semolina or Rava or Sooji
1/2 cup Avarekalu
1 small Carrot
6-8 Green Beans
1 small Potato
1 Onion
1 small Tomato
1 sprig Curry leaves
1-2 Green Chilli
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
2.5 cups Water
4-5 tsp Oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp Lemon juice
2 Tbsp finely chopped Coriander leaves for garnish
1 Tbsp grated fresh Coconut for garnish

Method:


In a kadhai or pan, toast the rava for 4-5 minutes on low heat until fragrant.
Chop the onion, beans, carrot, potato, tomato and the chillies.
Heat oil in a kadhai and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the curry leaves.
Immediately add the onions and green chillies and fry until the onions are translucent.
Add the other vegetables along with the avarekalu to the kadhai and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Add the water and cover and cook until the avarekalu and the beans are cooked.
Add salt.
Add the rava while stirring continuously to avoid forming lumps.
Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the uppit to rest for another 5 minutes.
Now add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander and coconut and mix well.
Serve hot.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Cucumber Pakoda or Khire ka Pakoda

Yum
Cucumber Pakoda or Khira Pakoda is my latest offering in the junk-food-meets-healthy-food recipes.

Cucumber pakoda fritter sautekayee bonda khira khire kakdi

I've grown up on cooked cucumbers more than uncooked ones. I know, not a lot of you have heard of cooking cucumbers. But if you are from around Mangalore, you know your cucumbers well. My mom used cucumbers in sambar, palya, kadabu and my favorite -Akki Rotti.

I've recently started experimenting with cucumbers. I've made Cucumber Dhokla recently. But never in my wildest thoughts had I imagined I would be making Cucumber Pakodas and ENJOYING it too !!!

Cucumber pakoda fritter sautekayee bonda khira khire kakdi

I was introduced to them recently at a temple that refrains from using root vegetables. I was unaware of this fact and very unsuspectingly ate it assuming they were potato pakodas. I was pleasantly surprised that they were cucumber. I have been waiting to make them since then. Saturday was the perfect day. It was raining. Well, it'd been raining the whole last week, and heavily, I must add. Eating pakodas and sipping hot tea is my favorite thing to do when it rains.

Cucumber pakoda fritter sautekayee bonda khira khire kakdi

So on Saturday, I dragged my bean bag as close to the balcony, that little spray of rain on my face gets me all excited. Took my plate of cucumber pakodas and my steaming hot cup of tea and plonked on it. I also had this really exciting English Regency romance novel by Sophia Nash that made a perfect read considering the stormy weather outside. Ah! Simple pleasures of life. 

Cucumber pakoda fritter sautekayee bonda khira khire kakdi

Let's get back to the Cucumber Pakoda. This pakoda is made just like all the other pakodas, only this time instead of an onion or a potato, we dip sliced cucumber into the batter and fry it. I used regular cucumbers that we use in salads. Not the Mangalore Cucumber. Preferably, use something that has a lower water content to get an even tastier pakoda.

The batter is very simple. Take some gram flour or besan and add salt, red chilli powder, salt and water to get a smooth batter. The consistency of the batter should be thick enough to coat the cucumbers. I added ajwain or carom seeds as I love the flavor in pakodas. You can skip this or replace it with coriander powder or cumin seeds. I also added a pinch of baking soda, this can be avoided too. 

Cucumber pakoda fritter sautekayee bonda khira khire kakdi

Sprinkle chat masala while serving or serve it with some delicious mint coriander chutney.

Send me an email or leave me a comment on this Post or Facebook or Tweet to me if you tried these awesome pakodas. I love hearing from my readers, so write to me.

Cucumber Pakodas or Khire ka Pakoda


Cucumber pakoda fritter sautekayee bonda khira khire kakdi
Cucumber slices dipped in a batter made of besan or gram flour and spices and deep fried until golden brown.

Recipe Type:  Appetizer
Cuisine:            Indian
Prep Time:     10 minutes
Cook time:     20 minutes
Yield:                Serves 2-3

Ingredients:


1 Cucumber
4-5 Tbsp Besan or Gram Flour
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Ajwain seeds or Carom seeds
1/2 cup Water
Salt to taste
Pinch of Baking soda
Oil to fry
1/2 tsp Chat Masala(Optional)


Method:


Slice the cucumber into thin slices.
Mix together the besan, red chilli powder, ajwain seeds, baking soda and salt.
Add water by the spoonfuls until you get a batter of desired consistency. The batter should be thick enough to coat the cucumbers.
Heat oil in a deep pan or kadhai. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a small spoonful of batter in the oil. If it immediately rises to the top, then the oil is ready for frying the pakodas.
Dip the cucumbers in the batter and carefully drop them into the oil.
Cook them on medium heat until one side is golden brown. Flip the pakodas and cook until the other side is done.
It takes around 3-5 minutes per pakoda. Cook them in batches and do not crowd the pan.
Sprinkle some chat masala over them and serve hot with mint coriander chutney or ketchup.