mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

Tchoek Vangun hachi – cooking with sun dried brinjals

In Kashmiri, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on April 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm
tchoak wangun 05

Tchoek-wangun, Kashmiri khatte baingan, cooked with sun-dried eggplant

Drying is one of the oldest and easiest way to preserve food.  In a country with plentiful sun it is only natural that we should have a tradition of using the sun’s energy to process food. You will find wadi varieties from all over the country. Bengalis put their bodi into many dishes including shukto, Southen India gives us vadams and appalams in addition to celebrating dried vegetables in, the most delicious of all ‘curries’, the vatahkuzhanmbu. In Uttarakhand mountain cucumbers are combined with urad-dal to make wadi. Punjab’s famous wadis which come in various flavours (with plums, with tomatoes, and regular – all spiced up with generous amounts of black pepper) can be combined with the blandest of vegetables to lift them out of the ordinary. From the state of UP we have mangodi, small wadis made with mung dal. Kashmiris make sun-dried spice-cakes and call them veri. Pickles that have been cooked in the sun for a while are found all over the country.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Sauteed Zucchini

In From the Garden, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on March 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm

That time when deciding what to cook is a difficult task, is back.  Cauliflowers have lost their spunk and cabbages are looking blanched. [Another winter has gone by without an attempt at making kimchi. Sigh.]  Now that bottle-gourd juice has become the new diet-fad they can be found on the shelves the whole year round but the season when they, and other gourds, are at their best is still around the bend.  Zucchini, surprisingly, is looking beautiful; must be an early season squash.  Last week I brought home a good-looking specimen but I was not in the mood to cook it a-la-tori.

zucchini

Dinner ingredeints

I picked out my Italian cookbook from the bookshelf and checked it for zucchini recipes.  As is my habit, I  looked at the colour pictures first to see if I could spot something quick.  There was a picture, almost part of the background,  of a bowl piled high with zucchini rounds and labelled, quite simply, Sauteed Zucchini Rounds.  That was going to be dinner, along with Herb Pasta (wholewheat spaghetti) with Double Tomato Sauce (to which was added a generous handful of fresh fennel fronds).

Read the rest of this entry »

Green Mango Pickle, Andhra-style

In on the side, Pickles, south Indian, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on July 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm

mango pickle

I grew up at IITD and and the campus Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) was my high school.  KVIIT was also the campus-school for the two other neighbouring educational campuses – the NCERT and JNU.   That was a time when the middle class still sent their children to public schools.  My mother was a teacher in the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan but by the time she managed a transfer to KVIIT, I had already graduated.  Mr Bhujangarao, from Andhra Pradesh, was our Principal in my last two years at school.  He and his family lived on-campus, close to our house, and over the years our families became close friends.  As with all good neighbours, there was much exchange of food and recipes.  We would visit each other often for dinners; Mrs Bhujanga Rao feeding our need for dosai, idly, and upma, and my mom trying to satisfy her two boys with chhole and rajma.  I still remember how I loved the spicy upma, with lots of tomatoes, that she brought for me when I was recovering from some minor illness.  Nothing like Guntur chillies to awaken taste buds flatened by sickness.

green mangoes 2

Our visits continued even after Mr B was promoted and moved a little further in South Delhi, then to Chennai, and even after he retired and moved to Hyderabad.  His older son, also a friend, moved to Delhi a few years ago and we call on him when his parents come visiting.  Krishna auntie still insists we leave after a meal, lunch or dinner – as the case may be, and it is very hard for me to turn down her cooking.  When she was getting ready to leave Delhi many decades back, I  requested her mango pickle recipe.  We knew we would miss her gentle ways and her cooking, but, at least, we didn’t have to live the rest of our lives without her mango pickle! Read the rest of this entry »

101 uses for Mystery Powder

In Low Fat, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on January 8, 2008 at 1:39 am

 

masala aloo

Before Srivalli completely gives up on me, here I am with my experiments with the mystery powder I received through our very own Arusuvai Friendship chain last month. For all my professed past-life claims, the podi Srivalli sent me had me at a complete loss. I have already admitted I am not good at de-constructing spice blends; I totally relied on Manisha’s intuition for kanda-lassun masala.

After staring at the yellow-orange-powder sitting in a packet on my kitchen counter for two days, I gingerly wrote to Srivalli about my predicament… The yellow powder was going to test my self-professed Southie-ness. I could taste turmeric… dhaniya… and… the rest was a mystery. Now, I have made a few South Indian podis: kootu podi, bisibele hulianna podi, milagai podi; this was definitely not one of those. Well, that left only one other podi I knew: sambar masala! So, I prayed and sent an apologetic note to Srivalli asking if that was Sambar podi I had in my possession. It amused her that I was so unsure… but of course, it was! Whew! I heaved a sigh of relief. My reputation (rather, claim) was intact; at least, for now. Read the rest of this entry »

Punjabi Chhole (Chickpeas)

In Low Fat, Masalas (Spice Blends), Punjab, Tea Party, Vegetarian on December 9, 2007 at 1:07 pm

chhole
Punjabi Chhole/Chana masala with tandooru roti

Chhole bhature is an absolutely decadent treat that is a must-try if you visit Delhi. It is one of Delhi’s many Punjabi specialties. It is also something I cook less often. Only because of a personal preference for rajma (red kidney beans). I have been working on that for the last six months though.

Over the years I have tried many recipes for chhole, including one for the famous fat-free chhole served with Amritsari kulchas, crispy potato stuffed tandoori bread (not like a naan or roti). Now I have my very own recipe, and it is another family pleaser. And, I have to again admit, I don’t rely on the packaged chana masala, good though they are. And there is a reason for that.

A couple of years ago, we ate a delicious dish of chhole at a friend’s place and I, naturally, asked for the recipe. It was a simple recipe, one using all the usual suspects – ginger, onions, and tomatoes – but all cooked together (with chhole) instead of being bhuno-ed (frying in oil ‘till-the-oil-separates’ stage). She had used MDH chana masala. It was delicious, and I remember we all agreed emphatically as we went over the menu on our drive home. I wasn’t going to let a simple easier method pass me by. I got my pack of chana masala and proceeded to cook a few weeks later.

The verdict?

Read the rest of this entry »

Fried Rice, Again!

In Eggs, Rice, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on November 13, 2007 at 8:23 pm

fried rice
At last I have a recipe using brown rice that the whole family will eat. I might also come out in the open about the fact that I love white rice. While I do on occasion cook brown rice, I find white rice is more suited to absorbing the curries we all love so much. You can mush it up with dal, or with dahi (yoghurt), and it feels right. Brown rice just refuses to soften up despite all the pressure-cooking I subject it to, and then it dares me to refuse. A lot like dalia (cracked wheat). But I put dalia in its place once I realized I could eat my cake and have it too, sort of. I needed a recipe for brown rice that would make it really sing instead of the forlorn ditty, “I’m good for you.”

I tried Musical’s mothaan di khichdi (using sprouted moth as Nupur had done) and reluctantly agreed with my teen son that it would have been better with regular white rice. My son will not touch brown rice with a ten foot pole. But lap it up he did with his 10 inch chopsticks when I made it into fried rice!

Now, who doesn’t like fried rice! I bet that all of us have our own favourite version of this classic Chinese dish. There are many traditional Indian avatars of this dish too using leftover rice – Maharashtrians have their phodnicha bhath (literally, rice with tempering), and the many South Indian rice preparations use the same concept too (chitranna, tamarind rice) – leftover rice mixed into seasoned oil, with or without the addition of vegetables.

While most of the dishes consumed in India under the “Chinese food” label have the most superficial of resemblance to the cuisine of that ancient country (Chicken Manchurian is as Chinese as Chicken Tikka Masala is Indian), I will wager that home-cooks serve a decent version of Chinese fried rice. That is because the home cook likely limits his Chinese pantry items to the generic soy sauce; and most Indian homes are never out of ginger, onion, and garlic. I have since also bought myself a bottle of hoysin sauce, and will be using it in this rice (and pray that it is not blasphemy); fermented beans are on my list next.

rices varieties
How many have you? Nine kinds of rice in my pantry: Clockwise, from bottom: Goan brown rice, fragrant white Basmati, black rice (a gift from a friend!), a mix of Kerala red rice (rosematta) and a dark red rice from Uttaranchal (from Navdanya) – I use the mix in soups, par-boiled rice for idli (from Madras Store, INA), short grain brown rice, brown Basmati; center -lightly fragrant short grain rice from Madhya Pradesh, which I have been saving for Ver)

The fried brown-rice happened quite by chance. I had (pressure) cooked a big pot of Goan brown rice, swearing to eat no white rice for a whole month. The following day I Google-chatted with a certain friend too late into the afternoon that cooking lunch on time was not likely.

My family will readily eat bread and butter, or bread and eggs, whenever I forget them on account of this computer affair. Only, I feel guilty if I do that more than thrice in a week. And there was that healthy bowl of brown rice sitting in the fridge…and since Kylie Kwong, I don’t ‘chop fine’ the vegetables for my Chinese recipes…Half hour later we were enjoying a delicious healthy lunch of fried rice – egg fried rice for the son.

fried rice
Easiest Fried Rice
(Serves 3)

4-5 C cooked brown rice (if using leftover brown rice, pressure cook or steam again to refresh)
2 + 1 T peanut oil
1 medium onion, sliced
a few cloves of garlic, smashed
1 T fresh grated/julienned ginger
2-3 whole red chillies (fresh or dry), sliced thin, on the bias
2-3 green chillies, sliced thin, on the bias
2-3 C prepared vegetables of choice (shredded cabbage, sliced carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli florets – I had only green peppers that day)
1 T soy sauce
1 T hoysin sauce (optional)
1-2 t vinegar (optional)
¾ t ajinomoto (or salt to taste) [yes, I do]
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

To a hot karahi or wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil. To the hot oil, add garlic and ginger and stir till fragrant but not browned. Add the red chillies and onions and stir it all around till the onions change colour (a minute or so). Add the prepared vegetables and cook, stirring all the time, for 2-3 minutes, till the vegetables have all brightened up. Add the hoysin sauce and the soy sauce and mix. Add the cooked rice and stir. Sprinkle ajinomoto (or salt), and stir till heated through. Mix in the vinegar before removing to a serving dish.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Pour the beaten egg (to which you have added a pinch of salt) into the hot oil, swirl the wok around and lift the egg slightly to allow it to spread and cook. As it starts to set, break it up into large chunks. Tip a third of the fried rice into the wok and stir to combine. Serve this portion to the egg-lover in the family.

Other takes on Fried Rice:

Kylie’s Delicious Fried Rice
Manisha’s Leftover Chicken and Rice
Inji’s Indian-Chinese Fried Rice
Sig’s sunny Sweet Corn Fried Rice
Japanese Fried Rice
Thai Fried Rice
Chinese Fried Rice

%d bloggers like this: