Guvar Batata (Indian Cluster beans vegetable with potato)

25 Nov

Guvar is not a very famous vegetable or I’d call it a neglected vegetable in the plethora of Indian vegetables. Mostly consumed in western areas of Maharashtra, it is liked by other communities and added as a part of Sambhar (lentil dal of South India) but it is definitely not popular as okra or eggplants. I personally love it and can eat it any given day. The frozen variety of cluster beans cooks quickly and saves time but if you buy it fresh, traditionally it is washed then the ends are trimmed and the beans are broken into pieces by hand as cutting does not remove the fibers that may get stuck in the teeth or throat when you chew these beans. The older the beans the more fibers that come off, the younger the beans, the fresher and less fibrous ones. Make sure the color is vibrant green and not yellowish green or a faint green. This recipe is typically cooked in parts of western India. So here goes.

Tip: You can boil the beans for 8-10 minutes with a pinch of turmeric and salt if you are in a hurry to cook.

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All you need:

  1. 1 lb Guvar or Cluster beans (washed, trimmed and chopped into long pieces)
  2. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  3. 1 tsp cumin seeds(optional)
  4. 6-8 curry leaves (optional)
  5. pinch of asafoetida or hing
  6. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  7. 1/2 tbsp goda masala (can be substituted by 1 tsp of Garam Masala + 1 tsp of red chili powder)
  8. 1-2 inch pieces of jaggery(can be substituted by 1 tsp of sugar)
  9. 1 medium sized potato(washed, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces)
  10. 1 tbsp of peanut powder (optional)
  11. salt to taste
  12. 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil in a deep pan or wok and add mustard seeds. Let them splutter.
  2. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves and hing or asafoetida. Let it all sizzle.
  3. Add turmeric and the chopped beans along with the potato. Stir well.
  4. Cover the pan with a flat dish and pour some water over it so that the vegetable is steamed and masala does not burn.
  5. Cook this until the cluster beans and potato are tender about 20-25 minutes (less time will be required if it is pre-boiled), stirring regularly in between making sure the vegetable does not stick. Also, if the water evaporates add more on the dish until it gets cooked.
  6. Add goda masala or red chili powder + garam masala.
  7. Add jaggery, adjust salt. Mix well. Cook until the jaggery melts in the vegetable and is combined well. Turn off the heat.
  8. Finish off with sprinkling peanut powder(roasted peanuts ground into powder). Serve with roti, rice and dal, chapati or naan.

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Apologetic Kappa (Yucca root) fry Kerala style

6 Oct http://mefoodatarian.wordpress.com/

I should be grateful for the number of followers I have on this blog and I titled this post as apologetic because I have been so lazy to post! I have been concentrating more on my other blog. But I honestly want to say sorry to all the ones who believe in me and have followed my blog as faithful readers! Sorry! I have backdated this post but I will be more cautious and caring henceforth.

My husband has his roots in Kerala as I have mentioned before. It took me time to learn some of the delicacies of Kerala cuisine but I have definitely caught up with a few. I may not have mastered them since the people in Kerala are generous with the use of coconut oil but it will be difficult to guess that a Maharashtrian has made the South Indian delicacies. Well if anyone wants to see the optimum use of a coconut they should definitely visit a native of Kerala.

Yucca root or cassava or tapioca is what we call Kappa in Malayalam(language spoken in Kerala). Its starchy and can replace potatoes. It is high in carbs and low in protein. It is low in fat and cholesterol-free! So I love it and my husband loves it with beef-fry. I will share the recipe soon. Let’s get down to this one.

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Tip : A clean kappa is one with close ends and has no spots or growth on it. To clean kappa, you will need a sharp knife, strong board and strength! Cut the ends, cut in half, peel, or peel first with a peeler and cut in half and then cut half in half lengthwise. You will see the thread that you see in the pic. It also resembles the core of the pineapple. Trim the core where you see the thread. Cut the remaining part into cubes or quarters.

All you need:

  1. 1 whole Kappa/Yucca root/Cassava
  2. 1 tsp turmeric
  3. 4 red whole dried chilies (I also add finely chopped green chili as I love it hot)
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. 1/2 tsp cumin(optional as its not traditional)
  6. 4-5 cloves of garlic, remember to crush the garlic for it to release its oil and coarsely chop it.
  7. 1 small red onion or 3-4 pearl onions chopped finely
  8. 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  9. 2 tbsp oil preferably coconut
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 2 tbsp Shredded coconut to garnish
  12. Water for boiling

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Clean, peel, cube and wash Kappa.
  2. Boil Kappa cubes in water that covers the cubes for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remember to add salt and half the turmeric to the water. Drain the water.
  3. Now comes the tempering. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, once they crackle add the cumin(optional), curry leaves and red chilies.
  4. Now add garlic and onion and saute till onions turn pink(you can even brown the onions if you like).
  5. Add remaining turmeric. Adjust salt.
  6. Add the kappa cubes and mix well. Let the kappa get coated evenly with the entire mixture.
  7. Turn off the heat and garnish with shredded coconut.

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Chicken Biryani in a pressure cooker

30 Sep

Pressure cooker is probably the most important vessel to cook for Indians. Its easy, quick, and healthy as well. But whoever makes biryani in a pressure cooker, honestly, I do. I am always looking for quick meals and I love hosting Indian non-vegetarian meals. In my 30 years of life, I never have and probably never will find anything close to the Mutton Biryani that my dad cooks, but I had to find something that I can replicate yet be quick and easy. Indians have all the spices needed for the recipe at home, you can easily find the spices in Indian stores. It is not the healthiest dish but very very tasty and royal, if you want it to be! I am not sure if everyone knows how to eat  Biryani because you don’t have to eat the whole spices but making is a fun process, and probably you can never get it right the first time, honestly, even I mess up a lot of times. But  a word of caution, if it comes out perfect, the aroma will get your taste buds craving for just that one more serving! If you know your cooker well, and if the meat is tender enough, this recipe will make you a really yummy Biryani.

http://mefoodatarian.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/chicken-biryani-in-a-pressure-cooker/

Tip: To make it royal, just fry dry fruits like cashews, almonds in ghee and garnish the biryani with additional dry fruits like raisins and even pistachios if you like!

All you need:

  1. 2 1/2 cups rice, preferably long grain
  2. 1 lb chicken pieces preferably with bones
  3. 1/2 cup yogurt
  4. 2 green chillies, slit
  5. 2 large or 4 medium onions, finely sliced
  6. 1 tomato, sliced
  7. 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  8. Powdered spices : 1 tsp turmeric powder,1 tbsp coriander powder, 1/2 tbsp cumin powder, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp garam masala
  9. Whole spices : 1 bay leaf, 1 black cardamom, 1 anistar, 1 mace, 3 green cardomom, 4 cloves, 6-8 black peppercorns, 1 tsp cumin, 1 inch cinnamon
  10. 6 and 1/2 cups of water
  11. 1/2 cup oil
  12. 1/4 cup melted ghee(clarified butter)
  13. few saffron strands dissolved in 2 tbsp warm milk
  14. 2 tbsp chopped cilatro for garnish(optional)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Wash gently and soak rice for half an hour.
  2. Marinade chicken with powdered spices, yogurt, salt, green chilies and ginger garlic paste.
  3. Meanwhile heat entire oil and half ghee. Drop in the onions and fry onions till crispy. Reserve remaining oil.
  4. Bring about 6 cups of water to boil. Add whole spices and little salt. Add rice.
  5. Boil for about 3-4 minutes making sure rice is not fully cooked. Drain. Do not throw away the whole spices.
  6. In the pressure cooker, heat the remaining oil and layer some of the crispy onions in the bottom of cooker, make a layer with chicken, rice, onions every layer add little water feom the remaining half cup and little salt. Reserve little onions for garnishing.
  7. Pour warm milk with saffron on top, rest of the ghee, orange food color if you’d like.
  8. Cook on medium low heat with lid on 4 heat for 5 mins. Turn down the heat to lowest possible for the remaining time on 2. Turn off heat and let it sit for about 10 mins.
  9. Add remaining fried onions, cilantro.
  10. Serve with raita if possible.

Tomato Chutni

31 Aug

Tangy, spicy with a hint of sweetness and most of the times a great accompaniment like salsa which goes with Idli, Dosa, Chapati, Rice and Dal or Puri. Most Indian recipes need tomatoes, what better way than using them all in one recipe! There are a few variations but finders keepers losers weepers, just kidding. Here’s the recipe that my mom makes and its her birthday this month so Thank you and Love you mom.

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Tip: You can keep roasted peanut powder handy, it tastes great when added as a garnish.

All you need:

  1. 4 medium sized ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  2. 1 large onion finely chopped
  3. 2 green chilies slit and chopped
  4. 4-5 curry leaves (optional)
  5. 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  6. pinch of asafoetida(optional, can be found in Indian stores)
  7. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  9. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp garam masala(optional)
  11. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  12. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  13. 1 tsp sugar(optional)
  14. Salt (as required)
  15. 2 tbsp oil
  16. 2 tbsp cilantro chopped (garnish)
  17. 1 tbsp roasted peanut powder (optional garnish)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or sauce pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, as soon as they pop add cumin and let it sizzle and change color.
  2. Add asafoetida, curry leaves, let them crackle, add green chilies and saute for half a minute.
  3. Add chopped onions and saute them until they are pink in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute it until raw smell disappears.
  4. Toss in spices one by one except the garam masala. Stir well. Let this mixture fry well and keep stirring in between making sure nothing sticks to the pan. If you feel the mixture is sticking add a tablespoon of water. Cook it until it starts leaving oil on the sides about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes finally, make sure they get covered with all the spices. Mix well but gently.
  6. Add salt and sugar.
  7. Cook the tomatoes for about 5-7  minutes or until they just begin to soften. You can mash a few pieces gently. I leave them this way, you might choose to cook them down entirely, you will need to cook them for a longer time.
  8. Add garam masala as a finishing spice and let it cook for a minute or two. Skip this step if you are not using garam masala.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the garnishing. Combine.
  10. Serve hot with chapati, roti or naan.

Rice Fritters or Pakoda (Bhaatachi Bhaji)

21 Jul

Yup, original recipe of my mom. Well, honestly there is nothing really original about it. It is just simple, plain, Indian bhaji(fritters) batter and the leftover rice is dipped in it and fried. So why is it special? Because, it brings back memories. Memories of me being so bored to be told to do my school homework, or told to do some daily chores, or study for the exams and I was always tempted by my mom that she would make these fried delicious bites for me! Who doesn’t love snacks! I couldn’t resist, I got through everything, thanks to my mom and these fritters. I consider them personal comfort food and not something that can be shared in a party or something.  On a rainy day with a cup of tea, they are good, even on gloomy days, even bright sunny days the smell of barbecue or anything fried just makes it a perfect day in summer.

Tip: For a different taste every time, you can vary the additional ingredients by adding chopped spring onion, garlic or ginger or chopped tomatoes or cilantro or shredded coconut, etc.

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All you need:

  1. 1 cup of steamed/boiled/leftover rice
  2. 1 cup Chickpea flour/Besan 
  3. 1/4 cup Rice flour 
  4. 1/4 tsp Turmeric 
  5. 1 tsp Red Chilli powder 
  6. 1 Green chilli, finely chopped (I use 2 because I love spicy food)
  7.  1/4 tsp Carom seeds
  8. Salt (as required)
  9. Water
  10.  Ketchup (to serve)
  11. Oil for deep frying

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Using a little water or oil on the palm of your hands shape balls out of the leftover rice. If the rice is already sticky, do not use water. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the batter by mixing all dry ingredients together and then add water little by little till you form a smooth batter with no lumps.
  3. Heat oil almost till boiling point. Test by dropping in a drop of batter, if it sizzles and comes on top immediately, its ready to fry. Maintain the heat on medium flame.
  4. Dip the balls in the batter using a spoon or if you don’t mind getting messy, get your clean hands in there. Make sure you coat all sides with the batter.
  5. Fry the balls till golden turning once.
  6. Remove on an absorbent paper.
  7. Serve hot with ketchup.

For the batter to make any pakodas, click here.

 

Serradura

24 Jun

https://mefoodatarian.wordpress.comI haven’t been sharing many desserts, I have heard many people confuse ‘desert’ as in a land with sand pronounced ‘De-zert’ with desserts pronounced ‘Dee-zerts’…oh well..I have an entire post on my other blog for this discussion. But my point is I had to share something interesting and easy since I have mentioned in my earlier posts that Indian desserts are a little complicated. Although I love ‘Shira’ and recently I discovered how easy it was to make my own serving in a microwave…oh the lazy body inspires my lazy mind to play tricks and I am truly happy with the result. I will share the recipe soon. But let me share this one, it is my favorite and I consider it as an exotic dessert even if it is so simple to make. Serradura is basically a cream dish layered with crackers or biscuits. I am not sure if it is originally a Portuguese dish or Italian but what matters is it is delicious. It is an indulgence I admit, but once in a while is okay I guess. The serving glass in the picture is pretty big, you can use small ones.

Tip: You need not add sugar since it has condensed milk. Also, you can have many versions by adding nuts, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, Oreos, get creative with it.

All you need:

  1. 8 oz. Heavy Cream
  2. 1/4 cup condensed milk
  3. 1 sleeve of  crushed crackers (plain)
  4. 1/2 cup crushed cashewnuts
  5. 1 tsp vanilla essence

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Whisk cream in a bowl until smooth and add vanilla essence, condensed milk and whisk just once again to combine everything nicely and chill for about 20 minutes.
  2. Crush cashewnuts and crackers separately, in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin or roughly chop them into small pieces. Combine.
  3. Take a serving glass. Pour about two tablespoons of mixture and then layer it with the crushed cashewnuts and crackers mixture. Layer again with cream mixture, topping the layers with the crushed cashewnuts and crackers mixture.
  4. Chill for an hour and serve cold.

 

Weekend Oven Fried Chicken

30 May

image

Ah! Oven fried chicken at home. Great start to the weekend :)

Just mixed dried ingredients (salt,pepper,garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, quarter cup rice flour and cornmeal) in a plastic bag and smeared about half cup of mayonnaise on 5 drumsticks, dropped them in the bag,shook it well dusting off excess flour mixture and cooked on a greased sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Yum! Burp! Oops…sorry ha ha! Have a nice weekend y’all!

Methichi Bhaji (fenugreek vegetable Maharashtrian style)

2 May

Fenugreek (Methi) is often a mystery for many. In Indian cooking, the dried fenugreek leaves are used for a distinct taste which goes really well with any protein based vegetable preparation or meat curry. The seeds are used as a paste or as a crunchy addition to some dishes, they will also render a nutty taste when fried or toasted. This is one  of my favorite green leafy vegetables. I have a very embarrassing story which I cannot tell since its too gross to reveal on a food blog, I can turn away many people from my blog with that story…but I tell it personally when I share my love-hate relationship with this vegetable. Anyway, since I love the vegetable for the most part, I would like to share the quick and easy recipe that is my absolute favorite and I thank my mom for writing it down for me which was a savior. When I was married I carried a book with recipes written down dictated by my mom or dad for my marriage to survive, since I could not cook at all! Ha ha…so here it is which I have mastered years down the line.

Tip: When picking up the vegetable, make sure that the leaves are medium size not too small not too large since it can leave a bitter taste when cooked. Also find ones that are fresh in color and do not have a yellowish tinge.

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All you need:

  1. 1 bunch of fresh Fenugreek leaves, chopped (sometimes you need to use 2 since it can be too small and it shrinks down a lot after cooking. Refer to Point 1 for more details.)
  2. 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  3. 1-2 green chilies, slit (de-seeded if you like less spicy)
  4. 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use like 4-6 since I love the flavor)
  5. 1 cup of freshly grated/shredded coconut (I won’t substitute dried coconut here, it just doesn’t give the exact taste)
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. a pinch asafoetida (‘hing’ as we call it, just too good for dals and Indian vegetables, a must-have in Indian pantry)
  8. 1 tbsp oil
  9. salt to taste

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. First of all, sort and pick out only the fenugreek leaves. In a colander rub gently the fenugreek leaves with salt and run it under water it might wash out some color, but don’t worry, that also helps get rid of any residues of dirt. Alternatively you might dunk the leaves in a large bowl of water mixed with salt and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes, lift them up gently  and throw away the water(my mom used this to water her plants) and the residue that will settle down.
  2. Chop the leaves. Set aside.
  3. Heat a wok or a deep pan with oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. Let them crackle, add the asafoetida, let it sizzle for a second or two, add the green chilies. Saute for half a minute.
  4. Toss in the garlic. Saute for a minute.
  5. Add the chopped onions and let them cook down until soft and transparent.
  6. Time to add the fenugreek leaves. Mix well. Add half of the grated coconut and salt, be careful with the salt here, you can always add more later.
  7. Cover it and cook for about 8-10 minutes. The leaves will shrink down and cook in its own juices.
  8. Turn off the heat, sprinkle remaining coconut. Serve hot with chapati/roti/bhakri.

Kayloli (Rice flour veggie omelette/dosa/pancake)

3 Apr

Since Indian masala omelette is a mix of spices with eggs, I could not think of a better translation of what a ‘Kayloli’ is. I am not sure why I would call it an omelette since it does not have the eggs however it has all the spices similar to the omelette and the process is similar too. Then again, I can also call it a Dosa because without the spices it will be similar to a Dosa. It could also be a pancake with spices! Well, Kayloli is a traditional GSB (Goud Saraswat Brahmin) dish, I don’t know the original roots though because Mangaloreans and Karwari families are familiar with it too. This was taught to me by my dad with his own additions to it. This is like an instant breakfast dish. I will also list the alternate version in the tip below which can be used for lunch or dinner. Let me get down to the quick and easy recipe, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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Tip: You can completely omit all the spices and instead of rice flour soak 2 cups of boiled rice for two-three hours. Blend the rice and cup of shredded coconut just add salt and sugar to it and leave the mixture in the fridge overnight. Fry like pancakes. Serve with curries. You might like it as is. I mentioned in my About section how cuisines are similar in coastal regions. This is very similar to Appam in Kerala. I will try and post that someday.

All you need:

  1.  2 cups rice flour
  2. 1 1/2 cups milk
  3. 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  4. 2 green chilies finely chopped (Indian chilies are hot and I like it spicy, use 1 if you don’t eat spicy food)
  5. 1 tomato finely chopped (optional)
  6. 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  7. 1 generous tsp turmeric
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder
  9. salt as required
  10. oil for frying

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Combine all the ingredients, spices etc. except oil and milk first in a bowl and like you would whisk pancake batter, whisk it gently until well combined.
  2. Pour milk slowly to adjust the consistency of the batter. Make sure you don’t make it too thick otherwise it will not spread on the pan and will stick and form lumps, nor too thin or it will end up runny and the taste will be compromised.
  3. Heat very minimal oil on a non-stick pan on medium heat and pour the batter in the center with a laddle. Move the pan around or spread with a spatula till it takes the shape and size of  a pancake.
  4. Drizzle little oil on the sides to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Cover and cook for a minute or two or until you see bubbles on top (refer to the pic above)
  5. Flip it and cover it again for a minute or two until crispy and brown on the outside and firm so that raw batter is completely cooked.
  6. Serve hot with yogurt, Indian pickle, ketchup or any preferred chutney.

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Indian Masala Omelette

1 Apr

I had to make a quick post for reference. If I can rant about how much I love an Indian Masala Omelette, I can keep going at it for a long time, but as I said this is a quick post for reference. I can eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I can even gulp it down at tea-time. Ooh, I am a tea-lover, not much of a coffee person, I prefer a cold coffee over a hot one which could be insulting to all the coffee addicts out there. Ha ha, too much talking everything other than the Indian Masala Omelette! This recipe will yield only one serving. Here goes.

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Tip: Sprinkling cheese will be heavenly, just when its hot, any type of cheese will make it a melty, yummy Indian Masala Cheese Omelette!

All you need:

  1. 2 Eggs
  2. 2 tbsp chopped onion, I roughly chop it to keep the crunch, you can chop it finely whatever suits your taste.
  3. 1 green chili, finely chopped (Indian chilies are pretty hot, one is enough for the right spicy hot taste)
  4. 1 tbsp finely chopped tomato(optional, I don’t add it for my husband, the one in the picture is clearly my husband’s serving)
  5. 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  6. 1 tbsp milk 
  7. 1 tsp turmeric
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder (optional, if you think the green chili is enough spice for you skip this, I love it for the extra kick, tasty!)
  9. Salt as required
  10. Black pepper powder, a pinch
  11. 2 tbsp Oil/ Butter (I love it when the sides are oily, you can cut this down to half)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Whisk the eggs till a little frothy. Add all the ingredients except the oil and whisk a little again.
  2. On medium low flame heat a round pan preferably an 8″ or smaller so that the omelette fluffs up nicely in the pan.
  3. Pour oil and swirl it around the pan, when it starts to swirl easily, that’s the right amount of hot.
  4. Pour the egg mixture in the center and swirl it around the pan making sure the entire pan is covered.
  5. Cook until the edges look firm and the omelette is fluffy and bubbly.
  6. Flip it over and cook for 20-30 seconds or until it is firm yet moist.
  7. Serve hot with toasted slices of bread or buns.

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