Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cabbage, Carrot and Peas Palya

Cabbage Palya

Any help I can get in making my cooking simpler, I take it! For example, this bag of cole slaw. No need to chop and wash cabbage coz it's already done for you! Plus it has some carrots too, for added nutrition. I'll take that! :) So here's a quicker Cabbage and Peas Palya for you -

1 bag coleslaw mix (about 3 heaped cups of shredded cabbage & carrots)
1/2 cup peas
2-3 green chilies, chopped (or to taste)
2 tsp shredded coconut (I used coconut powder)
2 tbsp water
Salt to taste

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
7-8 curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric

Here's what I did -
In a pressure pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add in the remaining ingredients for tadka and the chopped green chillies. Fry for about 20 seconds. Add the vegetables, salt and water. Cover and cook for one whistle (or until done, if not using pressure cooker).

Cabbage Palya

This is the traditional (and possibly the simplest) form of palya, which goes very well with rice and saaru (or sambar/rasam) and is great with rotis too. Another variation is to grind the green chillies and coconut together, similar to the carrot and beans palya. For a different flavor, do jeera tadka with dhania-jeera powder, red chilli powder and garam masala. Or for a Maharashtrian bhaji, add soaked chana dal. You can add lime juice to this too. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kid Update and Revisiting Some Oldies

Little M is now 2 years and 8 months old and talks non-stop. She gets up in the morning and gets started! I cannot believe she has so many things to say first thing in the morning! I'm still half-asleep and making non-committal noises in response. Of course, that doesn't work for long since she really, really (or 'lilly, lilly', as she says it!) needs answers. For questions like "why does Ginger run away from me?", "why do I have to go to Ammamma's (the sitter) house?", "why should I share toys?", "why can't we go to Kid Junction today?" etc. All burning questions, that no doubt require deep answers first thing in the morning! :)

Here she is, at her current favorite place- the "grocery store" at a kid entertainment center.

She's that not into dolls. Recently, we went to a doll store and she refused to get one for herself despite our perstering her to choose one! She prefers to play with computer and electronic stuff. She even likes cars better than dolls. Here she is on a "tactor". More her type! :)

I have been revisiting my older recipes to update the posts with better pictures. I'd really enjoyed the apple gojju that my mom made a long time ago but had not prepared it again. I had a big bag of apples that I knew we've never finish unless I cooked something with it. So apple gojju it was. Bonus of course, was the opportunity to update the old post with a new picture!

Apple Gojju

And another look -
Apple Gojju

Another post that's been revitalized with a new picture is Togari Nucchina Unde, which are steamed savory toor dal dumplings, served with a yogurt based gravy.

Togari Nuchchina Unde

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are my oft prepared quick fix meal. "Queso" means cheese in Spanish and quesadillas are grilled tortillas filled with cheese and other fixings. I usually buy whole wheat tortillas. I also happened to have packaged precooked chicken in the fridge. It was just a matter of assembling the ingredients together and grilling the tortilla.

I make another version with chicken marinated in a smoky mesquite barbecue rub and then grilled. All other  ingredients remain the same. It is a kick-ass recipe and has won me some fans.

Chicken Quesadilla

1 large tortilla
Cooked chicken pieces (use black/pinto/refried beans for vegetarian protein)
2 tbsp onions and peppers, sliced & fried for a few mins in oil
1 tsp taco sauce
handful of shredded monterey jack/cheddar cheese

Spray oil on tortilla & place it on a griddle or grill. On one half of the tortilla, put all the remanining ingredients and cover with the other half. Cook till slightly crisp and brown. Flip over and cook on the other side. Cut them into wedges and serve.

Chicken Quesadilla

Guacamole, salsa and sour cream all make great dips with this. I like them just as is. You can stuff practically anything in a quesadilla, which is a great way to finish leftovers too! Makes for a quick meal that can be put together in minutes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lazeez Lauki

I had been eyeing this recipe for sometime now but kept putting it off thinking it's too complicated and time consuming. When Lavi announced RCI-Lucknow, I finally took the plunge. The lauki is filled with a delicious stuffing and simmered in a mixture of onion paste and spiced yogurt for a little taste of heaven!

Lazeez Lauki

RCI is an event started by Lakshmi and hosted by Lavi this month with Lucknawi food as the theme. The Nawabi food of Lucknow is royal indeed with generous use of rich foods like khoya, cream, ghee, saffron, nuts, dry fruits etc in many of their dishes. This Lazeez Lauki again comes from Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, a cookbook dedicated to Awadhi cuisine. I adapted the recipe to use the ingredients I had in hand and substitited where necessary. I have used paprika and turmeric for color. Recipe calls for saffron and kewra water, both of which I skipped. I'm sure that would've added a whole new dimension to the flavour. Recipe also has khoya for stuffing but I used paneer instead. I've used garam masala in place of the roasted and ground spices that the original recipe had. I've tweaked and taken short cuts here but I think it was still the longest time I've taken to prepare a curry! But the lauki was still very lazeez! :)


Bottle gourd

For stuffing:
1/4 cup crumbled paneer (recipe calls for khoya)
2 tbsp cashewnuts, chopped and roasted
1 tsp yogurt
salt to taste

For grinding:
2 onions, chopped and fried till golden brown
1 tbsp poppy seeds, roasted

1 cup yogurt, beaten
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp ghee/oil
salt to taste

Wash and peel the gourd. If too long then cut into two halves (I used just a half). Remove the pith with a knife. Prick the outside uniformly with a fork. Apply a teaspoon of salt all over and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the finely sliced onions in ghee to a golden brown and grind to a paste along with the roasted poppy seeds. If too dry, add a little yogurt to help with the grinding.
Prepare the stuffing by frying the cashewnuts in some ghee. Mix it in with crumbled paneer, 1 tsp yogurt, salt and keep aside.
Pat the gourd dry and fry in the ghee previously used. Evenly brown all over. Drain ghee and remove. Fill the gourd with the prepared stuffing.
In the yogurt, mix the onion/poppy seed paste, garam masala, red chilli powder, paprika, turmeric and salt & blend well. I had some leftover stuffing that I added in the mixture, which made the sauce chunky. Heat the mixture in the pan, along with the stuffed gourd. Cover with lid and cook on low for 30 minutes, until the gourd is cooked through.
Serve hot on a platter, garnished with coriander. Carve round slices while serving. Tastes delicious with chapati or warqui paratha.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hing Jeerey ke Aloo

When Lavi announced RCI- Lucknow, I was really thrilled since I had recently tasted some fabulous Lucknawi/Awadhi/Nawabi food for the first time at Swadh Desi, a newly opened restaurant in Bangalore. I couldn't wait to try some out at home. A book called Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, I believe is the only known cookbook dedicated solely to this form of cooking. I was lucky enough to find some recipes from that book online here (Jan-Mar 2006 Issue). This Hing Jeerey ke Aloo was simple to make and oh-so-delicious. Thanks, Lavi for hosting this and Lakshmi for starting this wonderful event.

3 large potatoes, cut into big chunks (recipe calls for baby potatoes)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp ghee (I used ghee/oil combo)
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1/8 tsp hing/asafoetida
2 green chillies chopped
1 tsp ginger grated
2 tsp anardana powder/pomegranate powder
1 tsp red chilli powder (I used paprika for less heat)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Boil the potatoes in a pan with water and salt. Cook until tender but not mushy. Drain and keep aside.
Heat the ghee in a pan. Add asafoetida, stir on medium heat until it puffs up. Add cumin seeds and stir until they begin to pop. Add the ginger and green chilies and fry for 30 seconds. Add potatoes and stir-fry for a minute.
Add pomegranate powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder; stir-fry until the masala turns dark brown and evenly coats the potatoes. Remove and adjust the seasoning.

Incidentally, this is my 100th post. It only took 2 years and 8 months to reach this milestone! :) I go through phases in blogging, as do many, I guess. You'll find me posting every few days for a few months and then I disappear for weeks on end! Right now, I'm going through the "cook, click, post" phase, which hopefully will last for sometime. Let's see!! :)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mexican Bean and Vegetable burger

IndoSunGod of Daily Musings has posted this yum bean and vegetable burger, which is the inspiration for this burger with a Mexican twist.

Veggie and Bean Burger

1 17oz can garbanzo beans, drained and coarsely blended
1 medium potato
handful of green peas and corn
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp taco seasoning (or taco sauce)
1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced (or 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste

In a pressure cooker, boil the potatoes, peas and corn. Mash potatoes and the beans. Combine all the ingredients. Form into patties. Heat 1 tsp oil on a non-stick skillet. Cook burgers until golden on each side.
I served them on multigrain sandwich thins, starting with a bed of field greens, then the burger and topped with caramelized onions and green peppers (that were leftover from last night's quesadilla dinner!), tomatoes and taco sauce. You can top this with some shredded cheddar or monteray jack cheese for added flavour.

Served them with some simple corn salsa to complete this Mexico inspired meal.

Another look -
Veggie & Bean Burger

This is also my entry for My Legume Love Affair, an event started by Susan and hosted by Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska for the ninth helping. Thank you, both!