Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spinach and Cauliflower Frittata

I'm in shock over the death of the most popular icon from my school days. His music touched everybody alright. While my parents would wonder out loud how this man's screaming & screeching could be called music, our maid could be heard singing "ambe, ambe" (for "I'm bad, I'm bad')! Like him or not, there's no denying that he was a great artist, the true King of Pop. RIP, MJ!

Seems a bit frivolous to talk about food right now. But I've been MIA the past few weeks (which sticks out since I've been pretty good with posting until recently) and I didn't want to fall completely off the track, as I have done in the past. Here's a quick recipe for frittata that always works for me. Add any combination of veggies you have available. I try to avoid using the oven as much as possible. This here is a stove-top version that's faster and saves energy too. This is what my friend ISG would call a 'green' frittata and not just because of the spinach! :)

Spinach Cauliflower Frittata

6 eggs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1 tsp tabasco or any other hot sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine
1 cup spinach, finely chopped
15-20 small florets of cauliflower
1 tbsp oil for frying
Oil spray to coat skillet

In a bowl, break the eggs and add in the seasonings & the cheese. Whisk well until well blended. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, nuke the cauliflower florets in salted water for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Keep aside.
Coat a heavy bottomed skillet evenly with oil spray. Heat 1 tbsp oil and fry onions and garlic for a few minutes.
Add the chopped spinach and fry for another 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and mix well. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the skillet.
Pour the egg mixture on top.
Cover and cook on the lowest setting until the top is set (about 20 minutes).
Cut into wedges and serve.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dahi Bhindi & Ayam Masak Merah for T&T

Hooked on Heat was one of the first few blogs that I came across soon after I started blogging. Meena's recipes and pictures are delightful! I was very happy to see that this month's featured blog on Tried & Tasted was HoH. Thanks to Zlamushka, the creator of the event and Kits Chow who is hosting it this month.

I tried not one but two recipes. Both came out well and are keeper recipes. Thanks, Meena! I clicked these pictures in pretty bad light and they do no justice to the dishes. Be sure to check the original pictures.

I love, love okra and was very surprised to realize that I've not posted a single okra recipe before! Remedied right now with this flavorful curry with yogurt sauce, Dahi Bhindi.

Dahi Bhindi
Original recipe here


1 bag frozen , chopped okra
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup yogurt, beaten
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp oil
red chili powder and salt to taste

HEAT oil in a non-stick pan and saute cumin seeds till they begin to sizzle. Add onions & grated ginger, fry for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat till transparent. Add in okra and cover cook for a few minutes till done, tossing occasionally.

ADD red chilli powder, turmeric and salt, and stir-fry for a few minutes. Slowly stir in beaten curd forming a smooth gravy base.

SPRINKLE garam masala and cook covered for another minute or two.

Over to the second recipe now, Ayam Masak Merah -
I've always enjoyed Malaysian food and the Ayam Masak Merah (chicken in red chili sauce) was certainly calling out to me! It is pretty high on the heat factor and that glass of lemonade will really help! I enjoyed this thoroughly, with white rice.

I'm a little squeamish about handling raw chicken. So instead of chopping the strips first and then frying them, I did the reverse. I cooked them first and then cut them into chunky pieces.

Original recipe here.

Ayam Masak Merah

4 chicken strips
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
2 lemon grass stalks, discarding the rough green tops
1" ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp sambal olek / chili paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp light cooking oil
salt, to taste
water, as needed

MARINATE chicken in salt and turmeric, and set aside for 20-25 minutes.

BLEND onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and lemon grass to a smooth fine paste, adding a little water if necessary.

SAUTE the marinated chicken in hot oil till lightly browned, and set aside. In the same pan, fry Sambal Olek and the ground paste, stirring continuously till it starts to give out oil from the sides.

ADD in chicken, salt and water if necessary, and stir fry till chicken is cooked through and the flavours absorbed. Serve piping hot with coconut rice and tall glass of iced lemonade.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Badanekayi Eeruli Huli - Eggplants and Onion Huli (dal)

Dals or lentils are an integral part of Indian vegetarian cuisine. They are the main source of protein and in many households in India, made daily (or a few times a day!) in various forms. Huli is a form of dal made mainly in the Mysore/Bangalore regions of Karnataka. It is a thicker version of sambar but made with a different masala and is usually very vegetable-heavy.

Eggplant Onion Huli
Badanekayi Eerulli Huli

Recipe Name: Badanekayi Eerulli Huli (Thick Lentil Stew with eggplants and onions)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes (20 minutes to cook lentils & vegetables and 10 minutes to prepare the stew)
Serves: 4 people
Cooking Level: Intermediate
Recipe/Post by: Vani
1 medium Onion (chopped into big pieces)
1 medium sized Eggplant (chopped into 1 inch chunks)
1.5 cups Water
1.5 cups cooked Toor Dal (click here for cooking instructions)
3 tbsp freshly grated Coconut or Coconut Powder
¾ tsp Tamarind Paste (Acc to taste)
2 tsp Jaggery or Brown Sugar (Acc to taste)
Salt to taste

For Masala Powder:
2" Cinnamon
A pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
1 tbsp Chana Dal/Split Bengal Gram
2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
4-6 Dry Red Chillies
1 tsp Oil

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
A Pinch of Asafoetida
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
A spring of Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Oil

Eggplant Onion Huli
Badanekayi Eerulli Huli served with Rice and Ghee

  1. Fry the ingredients in the 'masala' section in 1 tsp of oil, until fragrant and grind them to a fine powder.
  2. Grind the coconut and the masala powder to a smooth paste, adding very little water.
  3. Heat oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds. When they start to crackle, add asafoetida, turmeric and curry leaves.
  4. Add onions, eggplants and water to the tempered oil. Cover and cook until the eggplants are soft.
  5. Add the coconut paste, cooked toor dal and salt and bring to a boil.
  6. Add tamarind paste and jaggery. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Serve with rice, topped with a dollop of ghee.

Special Notes/Tips:

  • The consistency of huli is very thick. So while adding dal, drain the water from the dal before adding. Also, add very little water while grinding the coconut paste.
  • Some typical vegetables/combinations in hulis are onion/potato, chayote/black eyed beans, greens, cabbage and beans.
  • Papads, chips and other fried fritters make good accompaniments with this.

Originally posted for Beyond Curries

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Home Alone..

It was a not-so-bright, not-so-sunny afternoon. Hubby N was away at work. Little M was at her sitter's house. I was working on my computer in the study, sipping a refreshing hot cup of coffee. The only sound one could hear was the clack-clack-clacking of my keyboard. It was a nice, relaxed kinda afternoon.

Suddenly the calm was shattered by the sound of the television in the next room. I went cold! There was no one else at home but me. Who could have turned the TV on? My heart dropped! There's someone inside my house! I thought. How on earth did he get in? Something you need to know about my house - there is no sneaking about here. Only because everything in the house squeaks - the doors, the windows, the floors and heck, even our cat Ginger, who prefers to squeak rather than meow! So this person must have been hiding inside my house all along!

What do I do? Call 911? And say what - "my TV came on?!" Yeah, that sure sounds like an emergency! about my knight in shining armor? Yes! Maybe he can help! So I call him (that was N, by the way!). And got his voicemail! Rats! Now what do I do?

I grabbed the heaviest thing I could find - one which I could hold comfortably in one hand, yet be able to cause decent damage to the intruder's skull when I whacked him - a narrow but heavy vase. I wanted the intruder to think me unsuspecting. So I carried on a pseudo-conversation with the dial tone on the phone. Let him think I'm talking to someone and can out him anytime, I thought, walking into the bedroom, phone in one hand and the in the other. Heart racing, hands clammy but raised to strike, I walk into the bedroom and.....
there was Ginger sitting on the bed, next to the TV remote control - she had accidentally pressed the 'on' button!