Baigan bharta (Aubergine)

  

A very traditional and old Indian recipe, baigan bharta is an amazing dish. It pairs fantasticly with a lot of Indian food such as daal, rice,  chickpeas,red kidney beans I.e.  Raajma,black peas, roti, parantha and the list  continues. It is either me or the fact that I come from North  India,I always relish this with North Indian food and not so much with south indian food. The trick in this recipe is to roast the eggplant (baigan)  nicely. Traditionally baigan was roasted on coal fire and that brings out a nice smokey  taste. People living in village or country side still do the  same.In  cities,people use gas  stove to get almost the same taste. For most people living abroad modern day ovens are the substitute for roasting  eggplant (baigan). Nonetheless the taste is still nice and totally worth  eating.

Preparation time: 2 hours

Ingredients :

2 large baigan ( eggplant,aubergine)

2 large onion – chopped length wise and bit thick

2 tomatoes – chopped 

Fresh coriander – 3-4 tbsp

Vegetable oil – 4-5 tbsp (Traditional cooking uses mustard oil but if you have never tried it before then use vegetable oil)

Zeera (Cumin seeds) : 3 tsp

Dry coriander powder: 4 tsp 

Red chilli powder: 1-2 tsp (adjust to taste)

Haldi (turmeric powder): 2 tsp

Salt – 3-4 tsp (adjust to taste)

Garam masala – 1/2 tsp 

Method:

Lightly brush the aubergine with  oil.Roast in oven at 200 degrees for around 45 min. To check that the aubergine are roasted Pierce the head with a  knife.The knife should easily pass  through. if I am not in a hurry, I usually switch off the oven and leave the aubergine in the oven for another 2  hours. once roasted peel off the skin with  hands.Roughly slice the roasted aubergine into small cubes and keep aside.

Now take 4 tbsp oil in a non stick pan. When the oil is hot add  Zeera, Haldi,red chilli  powder,dry coriander powder and  onions.Fry until onion are brown. Then add tomatoes and fry until the mixture starts to leave  sides. At this stage add  baigan,salt and garam  masala.

Now Fry fry and  fry,scrapping off the bottom and until when the baigan reduces to a small quantity and stops sticking to the  pan. Finally garnish with fresh coriander and serve  hot.

Green coconut chutney

  Inspired from coconut chutney recipe by  Manjula aunty, we tried to make a green coconut chutney and it was great! Got amazing feedback from guests on all the chutneys that we had prepared to go with idli and  sambhar.This chutney can easily be used with  uttapa,dosa, wada or pagodas.

Preparation time: 15 min

Chana daal (gram lentil): 2 tbsp

Natural yoghurt or curd: 3 tbsp

Coriander: 3 tbsp

Coconut (crushed): 3/4 cup

Water: 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp

Black mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp

Method:

Dry roast Chana daal in a pan until slightly  brown. blend the toasted daal to a fine powder in a  blended.Now add the curd and fine chopped Coriander leaves to the blender and blend to a smooth mix. At this stage add coconut and blend to a fine chutney. If it is too thick add water as  needed.Finally add salt and red chilli.

Now take 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan and add mustard seeds when oil is hot. Once the seeds splitter add chutney from the blender to the oil. If needed adjust water,salt and red  chilli. Remove from  flame, transfer into a glass or ceramic bowl and let it cool to room  temperature.Then place in the refrigerator until it is cool. 

Enjoy with a dish of your  choice.Goes best with south indian  food.

Green coconut curry

 
  Whenever I come back exhausted and tired after a long day, all I look for is quick food – with taste and health  gradient.

Here is what I did for this green Thai curry. I used the recipe for yellow thai curry (find Here) and replaced  carrots,mushrooms and green peas with boiled  broccolli, spinach.Also used some saut√© red bell pepper. And taaadaaan it’s ready ūüôā

Taco with black beans

Taco with beans was another impulse cooking on a lazy weekend. Aaaand it was super delicious. Almost felt like being in a Mexican household. The aroma of black beans, jalape√Īo and olive oil filled the house and we enjoyed tacos sitting in a lovely sun. Since the first time, have tried this another 4 times and each time it is a pleasure to the taste buds.

Preparation time: 30 min

Ingredients (6 tacos):

Boiled black beans – 2 cups

Onion chopped – 1 medium 

Tomato chopped – 1 medium 

Salt to taste

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Garam masala – 1/2 tsp

Mozzarella shredded – 1.5 cups

Taco shells – 6

Olive oil

Avocado – 1 ripe

Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Salad (Chopped tomato, chopped onion, chopped coriander mix) – 1 small bowl

Black olives chopped – 3 tbsp

Red chilli Mexican sauce – 1 small bowl

Method:

Take 2-3 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add onions. When onions are nice brown add tomatoes and fry until they leave oil on the sides. Now add black beans (without water), salt to taste, red chill powder and garam masala. Mix well and fry until the beans are a bit dried out. Add jalape√Īos and mix well. Fry for another minute. When ready take off flame and keep aside.

Heat the microwave at 180 degree Celsius. On the side arrange taco shells in a tray. In each shell add 2-3 tbsp of black beans and top up with olives and cheese.

Place the tray in the oven and keep watching. Take out as soon as the shells turn slightly brown. Taco shells are sensitive to heat and can burn easily. I used approx 6 min of oven time.

Peel the avocado and mash the fruit in a bowl. Add lemon juice and salt to taste.

Serve hot tacos with salad, avocado and chilli sauce or salsa. 

Quesadillas

  

Made this over a weekend together with my partner – and loved it. I have my mouth watering when I looked at this picture again. Wow they were fabulous and I must make them again.

Preparation time: 15 min

Ingredients (8 quesadilla):

Wheat tortillas large – 4

Sliced Mushrooms – 2.5 cups

Zucchini chopped – 2 cups

Red bell pepper – chopped – half cup

Cheddar cheese – grated – 1 cup

Fried and mashed black beans – 6-8 tbsp

Jalape√Īo – 1/2 cup (adjust to taste)

Olive oil

Salt to taste

Red chili powder (optional)

Salsa 

Method:

Take around 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a pan and stir fry mushrooms until they lose all water and are but dry. Add zucchini, red bell pepper and stir fry veggies until cooked. I like to keep the veggies a bit crisp and not mushy in quesadilla. Now add jalape√Īo and salt as per taste. Add 1/2 tsp chili powder. 

Now take a skillet and brush the surface with oil. Place the tortilla on top and heat from both sides until the tortilla is slightly brown and slightly crisp. Remove the tortilla from skillet and keep aside. Now take another tortilla and again heat slightly from both sides on the skillet. Now time is of the essence – as we do not want to burn the tortilla. So quickly cover the tortilla (the one on the skillet) with a layer of black beans, cheese and veggies. Cover with the tortilla we had kept aside earlier and carefully turn the whole quesadilla over so that it is nice brown and crisp on both sides.

Take off the flame, cut into four quarters and serve with salsa and guacamole. 

Pasta (mushrooms, zucchini and flax seeds) 

  

What a fantastic pasta this came out as. And to top up the taste and health gradient, I added some crushed flax seeds on top and it was awesome. 

Preparation time: 15 min

Ingredients (for 1.5 serving):

Fusilli pasta – 2 cups – boiled nicely up until the pasta has a very slight sturdiness left but it is neither overcooked nor undercooked.

Sliced Brown Mushrooms – 2.5 cups

Chopped zucchini – 1 cup

Olive oil 

Salt to taste 

Crushed Flax seeds – 1 tbsp

Green pesto – 2 tbsp (choose a green pesto mix of your choice from the market)

Method:

Boil the pasta in a pan with water, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. When the pasta is boiled drain the water and keep aside.

On the side, take 2-3 tsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle them with around 1tsp salt. Let the mushrooms cook nicely on high flame until they lose all water and are a bit dry. At this point add zucchini. And more salt if needed. Stir fry the veggies until they are cooked. Now add the boiled pasta. 

Mix well. Add pesto and mix again. Serve hot and sprinkle on top with crushed flaxseeds. 

I can highly recommend it not just for the taste but also for the health benefits that one gets from veggies and flaxseed. 

Aaloo tikki

10177281_10152903779458410_1565389287496029071_n 10408053_10152903779308410_5840045953948257419_nAaloo Tikki is one of the most popular street foods of Northern India, though this is eaten all across India. It is super yum, and a must try. You can control the spices as you like Рmostly the spicier the better it tastes with the final mix of yoghurt and tamarind chutney (Sonth).  Traditionally this is served with yogurt, tamarind sonth, onion and pomegranate. However it is also popularly used to make burgers. So you can choose to use it as a vegetarian or a vegan dish. You can easily store tikkis in the refrigerator up to 1 day. Hope you like it :). If you want to use the tikki in a burger, then use the green peas filling, and if you want to use it for chat then use the gram lentil (chana dal) filling.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Ingredients (for 10-12 tikkis):

For filling: 

Green peas filing:

Finely chopped onion – 1 medium or large

Green peas – 1 cup

Cumin seeds (zeera) – 1/2 tsp

Dry coriander powder – 1.5 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp (adjust to taste)

Salt

Gram Lentil (Chana dal) filling:

2 tbsp 75% boiled chana dal – Make sure this is not overboiled. We want to have the lentils retain their shape

3/4th tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp amchur powder (dry mango powder)

1/2 tsp salt

For tikkis:

Boiled and mashed medium-sized potatoes – 10

Salt

Lemon juice – 1.5 tbsp

Corn starch – 4-5 tsp (if the tikki start breaking in the oil while frying, add more corn starch)

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method:  To make the green-peas filling, take 2 tbsp cooking oil in a pan and once it is hot, add in the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds have spluttered, add the coriander powder and red chilli and just mix the spices in. Ensure that the spices do not burn Рso do not leave the spices for more than few seconds and add the chopped onion to the pan. This will stop the spices from burning. Fry onion until golden brown. Add the peas and 3/4th tsp salt Рadjust to taste. Cook this filling until it is dry and has no water left in it. let the filling cool down before filling it in the tikkis.

For the Chana dal filling, take the chana dal and drain out all water. Add all the spices and salt. The filling is ready to be used.

For the tikki, take the mashed potatoes and add corn starch, lemon juice and salt. Now take around two tbsp of this potato mix in your hand (you can grease your palm with a little oil if it is too sticky). Roll this into a ball and then press it to make a even circular disk of approx. 2-3 inch diameter. Now take 1-2 tsp of filling and place in the centre of this potato disk. Now envelope the filling within the potato tikki by carefully closing all the sides. (Imagine that this potato disk is a small container and we close the sides of the container onto the filling. I will add pictures next time when we make it). Heat sufficient oil in a wok (enough so that the tikki gets totally submerged in oil). Let the oil become hot and now add the first tikki into it. You can keep the oil at medium-high flame so that the tikki is nicely cooked. If the first tikki doesn’t break, then we don’t need to worry and continue to roll and make more tikkis. If the first one starts to break apart in the oil – small pieces of potato start losing out from the tikki – then add more corn starch to the mashed potato mix. And try again. Fry the tikkis until nice golden brown.

Tomato rice

 This is a super simple recipe, with loads of taste that just melts away in the mouth. Tomato rice is a south indian dish Рsimple and quick and super tasty. Pair it with yoghurt, raita of your choice or even a curry of your choice. It works well with everything and is just the perfect lunch or dinner to make when you are tired, and need something quick and easy and yet healthy/tasty.

Preparation time: 20 min

Ingredients: Black mustard seeds (Raee): 0.5 tsp

Tomato – diced into small cubes – 3 medium

Basmati Rice – 2 cup

Peanuts – 3/4th of a cup

Green chilli – chopped – 1 (optional)

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Sambhar powder – 1.5 tsp (This is easily available at an Indian grocery store across the world)

Salt – 1 to 1.5 tsp (adjust to taste)

Water – 4 cups (keep twice the amount of rice)

Vegetable oil – 3 tbsp

Method: Take a pan/pot or wok, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add the peanuts and fry them for approx. 2 min until they become a little brown in colour. Then add 3/4th of the chopped tomato and stir for 2 min. Then add the green chilli, sambhar powder, salt and stir. Now add the rice and mix. Then add water. Let the water come to a boil on medium heat. At this stage, give the rice a stir, cover the pot with a lid and simmer the heat to low. Cook until the rice is fully cooked. Now add the remaining tomato, mix well and serve hot with a side dish, curry or yoghurt of your choice.

Okra (bhindi) 

Okra or Bhindi is one of all time favourite dishes that my mom used to make. It is super delicious and melts into the mouth with a flavour of sweet, salt and spices. Must try!

Ingredients:

Okra fresh – 750 gram (Tip: When buying the okra try to break the tip of the okra with your thumb. If it breaks easily okra is good. If it just bends but does not snap then the okra is too ripe and won’t taste very good)

Two large onion – finely chopped

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Turmeric (Gurkmeja) – 1 tsp

Dry coriander powder – 2 tsp

Red chilli powder – 0.5 to 1 tsp (adjust to taste)

Vegetable oil – 5 tbsp

Salt – 1.5 to 2 tsp (adjust to taste)

Garam masala – 0.5 teaspoon

Method: 

At least 2-3 hours before you want to finally make the dish, wash the okra and dry each okra individually over a piece of kitchen towel and leave aside so that all moisture is dried up. This prevents the final dish to get very sticky. We do not want water in this.

When the okra are dried, slice them into 1 inch pieces.

Heat the oil in a deep wok. When the oil is ready, add cumin seeds, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and let the spices mix in the oil for 2-3 seconds. Do not leave the spices for too long as they might get burnt, so after 2-3 seconds add the finely chopped onion and stir. Fry the onions until they are nice brown in color. Add this stage, add the okra and mix well. Now add salt and garam masala – and mix. Let the okra fry on open flame for approx. 20 min, with occasional stirring in between.

Break the okra with your spatula to check if it is completely cooked. When cooked fully, fry for another 2 min. Take off the flame and serve hot with rice or roti.

Bread utthapa

Uttapa is a south indian recipe and can be described as a thick dosa made with different vegetables put within the batter. For those who do not understand dosa, uttapa is like a salt pancake. The twist that we tried today was to mix white bread in the batter, and it gave a great result. The original recipe is by Manjula, and we took her recipe and adjusted to our taste.

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Ingredients (for 6 uttapa):

6 slices of white bread, with the brown sides removed

coarse semolina – approx. 5 tablespoons

whole purpose flour (maida) – approx. 5 tablespoons

yoghurt (curd) – approx. 6-7 tablespoons

water – approx. half cup

salt – 1.5 to 2 tsp adjust to taste

cumin seeds – 1 tsp

red chilli powder – 1 tsp adjust to taste

finely chopped green chilli – 1

finely chopped cilantro (coriander) – 1-2 tbsp

fine shopped tomato – 2 small

Method: 

Put the bread, semolina, whole purpose flour, yoghurt and water into a blender and blend to a fine paste. The consistency of the batter should be a smooth flowing batter but not too thin. Now add the rest of the ingredients to the batter. Mix well.

Take a pan, and lightly oil the surface. Then add 1.5 serving spoon of batter and spread it into a circular shape ensuring that the uttapa does not break and is not too thin. Fry well from both sides until golden brown.

Serve hot with a chutney/sauce or sambhar.

Wheat bhatura

I got this recipe tip from my friend Khusbhoo. Its a really great way of enjoying bhaturas using the healthier whole wheat flour (no yeast required). Traditionally bhaturas are served with amritsari chole, punjabi chole or chole curry, boondi raita or dahi bhalle.

Ingredients:

Wheat flour – 2 cups

Mixed water (50%) and curd (50%) – just enough to make a firm dough

salt – 1 tsp

sugar – 1 tsp

Method:

Knead a firm dough using the wheat flour, water and curd mixture, salt and sugar. When ready, cover the dough and let it stand for 3-4 hours. I wanted to enjoy this in the breakfast so I let it stand overnight and later kept it in the refrigerator (I am in Denmark where it is still not very warm – temperature variew from 2-3 degree C at night to 7-10 degree C in the day. So if you are in a warmer place then let the dough stand for 3-4 hours and then refrigerate). You would notice that the dough does not puff a lot, but do not worry. The taste would be lovely.

To make the bhatura, take a small ball of dough and roll into a long elongated shape with a thickness of approximately 0.4 cm. Sometimes the dough is difficult to handle with the rolling pin. In that case, elongate it with your hands – that works just fine. To fry take pan-deep oil in a frying pan or a wok. Let the oil become really hot, and then fry the bhatura in hot oil. The hotter the oil, the better is the puffiness and softness of the final product. However do not burn the oil – we need just enough hot – say a level below when the oil would start to burn but hot enough so that the bhatura become soft and not hard.

It usually takes a first try to check the oil, and then from the second bhatura you will get the crispy, yet soft and nice bhatura.