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Cooking with white eggplants and onions from my garden.

I enjoyed growing this variety of eggplant in my garden. It was a visual delight, growing in elegant white clusters amidst beautiful star pointed purple flowers. It was also surprisingly mild and sweet tasting.

After I came back from my trip towards end of summer, I was only able to harvest a few eggplants, not enough to make a substantial dish for the whole family. So I decided to stretch the vegetable by adding it to rice to make an Indian rice dish called Vangi Baath or Eggplant Rice. This is traditionally made in western and southern parts of India.

The vegetable is cooked with a premade spice powder and then added to rice to make a less fussy version of a pilaf.

Vangi Baath or Eggplant Pilaf

Cook 3-4 cups of white rice and set aside.

For the spice powder

½ tsp oil

1 tbsp yellow split peas [Chana Dal]

2  tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

5-6 whole dried Red Indian chilies

Warm a small pan with oil. Add the split peas and coriander, stir continuously till fragrant and the split peas are toasted to a light brown hue. Next add the cumin and red chilies and toast for a few seconds. Turn the stove off, cool and grind the spices to a fine powder.

To prepare the vegetable

3 tbsp oil or ghee

1 tsp  whole mustard seeds

A few curry leaves

2 cups diced eggplant

1 cup diced onions

Salt to taste

A small amount of tamarind soaked in a 1/4 cup of hot water [see pic]. When cool, squeeze the tamarind to extract the pulp. Discard the remnant fibres.

Soak the diced eggplant in water for ten minutes to leech out any bitterness, then drain.

Warm oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and let it pop, add the curry leaves.

Sauté the drained eggplant and onions till the eggplant is almost cooked, about 12-15 minutes.

Add salt, the tamarind extract and 1-2 tablespoon of spice powder and cook for a minute.

Putting it together

Spread 3-4 cups of rice on a wide plate. Add the cooked eggplant to the rice and gently mix so the rice doesn’t clump together. Adjust for salt, put in a dish and serve, with raita and papad or potato chips.

Thanks for dropping by,

Best, S.

 The sun and its warmth and light will soon be behind us… Boohoo!

 On the bright side we can fall back on winter foods to give us comfort. So here is a drink that will nourish you and warm your soul. Nuts, spices and sugar stewed in milk mmmm…

Spiced Milk/ Masala milk

For the readymade Milk Masala Powder

10 whole cardamom pods

30 almonds  

20 pistachio nuts

1/4  cup sugar

1/4 tsp crushed saffron strands or saffron powder

1/8 tsp turmeric powder

In a small blender, powder the cardamom in its skin as fine as possible, then add the nuts and continue to powder till it is gritty but not pasty. Remove and add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and store in a jar for later use. It stores well in the fridge for a couple of months.

To make the spiced milk

1 cup milk, whichever type you prefer, but not fat free

1 heaped tablespoon of milk masala powder

Heat I cup of milk in a sauce pan, add the spice powder as it comes to a boil and whisk for a few seconds and take off the heat. Let the flavors steep into the milk for half an hour. The texture of this drink is going to be gritty. You can strain the milk if you prefer. This drink is generally had warm during winter and cold during summer. Add extra sugar if you have a sweet tooth.

Quick microwave method. Heat 1 cup of milk till it begins to froth and whisk the spice powder and let it rest for  ½ an hour.

This is a wonderful drink that both children and adults can enjoy. It is served on many special occasions because of it’s richness.

FOOD NOTES

  • Make sure the nuts are dry roasted and unsalted. If the nuts are raw just dry roast them in skillet on a low flame for a couple of minutes. This is to make sure there is no moisture in the nuts.
  • This an excellent night cap.

Best, S.

 

Since I discovered food blogs, just a few short months ago, I have been obsessively blog hopping and enjoying, in particular the wonderful ‘events’ that are hosted throughout the blogging community.

I have followed Margaret Roach’s blogs for a while,  as my interests in food and gardening intersect at her ‘A way to garden’. I‘ve been meaning to participate in her summer fest, but was not ready as I was still trying to navigate the travails of blogging.

Now having taken a few baby steps I am feeling a little bit more confidant and am happy to be contemplating recipes ahead of ‘Potato’ week. Hmmm,,,, maybe I’ll even develop a recipe with all the ingredients  that have been featured until now …… That should be a lot of fun.

Only using  Cucumber, Corn, Cilantro [herb], Dates [stone fruit], Tomatoes, Tabasco pepper, Garlic and Potatoes, I’ll attempt a variation of the popular Indian street food called Chaat.

So what is a “Chaat”? It is an Indian snack/ salad/ street food/ appetizer. Potatoes are generally the back bone of a this dish. A whole host of vegetables and fruits can be added to a Chaat which is then drizzled with a sweet and a spicy, tart sauce and then liberally sprinkled with Chaat Masala. Chickpeas, mung sprouts, puffed rice, peanuts, fried lentil fritters and a number of interesting things can also make their way into a Chaat.

Here is my ‘Summer Fest Chaat’

No measurements required for the vegetables as you can combine them any way you want and any amount you want.

The Veggies

Cucumbers, cut into ½ inch dice

Corn on the cob roasted over a fire like so

and cut into ½ inch rounds, with salt rubbed over them.

Tomatoes, green/red or a combination cut into ½ inch dice

Potatoes [boiled, peeled and cut into ½ inch]. Shallow fry the potatoes to a golden brown like so

 and season with salt.

For The Sweet and Tart Chutney

½ a cup of green tomatoes with a blush of ripeness [tart]

¼ cup of cilantro, packed tight

2 pitted medjool dates [sweet]

1 or 2 cloves of garlic

1 tabasco pepper.

¼ tsp salt

Blend everything. You can add a little water if you want it a little runny.

Chilli powder [optional]

Assemble

your veggies and drizzle the chutney, lightly toss. sprinkle chilli powder. Dig in.

FOOD NOTES

  • With the corn, I was totally taking liberties as I ‘ve never seen them in a Chaat. However roasted corn rubbed over with a lemon and sprinkled with “masala’  is a very popular road side fare.
  • I used a Tabasco pepper as I grow it in my garden. You can use a milder pepper.
  • When using green tomatoes, it is better to use ones that have just started to ripen because you could go wrong with the unripe ones as they can  have a sharp acidic taste.
  • Normally there are several chutneys at the stall but my challenge was to create a recipe with the just a few ingredients so I just made the one.
  • Feel free to add whatever veggie or fruit takes your fancy.
  • The chutney will also make a great spread.
  • Chaat is usually served in a recepticle made out of dried leaves stitched together and a tooth pick which stands in for a fork.

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