Simple recipes

Turnips with Greens Bhaji


Knol Khol, Kholrabi, Kholrabi greens, Navalkhol, Gunth Gobi, Ganth Gobi, Shalgam as Turnips are called is a great winter vegetable and a dietary staple in Kashmir.  The mature bulbs can become tough and woody, so look for tender bulbs with tender leaves.  Tender turnips can be grated or shredded and added raw into a salad.  Taste has a touch of raddish and can be included into several cuisines.

Ingredients

  • 2 Turnips with greens
  • ½ tsp. cumin seed
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  •  1 tsp. coriander seeds powder
  • 1 tsp. Dry Mango powder (Amchur)
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Oil

Clean the turnips, discard the yellow and blemished leave and the stems.  Use only tender green leaves.  Soak the leaves in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes to get rid of insects or dirt if any. Chop the leaves. Peel the turnips and chop into cubes.  Alternately you may cut into thin slices or shred into strips.

Heat a vessel and add oil, when hot add the cumin seed, when they crackle add turmeric and the turnips with the chopped greens.  Add ¼ cup water and cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice in between.  When the vegetable is cooked, add the chilli, coriander and amchur powder and salt.  Mix and cook further 5 minutes.  Take off flame and serve hot with rotis.

Banana flower Bhaji / Kel Phoolache Bhaji / Banana Blossom Stir fry


Banana blossom, Banana flower or banana heart, is the end of the stem holding the bunch of bananas. It is tropical vegetable used in Asian cooking and is available worldwide in Asian and Indian grocery stores year round. Banana flowers are high in vitamins A and C and have modest amounts of calcium and iron.  They are a good source of fibre. Banana flowers are commonly used as vegetables for cooking in countries such as Laos, India, Thailand, China, Burma, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam,

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana Blossom, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 tbsp. chana dal (split Bengal gram)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 top 4 garlic, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 3 to 4 Kokum petals (Mangosteen)
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp. salt or to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh grated coconut
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander
  • ½ cup butter milk

Preparing the banana blossom for cooking and a bit tedious and lengthy process, but totally worth it. Before cleaning the blossom, apply oil to your palms and fingers to avoid them becoming sticky and black from the sap.  Also makes it easier to wash-off.

First cut-off the tip and the stem so removal of the leaves (bracts) becomes easier. Remove the deep crimson outer bracts from banana blossoms.  Beneath each bract is a row of fronds/florets, remove and set aside. These are the male flowers that did not grow into bananas. Thus continue till you reach the inner petals, or bracts, which are the edible parts. Clean the florets by looking for the Calyx (the small petal in the front) and the Pistil (the long stem with a head like a matchstick).  Remove these as they don’t cook.  Discard the crimson bracts and the pistil and calyx.  You may reserve two to three clean and deep colored bracts to serve the bhaji and use them as decorative plates to enhance presentation.

Then take a bowl of water and add ½ cup butter milk and mix.  Chop the heart and florets finely and immediately immerse in the diluted butter milk till required to prevent oxidation and discoloration.

To cook, boil water in a vessel and add the chopped vegetable and cook 10 minutes, adding 1 tsp. Salt.  Strain in a sieve or colander and keep aside. Chop the onion, garlic and green chillies.  Heat oil in a vessel, when hot add the mustard seeds, when they crackle, add the urad dal and the chana dal.  Saute till light brown.  Then add the curry leaves and kokum, garlic and green chillies.  Fry 30 seconds and add the onions and fry till translucent.  Add ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. turmeric powder and mix well.  Add the boiled banana blossom, ½ cup water, mix.  Cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir at intervals.  Then add the fresh coconut and cook 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup coriander leaves chopped, reserve some for garnish.  Mix well, take off flame and serve hot with chapatis, neer dosa, panpole or with rice as an accompaniment.  Tastes great with any Indian bread.

Sweet Potato Khichidi – Ratalayache Kees


Sweet Potato Khichidi – Ratalyache Kees

Promotes gut health, say the health experts!  A dish so full of nutrients yet so simple and easy to make, apart from eating boiled sweet potatoes!

Fasting food!  Upvas recipe. Delicious sweet potatoes, rich in nutrients and fibre and antioxidants that promote the growth of good gut bacteria and contribute to a healthy gut.  Ashadi Ekadashi Special.  This flavourful dish is a combination of spicy, sweet, tart and can be cooked in a jiffy!

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 4 medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp. roasted peanut powder
  • 2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp. lemon, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. sugar (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Wash and scrub potatoes well.  Not necessary to peel.  Grate and transfer to a bowl of water to prevent oxidation.  Heat a pan and add the ghee.  Reduce flame and add the cumin seeds, when they crackle add curry leaves and green chilli and saute a few seconds.  Add the drained sweet potatoes and mix.  Cover and cook 7-10 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.  Add the peanut powder, salt, sugar and lemon juice and fresh coconut and mix well.  Switch off and let rest 5 minutes, before removing to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.  Enjoy with yogurt and pickle.  An excellent breakfast or snack! Great as an accompaniment to any main meal.  If you have observed, no water is added to the dish and hence the sweet potatoes are likely to stick to the pan. Using a non-stick pan helps.  Nonetheless, the slightly browned part of the Kees that has stuck to the bottom of the pan tastes the best!

Instant Quinoa Idlis


Quinoa Idli – No fermentation required!

Makes 12 Idlis

Quinoa is rich in protein, dietry fibre, B vitamins and dietary minerals in amounts greater than in many grains.  Cooked quinoa provides energy and is a rich source of manganese and phosphorus and a moderate source of dietary fiber, folate, and the dietary minerals iron, zinc and magnesium.  Quinoa is gluten-free with a high concentration of protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup White quinoa
  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • 4 tbsp. grated carrot
  • ¼ cup who cashewnuts
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 ½ cup Water, approx.

Powder the quinoa and oats in a grinder and add to a bowl.  Mix with 1 cup water.  Then add additional water a little at a time, as required to make a thick smooth batter or dropping consistency.  Batter should not be too watery. Add, salt, chillies and cumin seeds.  Mix.  Then add carrots, peas (preferably frozen peas as they cook faster).  Temper the mustard seed in the oil and add to the batter.  Add cashewnuts and mix well and keep aside.  Keep the steamer with some water to heat.  Grease the idli molds.  When the water starts boiling, fill the idli molds with approx. ¼ cup of batter in each mold.  Place the idli stand in the steamer, place the lid and steam for 15 to 20 minutes.  Pierce a toothpick, if it comes out clean the idlis are done.  Serve with coconut chutney.

Amla (Indian Goosberry) Saar Rasam


The taste of Indian Amla is sour, bitter and astringent, and it is quite fibrous.  According to Ayurveda, amla fruit is sour (amla) and astringent (kashaya) in taste (rasa), with sweet (madhura), bitter (tikta) and pungent (katu) secondary tastes (anurasas). Its qualities (gunas) are light (laghu) and dry (ruksha), the postdigestive effect (vipaka) is sweet (madhura) and its energy (virya) is cooling (shita). Source Wikipedia

These fruits are reputed to contain high amounts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). 

Ingredients

  • 6 Gooseberries
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2 tsp. Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1 pc. Ginger
  • 4 to 5 flakes garlic (optional)
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 red chillies
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. coriander leaves

Wash and deseed the amlas.  Wash the tomato, chop and keep aside. Grind the peppercorns and cumin to a powder. Remove and set aside.  To the same jar add the amlas, garlic, ginger, green chilli and grind to a paste adding some water.

Take oil in a vessel and add the ustard seeds, when they splutter add the curry leaves and red chilies, saute for a few seconds, then add the pepper and cumin powder and the chopped tomatoes and add ¼ cup water to cook the tomatoes and to avoid spice powders from burning.  When the tomatoes are soft add the amla paste, sufficient water 1 to 2 cups as per desired consistency, salt, turmeric powder and bring to a boil.  Reduce flame and cook 10 minutes.  Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Serve hot as soup or with plain steamed rice.  An excellent winter preparation due to its high vitamin C content.

Raw Banana Erussery


Banana Erussery   (Chena Vazhakkai Erissery)

Raw bananas have several health benefits so we always find new ways to add them to our diet.  This is a Kerala style preparation and one of the items on an Onam Sadya.  Referred to as Chena Vazhakkai Erissery or Ellisery, this is a simple dish with the use of fresh coconut, curry leaves and cumin seeds as the only ingredients for the gravy apart from onion, red chillies and garlic with some coconut for garnish. Yam, pumpkin and beans are also included as per personal preference.  I have added some pre-cooked jackfruit seeds. Enjoy with steamed rice or appams!

Ingredients

  • 3 large raw bananas
  • ½ cup boiled jackfruit seeds
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • ½ tsp. black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 4 flakes garlic, cushed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 to 6 small round red chillies (or 2 long chillies, broken into pieces)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Peel the bananas and chop into small cubes.  Immerse in water till required.

Boil the banana pieces with turmeric and salt and 1 cup water.  Grind ½ the coconut, cumin and curry leaves to a paste adding water.  Add to the cooked bananas, mix and cook 5 minutes.  Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seed and when they pop add the crushed garlic and onion.  When light brown, add the remaining coconut and fry till nice and brown.  Add to the erussery (reserve some for garnish) and mix well. Remove to a serving dish and serve hot garnished with some fried onion coconut mixture.

Bombay Vegetable Sandwich


Famous Mumbai Street Food – One that is savoured by all and satiates the appetite instantly and provides comfort to the belly especially if you have been on the road for a few hours. Savour each bite of this crunchy, soft and tart sumptuous sandwich as a snack, which also doubles up as a quick lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 Loaf sliced Bread (Brown or white)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Salt as required
  • Pepper powder as required
  • Chaat masala (optional)
  • Roasted cumin powder (optional)
  • Butter
  • Green Chutney
  • Ketchup
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)

For Green Chutney

  • 1 large bunch coriander leaves
  • 1 large bunch mint leaves
  • 4 to 6 green chillies
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Grind to a paste, using as little water as possible.

Boil the potatoes, peel and slice thinly.  Wash the cucumbers and tomatoes.  Peel the cucumbers and slice thinly.  Peel the tomatoes, slice thinly.  Line half the sliced loaf on a board and apply butter, then green chutney.  Top with cucumber slices, then potato slices, ketchup (using the excess pouches that usually come with home delivery), then tomato slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and chaat masala/cumin powder if using.  Add the fresh basil, if you wish.  The butter the remaining half of the bread slices and cover the sandwich.  Also used the heel of the loaf, you can avoid if necessary.  Grill the sandwich briefly to barely toast the bread if you like.

Goan Vatanayanchi Bhaji Chonya Ros


Apart from being famous for sea-food, one of Goa’s typical breakfast menu is Chonya Ros made with dehydrated white or green peas which are soaked in water and boiled!  Chonya Ros or Vatanayachi Bhaji is made with a coconut based gravy and served with puris for breakfast or poi and for lunch or dinner with rice.  A regular item served on religious festivals which involve fasts abstaining from meat.  Garnishing with freshly cut onion, tomato and coriander leaves is an option but lends an additional boost to the dish.  Although mildly spiced, it is truly lip smacking and delicious.  Enjoy as is without any carbs – for an excellent high protein meal!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dehydrated yellow or green peas
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut or dried coconut
  • 4 flakes tamarind
  • ½ tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste

Pick and wash the peas and soak in water overnight.  Drain the water, replenish with fresh water and cook till tender and soft, may take an hour or more.  At the end of cooking add 1 tsp. salt and mix and simmer for 5 minutes.  You can pressure cook if you prefer.  Meanwhile, heat a pan add a little oil and fry one onion, roughly chopped into pieces, till light brown.  Add the coconut and fry until coconut turns brown.  Grind it with tamarind to a paste.  Take a vessel and add 2 tbsp. oil, when hot add one chopped onion and fry till translucent and soft.  Add chilli powder, garam masala and fry for a minute.  Add the coconut tamarind paste and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the boiled peas with the stock and mix well.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes till oil surfaces.  The gravy should be runny.  Remove to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped onion, tomato, lemon and coriander leaves (optional).  Serve with hot crisp puris for breakfast and with rice or bread for lunch or dinner.

Zucchini Fry


The zucchini, courgette or baby marrow  is a summer squash, a vining herbaceous plant whose fruit are harvested when their immature seeds and epicarp (rind) are still soft and edible.

Ordinary zucchini fruit are any shade of green, though the golden zucchini is a deep yellow or orange.  At maturity, they can grow to nearly 1 metre (3 feet) in length, but they are normally harvested at about 15–25 cm (6–10 in).

In botany, the zucchini’s fruit is a pepo, a berry (the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower) with a hardened epicarp. In cookery, it is a vegetable, usually cooked and eaten as a savory dish or accompaniment.

Source – wikipedia

Ingredients

(I am using 12 zucchinis approx. in the video recipe, so the ingredients used are proportionately more)

  • 4 to 6 Zucchini
  • ½ tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Vinegar or Lemon juice, or to taste
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder or to taste
  • ½ tp. Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander powder
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. corn flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

Method

  • Wash and drain the zucchinis.  Trim the head and tail and cut vertically into ¼” thin slices.  If the zucchinis are tender and unblemished the skin can be retained.  Sprinkle 1 tsp. salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Then drain the water which is released from the zucchinis. Mix the ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder, rice flour, corn flour, vinegar and salt (if required because the zucchinis are already salted) and make a thick paste using as much water as required.  Mix the slices with the batter.  A;ternatively you can dip each slice in the batter to coat before frying, in which case more batter will be required.  Heat oil for deep frying, when hot reduce flame and fry in small batches till crisp and golden.  Drain on kitchen towel.  Serve immediately when still crisp as a side with a main meal or with tomato ketchup as a snack or appetizer.

P.S.: The same batter can be used to fry arbi, egg plant, raw banana, bread fruit, potatoes, yam, mushrooms, etc.

Bhaja Maslar Tarkari


Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 medium brinjals
  • 3 to 4 medium green chillies (slit)
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies
  • ½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 cup sour curd
  • 1 tsp. corn flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds

Cut the brinjals into four lengthwise, removing the head and soak in salted water till required.  Heat a vessel and add the ghee, when hot add the red chillies and fenugreek seeds and fry for ½ minute.  Add the brinjals and fry till they change colour and turn brown.  Add salt, sugar and green chillies.  Mix the curd with the corn flour (this helps stabilise the curd and prevents it splitting while cooking).  Add the curd to the brinjals and stir then add the water.  Cover and cook till the brinjals are tender and the gravy is thick.  Roast & powder the mustard and cumin seeds.  I usually roast, powder and store the spices separately so have not shown it in the video.  Add the roasted powder to the cooked brinjals.  Stir well and serve hot with pooris or any Indian bread.

Amla Rice


Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked rice, cooled or leftover rice
  • 8 to 10 amlas
  • 1 small raw mango (optional)
  • 6 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tbsp. chana dal (split chick peas)
  • 1 tbsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 10 to 12 cashewnuts or groundnuts
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. Salt or to taste

Slit the green chillies and grate the amlas.  Discard the seed.  Heat a pan and add ghee, when hot, add the mustard seeds.  When they crackle, add the channa dal, urad dal, cashewnuts and fry till light golden.  Add the green chillies and curry leaves and saute for a minute.  Add the grated amla and (raw mango if using) and fry for a minute.  Add turmeric powder and salt and stir and mix well.  Cook the mixture on low heat for 5 minutes, mix and check seasoning.  Add the cooked rice, mix well and heat through.    

Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Corn Salad


Ingredients

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. Olive oil (or any oil)
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Toppings

  • Sour cream
  • Green onions
  • Corn salad

Heat the oven to 220 deg C. Clean and scrub the potatoes well keeping them whole.  Prick lightly with a fork to avoid the potatoes bursting.  Mix the olive oil, pepper and salt and brush the potatoes with the oil.  For softer skins, wrap the potato in silver foil, for crunchier potatoes leave open.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 ½ hours depending on the size and oven temperature.  To speed up baking  pierce a metal skewer  through the potatoes so that heat is conducted to the centres.  To test if potato is done pierce with a skewer which should go through easily.

Prepare the filling while the potatoes are baking so it is ready to be stuffed into the potatoes when baked.  Cut a slit or a cross on the top of the potatoes and squeeze the sides so the top is pushed open.  Use oven mitts as the potato will be hot. Fluff the flesh of the potato with a fork.  Top with your desired filling.  Spoon sour cream mixed with a little olive oil and garnish with green onions and serve with a generous helping of corn salad or fill with sour cream and/or corn salad.  Makes a delicious meal or starter or a side.

Egg Frittata with potatoes and sausages


Egg Frittata with potato and sausages

A spin-off on the famous Parsi “Papeta par Eedu”, with the additon of sausages, this is a really simple and quick breakfast bake, albeit in a frying pan! For more Egg-based options check out ‘Eggciting breakfasts’!

Ingredients

5 eggs

2 medium onions, chopped

1 Potato, thinly sliced

1 Tomato, chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

¼ tsp turmeric powder (optional)

4 Beef or Chicken Sausages (Frankfurters), thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped

1 tbs. ghee

Slice the sausages thinly and fry 2 minutes till the edges turn crisp.

Fry the chopped onions & green chilli adding 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the tomatoes and fry for a minute and top with the sliced potatoes. Sprinkle over with salt and pepper. Cover and cook ten minutes.

Spread the fried sausages over the potatoes and break the eggs one by one over the sausages. Cover and cook till done. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

On a frying pan or skillet, heat ghee and fry the sliced sausages for two minutes or till crisp at the edges. Remove and set aside. 

To the same pan add chopped onion and green chillie and saute till onion is light brown, add a spoon of ghee if required. Add turmeric and mix.

Add tomatoes and sauté for a minute, add ½ tsp salt and mix. 

Spread the potato slices evenly over the onion tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and let cook 10 minutes on low flame, till potatoes are almost cooked.

Spread the sausage slices over the potatoes and then break the eggs one at a time over the sausages.  Cover and cook ten minutes or until the top is opaque and the eggs are cooked.  

If you like the eggs runny, remove as soon as the whites are set. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Corn Kababs


Corn Kababs

Maize, Makka

Ingredients

2 cups corn kernels (2 cans 165 gms. each drained weight)

½ tsp. green chilli paste

½ tsp. garlic paste

½ tsp. ginger paste

1 tbsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

4 heaped tbsp. gram flour (besan, chickpea flour)

½ cup coriander leaves

Grind the corn coarsely, leaving some whole.  Add the chilli, garlic and ginger paste.  Alternatively, grind 2 green chillies, 3 flakes garlic and 1” pc ginger with the corn.  Add the gram flour, lemon juice, salt, sugar and coriander leaves.  Drop tbsp. full into hot oil or form into kababs and deep fry.  May be shallow fried if preferred.  Serve hot with ketchup or green chutney.  Great as a snack, appetizer or into as a sandwich.

Steamed Cabbage


Ready in minutes, makes an instant addition to a dinner table and a great side or accompaniment to any meal. Smaller the cabbage, the better! Steam just before serving. You can adjust the amount of butter required and make sure to use salted butter for extra flavor.

Steamed Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cabbage or 2 small cabbages
  • 6 to 8 cubes butter (size as per choice) preferably salted
  • Pepper and salt, to taste

Clean the whole cabbage by removing the outer leaves if they have any blemishes and look stale.  Trim the stem and cut the cabbage into wedges but keeping  the stem intact. Place the cabbage in a vessel to compactly arrange.  Put the butter cubes in between two wedges of the cabbage and sprinkle some water.  Cover and cook on medium flame for 10 minutes or till tender, but not overcooked.  The cabbage should be tender but still have the crunch.  Serve hot, sprinkled with salt and pepper.   It’s best to steam the cabbage just before serving.

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