Category Archives: Side Dishes

Mixed Bean Vegetable Chili

Originally posted on My Kitchen Trials:

chili-001

My brother is in Bangalore and we are in Chennai. Visits are common since it’s just 6 hours of travel. Many a times I have packed sleeveless t-shirts for my son then find out that its shivering cold (for us, at least) in Bangalore.

Being used to Chennai’s tropical hot weather, cool weather is not something we are used to. So now a days the standard practice is to call my SIL and ask for the weather status there.

Whatever she says, I pack all the full sleeve or half sleeve t-shirts and pants. And if its past October, I carry the jacket too. Just in case, you know!

So for someone who is used to Summer all through the year, presenting Winter foods is something funny. Yet, here I am, with another winter recipe – Vegetable Chili. This pairs very well with basmati rice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page to find out…

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Moru Curry/ Moru Kachiyathu

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Life is going to change big in a few days. And yet,here I am : in my space, letting out the tension and turning a blind eye to the amount of work in front of me.

Yes, a major life style change is coming ahead.

And No, I am not pregnant. Though at times I am tempted to say yes when I look at my football sized tummy, just to hide my embarrassment.

It’s two years since we moved into our new apartment and now we packing and moving off again. This time to another country. Packing, moving, unpacking and settling down again. When you are still recovering from the previous move.

More than packing, what worries me is choosing. Choosing what to take, what to leave behind, what to give and whom to give.  It just makes me want to curl up and lie down. And not think about it.

But then, that’s hardly an option. So it’s going to be a bit busy from now on. With all the choosing and packing and moving, of course!

Cooking is going to be minimal and comfort foods are going to feature more. Like this moru curry, which is easy to prepare and makes life comfortable in a way only food can!

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Recipe Source: My friend Swapna. 

There is a slightly different recipe here in this post as well.

Ingredients:

  • Pearl Onions            :       6-8 or 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • Green chillies          :        2-3, chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste :      1 tsp
  • Water                           :      1/4-1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder   :     1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek powder :     1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Salt
  • Yogurt/Curd            :     2 cups
  • Oil                                 :      2 tsp, preferably coconut oil
  • Mustard seeds         :      1 tsp
  • Curry leaves             :       one sprig

Method:

IMG_3164Break the curd by whisking or with a ladle. Mix until its a loose homogeneous liquid without adding any water.
IMG_3166In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once mustard seeds splutter, add the chopped onions and chopped chillies. Once the onion turns pink, add the ginger garlic paste and saute for half a minute.

IMG_3169Add quarter cup water to bring down the kadai’s heat. Add the turmeric powder, methi powder (fenugreek powder), salt. Mix.

IMG_3171Add the whisked curd. Since the water reduced the kadai heat a bit, the curd will not curdle. But still, don’t take chances and keep stirring.

IMG_4406Once its all mixed and the yogurt is cooked, do a taste test and adjust the seasoning. Keep stirring and turn off the heat when it starts to boil on the sides.IMG_4411Take off the heat immediately and transfer to a container. If you let it sit in the hot kadai, the curd might curdle. That won’t affect the taste, but it doesn’t look aesthetically good.

In case the moru curry gets curdled despite all the efforts, take off the heat immediately and add some fresh curd and mix well. It works at times, though not always.

  moru_curry-002  

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Potato, Potato!

Originally posted on My Kitchen Trials:

potatofry

My memory is really bad. Really, really bad! If I am trying a recipe from the internet, I come and check the recipe at least 20 times while making it.

Reminds me of how I used to make rasam, when I was in college. It was the same recipe and I would make it 5 times a week. One would assume that after making the same thing again and again, I would have gotten a hang of it. But no, I used to ask my grandma the recipe at every single stage. ‘The water is boiling, what should I do next?’ , ‘How many spoons of rasam powder should I add?’, ‘Can I add the curry leaves now?’. Same questions every single day. After sometime, grandma started answering me before I even ask the question!

This is a recipe from my old neighbour and it was so simple that I didn’t bother noting…

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Aloo Bhindi Sabzi

bhindi

I am from Kerala where at the drop of the hat the political parties call for hartal (a strike action by shutting off of all public services, shops, schools and offices. It’s supposed to be voluntary participation, but in reality it never is!). You never know when the next hartal is going to be, and many a times the general public has been caught unaware in inconvenient situations.

Similar to that, I used to do lighting hartals at my place, shutting down the kitchen totally and demanding the poor tired man to take me to a restaurant. In our new neighbourhood(well, now two-year old neighbourhood), the nearest restaurant is about 6-8 km away. So for a while, I used to think twice before calling a strike as the man would be too tired after an exhausting day in the office, to take me out.

My solution came in the form of a North Indian guy who runs the school canteen near by. He takes order from us and door delivers as well. We have ordered this dry aloo bhindi many times from him. It goes very well with rotis and stuffed parathas. The guy deep fries the aloo and bhindi, but my imitation of his curry doesn’t.

And….the kitchen shut downs are back again ;-)!

Read on for the recipe.

Serves : 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 kg Ladies Finger
  • 2 big Potatoes, boiled and diced
  • 1 big tomato, diced
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • 1 tsp jeera seeds (cumin)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Slice and chop the onions. Dice the tomatoes.
  2. Cut the ladies finger into 1/2″ long pieces. Microwave for 5-6 minutes till cooked and keep aside.
  3. Cook the potatoes till done. Dice.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai. Add jeera seeds and let it splutter. Add the chopped onions, cook till pink.
  5. Add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for a minute. Add the ladies finger. Mix well and then add the diced potatoes.
  6. Tip in the turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt. Add the tomatoes as well. Slowly, without breaking the veggies, mix the powders. Cook for 5-6 minutes, mixing now and then.
  7. Add the amchur powder and garam masala. Mix carefully, taste test and adjust the seasoning per taste.
  8. Cook for a couple more minutes and take off the heat. Serve with rotis or rice.

bhindi-001

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Mixed Vegetable Curry – Low Fat version

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We South Indians bank on rice a lot. In my home, it appears in our menu right from breakfast to snacks to lunch to dinner. If by some chance there is a dearth of rice in this planet, we are in big trouble. Not big trouble, but BIG BIG BIG trouble.

So to prepare ourselves in case of this eventuality, we make rotis every now and then. The problem with the rotis is always the side dish. The man cannot stomach rotis without a gravy side dish to go with.

Serve a dry side dish with rotis and if you look close, you might actually see tears from the man’s eyes. Serve it with dal and you will see a different disappointed pained expression.

But now, with this new-found single formula ‘one gravy-multi curry’ recipe, the man is safe.

You can replace the mixed veggies with almost any combination of veggies and it still tastes great. It’s low-fat as well. And the best part is that for once in my life, I can actually remember the recipe while cooking and don’t have to come running to the laptop every other minute!

Happy man. Happy me. Happy meal!

(Let’s not talk about the food-allergic kid and spoil it all, OK?)

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Check out another version of Mixed Vegetable Curry here.

Recipe Source: My friend Swapna

Serves : about 4

Ingredients:

  • Mixed Vegetables          :           2 cups, cooked (pressure cooked, steamed or microwaved)*
  • Onion                                  :           1 big, sliced
  • Tomato                              :           1 big, puréed
  • Ginger garlic paste        :           2 tsp
  • Coriander powder         :           2 tsp
  • Chilli powder                   :           1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder          :           1/2 tsp
  • Kasuri methi                    :           1 good pinch, optional
  • Garam masala                  :          1/2 tsp or per taste
  • Coriander leaves            :           2 tbsp, chopped
  • Water                                  :          1/2 cup – 1 cup, depending on the consistency required
  • Oil                                         :          1 tsp (can be skipped for a fat-free version)
  • Salt

*Mixed vegetables : Here I have used a mix of carrot, beans, green peas, cauliflower and potatoes. This can be replaced by cooked chana, cooked rajma (red kidney beans), soaked and squeezed soya chunks or any mix of vegetables. The taste is different for each of the curries, though the basic method is same.

Method:

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Boil the sliced onions on stove top or microwave. Once they are cooked, let it cool. Grind and keep aside.

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Heat 1 tsp oil. Add the puréed tomatoes and ginger garlic paste. If you are using freshly minced ginger-garlic then sauté it in oil for a minute before adding the tomato purée. Once the purée boils, add all the spice powders except garam masala (coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and kasuri methi as well).

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Keep cooking until the tomato mix reduces in size and most of the liquid has evaporated. If you have used more oil, you might have seen the oil oozing out at this stage.

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Add the cooked/steamed vegetables, salt and about half a cup of water.  Instead of mixed vegetables, you can add cooked chana, rajma, potatoes and peas…almost anything. You might have to adjust the quantity of water according to the consistency desired. Start with half a cup and then add more, as required. I used the water in which the vegetables were pressure cooked.

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Once the curry comes to a boil, add the onion paste. Mix well. Add the coriander leaves, cover and let it cook for 3-5 minutes.

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Cook until the desired consistency is reached. Add the garam masala. Do a taste test, adjust the seasoning and cook for a minute or two. Take off the heat, add some more coriander leaves, cover and keep aside.

Serve with the Indian bread of your choice.

Note:

  • The grinding of onions and tomatoes ensure that the gravy is smooth and not chunky.
  • Boiling of the onion takes off the raw smell and makes it low fat as well.

mixedveg

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Indian Food Odyssey : One state at a time

A recap of the 30 day Indian Food Odyssey. Click the link/picture to go the particular post.

Andhra Pradesh:

andhra

Arunachal Pradesh: Thukpa

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Assam: Simple Lunch Platter

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Bihar : A mini lunch with Sattu ka Bharta 

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Chhattisgarh : Pancharatna Dal 

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Delhi: A glimpse of street food 

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A lunch platter from Goa

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Gujarat : Mini Thali

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Haryana : Halwa Poori Chhole

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Himachal Pradesh : Meetha rice, Madra, Khatta and sweet chhole

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Jammu and Kashmir : A mini platter

 

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Jharkhand: Chilka roti and chana dal ki chutney

       

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Karnataka Oota: Mini Meals

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Kerala : A traditional breakfast

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Madhya Pradesh : Indori Poha, Jalebi and Bhutte ki khees

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Maharashtra: Poori bhaji Thali

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Manipur : Mini meals

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Meghalaya:

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Mizoram: Cauliflower Stalk Bai

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Nagaland: Dal with phool gobi and Naga chutney

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Orissa: Odia thali 

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Pondicherry: Simple Meals

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Punjab da Khana

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The desert state of Rajasthan

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Sel roti from Sikkim

sikkim 

Pongal meals from Tamil Nadu

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Tripura Khichuri Bhog

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Awadh Mini Thali from Uttar Pradesh

 

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Uttarakhand Mini Meals

uttarakhand

West Bengal: Luchi, Doi dharosh and Tok dal

bengal-002

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Corn Coconut milk Kurma

corn kurma

Corn is a favourite with the kid. I try to buy the corn cobs whenever possible. But this time, there was an overload with almost 6 cobs in the fridge. So it was time for other avatars of cone.

This curry is my cousin’s recipe and I have made this before. The curry has a slight sweetish taste because of the corn and the coconut milk. May be that is why my son likes it a lot. Paneer blends very well with the curry, and so does potatoes and green peas.

corn kurma-001

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • Corn kernels              :    from 1 cob
  • Onion                           :   1, chopped
  • Red chillies                :  1-2, per taste
  • Almonds/cashews  :   2 tsp
  • Coriander powder  :   1 tsp
  • Ginger garlic paste :   1 tsp
  • Coconut milk            :   1/2 cup
  • Oil                                  :    1-2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Additional veggies like peas, potatoes and even paneer can be added to the curry.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add the red chillies and onion until it turns pink.
  2. Take off the heat and let it cool. Grind with coriander powder, ginger garlic paste and almonds or cashew nut. You might have to add a bit of water to get a smooth paste.
  3. Steam cook the corn kernels or boil them until done.  If using boiled potatoes or peas or plain diced paneer, tip it in now. Add the ground onion paste and salt and bring to a boil. Add half a cup of water if the curry is dry. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk (I used ready-made powder mixed with milk) and bring to a boil again. Add water to adjust it to the consistency required. Taste test and adjust seasoning. Cook on low fire for 3-5 minutes. Done!
  5. Serve with Indian breads.

corn kurma-002

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Bengal : Luchi, Doi Dharosh and Aamer Dal

bengal-001

From April first, the Blogging Marathon participants have been traversing through most of the Indian states (and some Union territories) trying out the regional food, one state at a time.

The final stop is at West Bengal and this is what I have prepared for the state. Check out the other Bengali recipes at the end of the post.

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The posts done till now were prepared from the month of February and so all I had to do was schedule the posts to go live on that particular day. But unfortunately for Bengal, I kept procrastinating until the end. So April 30th came and went and I was still clueless about what to prepare.

I had bought some ready made rasgolla with an idea to prepare cheater’s rasmalai and to end the month long marathon on a sweet note. But then some ideas just don’t materialize…in this case, the idea(rasgolla) got eaten as such before I could improvise it as rasmalai.

bengal

The good thing was the rest of the participants did their share of Bengali dishes and I was able to browse through each of them and finalize mine. After ruling out rasmalai and the chanar payesh, which some had prepared, I decided on Vaishali’s Tauk dal and doi dharosh. It’s hardly surprising, given that I have already done three states (Gujarat, Delhi, UP and now Bengal) based on her blog :-).

It was also kind of in line with the lunch platter theme I was preparing for all the other states. So, tauk dal and doi dharosh it is…along with luchis and the left over ready made rasgollas. For the luchis, I prepared a corn kurma as a side dish. It’s not a Bengali recipe.

bengal-005

The Menu:

  • Doi Dharosh : Okra cooked in yogurt. This is a combination with Tok dal
  • Aamer Dal / Tok Dal/ Tauk Dal : Lentils with green mangoes and tempered with panch phoron.
  • Luchi :  Deep fried pooris made of all purpose flour.
  • Rice
  • Rasgolla : A Bengali sweet prepared of fresh paneer (or chena as it’s called) and soaked in sugar syrup. The ones here are ready made.
  • Corn Coconut Milk Kurma : This dish is NOT Bengali. I served it along with Luchi as there was no potatoes to make aloo dum.
  • Chili and Lemon wedge : on the side.

This is a picture of a Bengali Thali I had prepared two years back :-). Check out here for more pictures and the recipe links. bengali thali

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Some more Bengali recipes in this space:

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Uttarakhand – Phaanu, Kaapa, Thechwani

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Uttaranchal… Home of so many holy places.

Kedarnath. Badrinath. Haridwar. Rishikesh. Rudraprayag.

Origin of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. The holy place of Devaprayag where the rivers Alakanandi and Bhagirathi meets and flows forward as Ganga. (Prayags are places where two or more rivers meet)

And home for some great hill stations : Mussoorie, Nainital, Chamba…

The state is as beautiful as it’s dangerous. Land slides, floods all happen there.

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Coming to food, other than the regular ‘North Indian food’ (dal-chawal-roti-sabzi), the state has some really different recipes which I wanted to try. There were many more recipes I wish I could have tried, but finally zeroed down on Phaanu (with toor dal), kaapa and thechwani.

Kaapa is not very different from how we prepare the spinach gravy. All it lacks is the tamarind which is a must in most Tamil based recipes (or South Indian, for that matter). Phaanu is toor dal soaked and ground with chillies and ginger-garlic. A portion of this ground mix is shaped as cutlets and deep fried and the rest is made into a pourable gravy.

Thechwani is also a gravy-ish curry that pairs well with rotis and rice.

Go through this link for Uttarakhand dishes. Though it’s a restaurant review, they talk about some of the state’s delicacies. Now, if only I could get that recipe for chancha (rice cooked in buttermilk!).

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The Menu:

  • Phaanu: Soaked and ground toor dal as a gravy base and a deep fried patty together in this recipe
  • Kaapa:  A gravy-ish spinach dish. I used the local variety available and mashed it a bit to get a homogeneous gravy.
  • Thechwani : Radish and potatoes curry where the veggies are not cut using a knife, instead crushed/mashed.
  • Rice
  • Roti
  • Tomato and Cucumber

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uttarakhand

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Uttar Pradesh : Awadh Mini Thali

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We have reached the fag-end of the state wise culinary journey and today, we are in Uttar Pradesh. Regular day-to-day lunch is the common dal-chawal-subzi-roti combination (Rice with dal, roti and veggies), so I thought I would turn to the capital city Lucknow’s rich Awadhi cuisine.

Just like how I turned to Vaishali’s space for the Gujarati thali and the Delhi food fare, her Awadhi Thali was the first thing to come to my mind once I finalized on the Lucknowi food.

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Awadh is the current Lucknow (and some surrounding regions) now and is known for its royal Nawabs and rich food fit for the kings. Dum style cooking (slow covered cooking over low fire) is what the place is most famous for.

This is what the wiki says: “The bawarchis and rakabdars of Awadh gave birth to the dum style of cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire, which has become synonymous with Lucknow today. Their spread consisted of elaborate dishes like kebabskormasbiryani, kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, and warqi parathas. The richness of Awadh cuisine lies not only in the variety of cuisine but also in the ingredients used like muttonpaneer, and rich spices including cardamom and saffron. “

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The thali here is a simple affair with a nawabi pulao that’s cooked in milk. Sultani dal is nothing but toor dal made rich with yogurt, cream and milk. Mattar ka nimona which is a green peas preparation. The bhindi is cooked in dum, though I couldn’t make out too much of taste difference.

Boondi ka raita is a simple yogurt prepared with ready made boondi(gram flour mini dumplings).

The lachha paratha is a favourite with my son. The rice too turned out to be good for my son since it was not spicy.

up_thali

Thali idea : Ribbons To Pastas

The Menu:

  • Nawabi Pulao : A simple pulao cooked in milk. I added the vegetables too at the time of cooking itself. This is then layered and baked later.
  • Sultani dal : A toor dal preparation made rich by the addition of yogurt, milk and cream
  • Dum Bhindi : Bhindi curry, cooked dum style
  • Mattar ka nimona : Green peas curry
  • Boondi raita : Gram flour dumplings (boondi) in yogurt. A simple raita
  • Lachha Paratha : A layer pattered paratha.
  • Salad : Onion rings and lemon wedges

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