Category Archives: curry

Roasted Tindora (Ivy Gourd)

Ivy Gourd (or Tindora or Dondakayyi) is a tropical vine that is indigenous to Africa and Asia. It is rich in beta-carotine. It is very easy to cook. The two most common recipes that my mother liked to make were either the tindora fry or steamed tindora curry. A third alternative occasionally was to make chutney when the tindora was too ripe to make curry.

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I rarely make tindora fry, so often I end up steaming the tindora and lightly sauteing with some onion and spices. Frying not only takes too much oil, but also to fry the vegetable to the right crispiness without burning requires patience. Many a time, I have seen my mother  patiently standing by the stove, frequently mixing with a spatula, to preventing burning.

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Here’s an alternate way to cook the tindora that does not need the constant attention and also uses less oil.

Ingredients:
2 lbs tindora
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
olive oil

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Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse and trim the edges of the timdora. Halve or quarter the tindora based on thickness of the tindora and place in a baking dish. Peel and slice the onion, and add to the tindora. Generously drizzle with olive oil. Add turmeric, chilli powder and salt to taste. Gently toss the ingredients.

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Bake for an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Halfway through remove from the oven and toss and return back to the oven.

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Serve warm with rice or roti.

Raw Green Banana Curry

Bananas are a great source of Vitamins. Raw green banana is the unripe version, that you can find in the produce section of the grocery. Green bananas contain resistant starch that keeps the digestive tract healthy and also increases the rate of fat burning ability of the body.

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Here is a healthy way to cook it, as I remember the recipe from my mother:

Ingredients:
1 green banana chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
1-2 whole dry red chillies
a touch of turmeric
a touch of asafoetida
a few curry leaves
1 sliced jalapeno
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar (optional)
a little tamarind or lemon juice

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Peel and chop the green banana into 1 in cubes. Cook the chopped banana with a little water until they soften. I usually like to cook mine in a pressure cooker.

Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, channa dal, urad dal, red chillies whole or cut into 2-3 pieces, mustard and cumin seeds. Fry for a second till they turn lightly brown. Add curry leaves and sliced jalapeno and fry for a few seconds. Add the steamed green banana, a little sugar if desired and a little tamarind juice (1-2 tbsp) or drizzle some lemon juice. Add salt to taste. Mix well and continue cooking on low flame. Loosely mash the banana with the spatula.

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Garnish with some cilantro and serve warm with rice or roti.

Snake Gourd cooked two ways (South Indian)

If  you want to get technical about it, it is called “Trichosanthes cucumerina” or more commonly called Chinese cucumber in your neighborhood Asian grocery. It is long, slender and cylindrically green fleshy vegetable and hence the name “snake gourd”. Mostly found in South Asia, it is low in carbs, anti-inflamatory, a natural antibiotic and good for the heart.

While you can do many things with it, here are a couple of ways you can cook it.

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Ingredients:
1 long or 2-3 small snake gourd chopped
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1-2 dry red chilli
1 green jalapeno
some chopped ginger
2-3 tbsp shredded coconut
1-2 tsp sesame powder
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
some curry leaves
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
some cilantro to garnish
1 tbsp oil

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Steam the chopped snake gourd in a pressure cooker till it is soft and cooked.

Heat the oil (olive or canola) in a pan. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Then add chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and dry red chilli  and fry till lightly brown. Add curry leaves, ginger and jalapeno and lightly fry. Add steamed snaked gourd and mix thoroughly. Leave on till excess moisture evaporates. Take some out and set aside.

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To make the curry add shredded coconut, salt, and roasted sesame powder and cayenne pepper and mix well. Leave for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with rice or roti

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Mix set aside portion of snake gourd with some yogurt. Add salt for taste and garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice or roti

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Another Eggplant Curry

Whenever I crave for something spicy, I think of eggplant. My mother always made it very spicy (see Baby Eggplant Cooked in South Indian Style). I do tend to cook eggplant often. It goes well with rice and with roti or other Indian bread. I am also constantly looking for new and innovative ways to cook it (see Sri Lankan Aubergine Curry or Eggplant Curry recipe from my friend Shahna). And this doesn’t even include my mothers recipes for cooking eggplant. I very frequently cook eggplant stand alone with some onion, with potatoes or valo beans, following my mother’s well loved recipes.

As I started to cook my curry, I decided to improvise and make something totally different this time. Here’s how I made it. It was so tasty, I was ready to lick my fingers!

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Ingredients:
2 Japanese eggplants cut into 1 in cubes
1 medium onion sliced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
salt to taste
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
cilantro to garnish

Curry Paste:
1/4 cup peanuts
1/8 cup seasame seeds
4 garlic cloves
1 in piece of ginger
1 tsp corrainder seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1-2 anise stars
1 tsp cloves
3-4 dry red chilli
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp shredded coconut
1/4-1/2 cup thick tamarind juice

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Lightly roast peanuts and sesame seeds on the stove till lightly brown. Transfer to a blender, and add the rest of the curry paste ingredients and blend to a thick paste. Set aside.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a large pan. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Add onions and eggplants and saute till lightly brown. Mixing as needed to prevent sticking. Add the curry paste (all or as much as you like) and 1-2 cups water and continue simmering for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with some cilantro and serve warm with some basmati rice or roti.

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If like me you did not end up using all the curry paste, freeze or refrigerate it! I am going to soon post another recipe where you can use your excess curry paste. Stay turned.

Chickpeas with Spinach (Chole)

Chole is a very popular North Indian dish that is usually a very spicy curry made from chickpeas (channa). It is usually paired with bhature (fried bread). Chole can also be eaten with naan, roti and other types of bread and even with basmathi rice. There are many different ways to cook it. Traditionally it is cooked with onions and tomatoes and steeped in spices such as amchur (mango powder), anardhana (pomegrante powder) and garam masala.

Ingredients:
1 cup dry chickpeas (or use canned)
1-2 cups of chopped spinach
1 medium white or yellow onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
1 inch piece of ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp amchur (mango powder)
1/4 tsp red chili powder (optional)
pinch of turmeric
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish

If using raw beans, soak in water for 12 to 24 hrs. Boil the chickpeas in 2 cups of water until cooked. I usually prefer to cook them in a pressure cooker. Set aside.

Using a mini chopper or a mortar and pestle grind the garlic and ginger to a paste.

Heat a little oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and turmeric. Once the cumin seeds turn lightly brown add chopped onion and ginger-garlic paste and fry till lightly brown. Add chopped spinach and tomato and continue cooking for 5 min. Add the spices and salt to taste. Add the cooked chickpeas along with any left over water. Add more water as necessary and continue cooking on medium low flame for another 20 minutes until all the spices are infused and all the vegetables are cooked and soften.

Garnish with some cilantro and serve hot with bhature, roti, naan or basmati rice.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name right?

Brinjal, Eggplant, Aubergine or guinea squash! Although I must say the use of Aubergine is not as common as Brinjal or Eggplant.

Eggplant was a favorite vegetable in our house and my mother made the best eggplant curry there was.  It usually was extremely spicy. Not that it stopped us from eating it! Growing up, I always thought eggplant was not good for brain power. So though I loved it, I ate it less enthusiastically for I assumed it was somehow going to reduce my “intelligence” 🙂 Turns out actually that my original source of information was misguided.

I tend to cook eggplant very frequently. In addition to all my mother’s favorite recipes, I am always on the lookout for easy, healthy ways to cook eggplant.  So it was nice to find a different recipe that proved delicious as well.This recipe for Sri Lankan Aubergine Curry came to me via my friend Pavani. In contrast with the original recipe, my adapted version is a healthier version: I roasted my eggplant in the oven as opposed to deep frying in oil as called for in the original recipe. I did skip the vinegar and sugar as well.

Ingredients:
1 medium to large Japanese eggplant
1 medium onion chopped
3-4 garlic cloves chopped
a piece ginger chopped
1-2 jalapeno chopped
some curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/3 cup coconut milk
2-3 tbsp olive oil
pinch of turmeric
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop eggplant into 1 in pieces and layout on a parchment or pan. Drizzle some olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes. After 20-25 minutes use a spatula to rotate the eggplant to allow even roasting.

Meanwhile heat a little oil in a pan. Add turmeric and cumin seeds and fry till lightly brown. Add curry leaves, onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno and fry till lightly brown. Add salt and spices. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the roasted eggplant and cook till most of the liquid is evaporated.

Serve hot with some basmati rice or naan or roti. Can garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

See also:
Eggplant Caviar
Eggplant Curry

Pav Bhaji

Ingredients:
3 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
1-2 carrots chopped fine
a few beans chopped fine
1 cup peas
some cauliflower florets cut small (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
touch of turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
tsp cumin powder
1 tsp amchur (dried mango powder)
salt to taste
chopped cilantro
2-3 tbsp oil (canola or olive)

Cook whole potatoes in water until they soften. Peel and set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan on the stove. Add turmeric, and cumin seeds and fry till lightly brown. Add chopped onion and garlic and fry till lightly brown. Add beans, carrots, cauliflower and peas and continue frying for 5-10 minutes. Smash the potato and add to the pan. Add the spices and mix well. Add some water and cook on medium low flame till the vegetables soften and aroma of the spices is fragrant. Add water as necessary. The final product should be lightly moist. Mash with spatula or blender.

Chop some cilantro and add.Mix thoroughly and continue cooking for 5 more minutes and remove from flame.

Warm a frying pan. Add a table spoon of butter and toast hamburger buns till lightly brown. Remove from flame. Top the pav (bread)  with the bajji (curry). Enjoy it warm.