Tag Archives: Indian

Fenugreek Leaves (Methi) cooked two ways

I love all green leaf vegetables. There is always kale and spinach in my fridge at the minimum. Or other greens such as chard greens, mustard greens, collard greens, amaranth leaves, and red sorrel leaves.

But fenugreek leaves is a whole different story.

While I admired the patience with which my mother extracted, cleaned, chopped and used them in cooking and enjoyed the end product, I am lazy when it comes to following the arduous process involved!

I rarely buy fenugreek leaves, but on a rare occasion I do commit and often regret, which was the case this past week. Good news is, these days you can buy fenugreek leaves in the frozen section of an Indian grocery.

The most common recipe that we used to make at home was to cook fenugreek leaves with toor dal (pigeon gram). I scoured the web for other ideas and finally decided to also try a curry recipe with it.

Here’s how I used my bunch of fenugreek leaves.

Peas, Methi Malai (Creamy Peas & Fenugreek Leaves Curry)

3/4 bunch of fenugreek leaves, extracted, rinsed and chopped
1 cup frozen peas, washed
1 small onion chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
small piece of ginger, chopped
2 Roma tomaotes, blended
3-4 tbsp of sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1-2 tsp oil
dash of tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Extract, rinse, chop and set aside the fenugreek leaves.

Heat oil in a pan. Add tumeric and cumin seeds and fry till lightly brown.  Add onion, garlic and ginger and fry till lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add peas, and fenugreek leaves and continue flying for another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and spices as desired.

Add milk, sour cream and a cup of water. Bring to boil, and reduce flame and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes until the curry thickens. This is very lightly seasoned, always adjust seasoning to personal preference. You can also add paneer if desired.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with naan, roti or a bowl of rice.

Methi dal

 

I previously posted the recipe for Methi dal and you find the recipe for Methi dal here.

Note: Fenugreek leaves have a very strong flavor, and unlike other greens, using a whole lot of them in dal can make it bitter. I usually like to err on the lighter side and use less rather than more!

Quick Lunch Series: Quinoa Bisibele Bath

I’ve been meaning to try this for a while, and finally cooked it this weekend. It is perfect for an office day meal. I do love one pot meals!

qbbb

I swapped in  Quinoa, instead of rice, as has been the norm lately in my routine.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup white Quinoa
1/3 cup Toor dal (Pigeon Pea)
1 small white or yellow onion cut into 1in pieces
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 Chayote squash, peeled and cut into 1in pieces (typically bottle guard is used, but I often substitute with Chayote Squash)
1-2 medium tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
2/3 rd cup tamarind juice
1.5 cups water
1 tsp oil
a dash of turmeric
a dash of asaphoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 dry red chillies
2-3 tsp Bisibele powder, I typically use the MTR variety
2-3 tbsp fresh (or dry) grated coconut
a few curry leaves
cilantro to garnish
coconut slices to garnish
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp ghee (optional)

I like to use a pressure pan to cook this. Heat oil in the pressure pan, add turmeric, asaphoetida, cumin, mustard and dry red chillies and fry for a minute till lightly brown. Add onions, jalapeno,  curry leaves and squash and fry lightly. Add tomatoes and mix well.

Rinse and add Quinoa and toor dal and mix well. Add bisibele bath powder, salt and coconut powder and mix well. Add water and tamarind juice and mix well. Close pressure cooker lid and let simmer on medium low for 2-3 whistles. What makes this dish especially yummy is to add 2-3 tbsp of ghee!

qbbb2

Let cool, before opening the pressure pan. Garnish with cilantro and coconut slices and serve warm.

Makes 3 servings.

Quick Lunch Series: Quinoa Vangi Bath

I am a great proponent of one pot meals. So Vangi bath is great! It is even better if I can replace white rice with Quinoa.   This makes 2-3 servings if you are on a diet.

vangibath2

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa
1 Japanese eggplant, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small yellow onion sliced
1 jalapeno sliced
a touch of turmeric
a dash of asafoetida
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 tsp Vangi Baath mix or make your own
1-2 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tsp grated coconut
1-2 tsp toasted cashews or peanuts (optional)
Salt to taste
cilantro to garnish

Bring one cup water to boil and cook the Quinoa as per instructions. Set aside.

Meanwhile heat oil in pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, cumin and fry for a minute. Add sliced onion and jalapeno and saute for 2-3 minutes until golden. Add chopped eggplant and fr for 10-15 minutes till cooked. Season with salt, add tamarind juice and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Season with Vangi bath mix or home made curry powder, grated coconut and mix well.

vangibath

Combine with Quinoa, garnish with some chopped cilantro and top with some toasted nuts such as cashews or peanuts.

Serve warm.

See Also:

Vangi Baath

Baked Garelu or Plain Vada

I typically shied away from making vada, since it is a deep fried dish. While I was happy to eat it while my mother or other family member created it, I personally have never made this dish. That is until recently.

vada

After the success of baking masala vada, I have tried to recreate the plain vada with no success, until today. It can’t be re-created similarly. I ended up using a muffin tin, but if you have a donut tin that will do perfectly since Garellu are made with a hole in the center!

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Ingredients:

1 cup urad dal
Salt to taste
Oil

Soak the urad dal in water for 5-6 hours. Rinse and blend in a blender till smooth with some water to make thick batter, similar to what is needed to make idlis.  Season with salt and set aside to ferment,

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

When ready to make vada’s, generously grease a muffin tin with oil, adding 1/2 – 1 tsp oil and add 1-2 tbsp of batter  to each muffin cup.

Bake 35-45 minutes till golden.

Serve warm with some sweet and sour ginger chutney.

vada

Pumpkin Payasam

A few weeks ago, I bought a small pumpkin to make creme brulee’. But I kept putting it off since I had to use cream. I thought maybe I would make Pumpkin Tapioca instead. From that sprung the idea of payasam. Here’s how I made it.

pay1

Ingredients:

4 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup tapioca
1/4 cup vermicelli
1/2 tsp cardamon, ground
1 tsp butter
2-3 tbsp cashews
2-3 tbsp golden raisins

Dry roast the vermicelli for 4-5 minutes till lightly golden.

In a large pot, bring the milk to boil. Add sugar, tapioca and and roasted vermicelli and continue to cook.

Meanwhile peel and chop pumpkin. Add some water to a pan and cook the pumpkin till it softens. Mash to paste with spatula or put it through a blender. Add to the milk and mix well. Continue cooking for a few minutes and remove from flame.

In a separate pan, add a tsp of butter and fry cashews and raisins and add to the payasam. Serve warm as dessert after lunch or dinner.

 

Spicy Potato Curry

I always love to make masala dosa and this spicy potato curry is something I always make with dosa.

potatocurryIngredients:

3 Potatoes
1 onion
1 jalapeno
a few curry leaves
1 tbsp channa dal
2-3 tbsp cashews
1 tbsp urad dal
1tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 dry whole red chilli
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp oil
dash of asafoetida
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish

Boil the potatoes until they soften and the skin is starting to peel off.

Meanwhile add oil to large pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, channa dal, cashews, urad dal, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and whole red chillies and fry till lightly golden.

Add chopped jalapeno, and curry leaves and fry for a minute. Add sliced onion and continue to fry till the onion is translucent and starts to turn lightly brown on the edges. Peel and add potatoes and lightly mash with a spatula. Season with salt and add some red chilli powder (optional). Mix well and cook on low for another 5 minutes.

qd3Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with some rice or I love to eat it with dosa.

Sweet and Sour Bittergourd Stew

Bitter gourd, or bitter melon, or bitter squash is indigenous to tropical or sub-tropical climates. It’s bitter taste makes it a perfect cleansing agent. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The bitterness might be a deterrent in it’s consumption. My mother cooked it two ways: Sweet and Sour Stew and Fry.

bg4Owing to the bitterness, I could never eat the fry, but the sweet and sour stew was always my favorite.

Ingredients:

2 bitter gourd, chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 cup tamarind juice
2-3 blocks of jaggery
1-2 tbsp rice flour
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tsp urad dal
1-2 dry red chilli
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
touch of turmeric
touch of asafoetida
a few curry leaves
chopped cilantro for garnish

bg1In a pan, heat some oil. Add turmeric, asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, dry red chillies, urad dal, and channa dal. Fry till lightly golden. Add sliced jalapeno and curry leaves and fry lightly. Add chopped bitter gourd and onion and fry till the onion turn translucent.

bg2Add about 1 cup tamarind juice (or as desired). Add 1-2 cubes of jaggery to sweeten the stew. Bring to a boil. Let simmer on medium low until cooked.

bg3Add rice flour to a little water. Mix well and add to the stew. Let simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve warm with some rice and dal.bg4We always ate our stew with some dal!

See also:

Snake Gourd and Moong Dal
Pumpkin and Channa Dal

Amaranth leaves cooked two ways

Like most green leafy vegetables, Amaranth leaves are rich in vitamins (A & C) and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium and folate. They can be commonly found in tropical and warm temperate regions of the world and go by different names depending on region. In Andhra Pradesh  they are commonly known as Thotakura. Unlike Red Sorrel (Gongura) leaves, Amaranth leaves don’t have a tart flavor.  We most commonly made dal or pulusu (a tangy stew with tamarind juice).

al3Ingredients:

For the dal:
1/2 bunch amaranth leaves
1 cup toor dal (pigeon peas)
2-3 tbsp tamerind juice
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced (if large)
1 jalapeno sliced
a few curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chili
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
cilantro to garnish

al2Stew Ingredients:
1/2 bunch amaranth leaves
1/2 small bottle gourd peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
a few curry leaves
1 tbsp sesame seeds (or powder)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp rice flour
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chili
1tsp urad dal
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida

To make the dal, cook toor dal with two cups of water in a bowl stove top or typically I cook mine in a pressure cooker.  Add half chopped amaranth leaves to a large pan, add some water and cook on medium for about 10 minutes, until the leaves wilt and cook. Lightly mash the cooked toor dal with a spatula and add to the bowl containing the amaranth leaves. Add 2-3 tbsp tamarind juice, salt and chili powder  and mix well. Reduce flame and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pan heat oil. Add turmeric, asafoetida, mustard and cumin seeds, red chilies, and sliced garlic and fry till lightly golden. Add curry leaves and sliced jalapeno and continue frying for another 3-4 minutes.

al1JPGTransfer to the dal bowl. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm.

To make the stew, cook amaranth leaves and chopped bottle gourd with some water in a bowl, until cooked. About 10-15 minutes. Add about 1 cup tamarind juice and mix well. Add salt and red chili powder and mix well. Let simmer on medium low for about 15-20 minutes. In a small bowl  mix 2 tsp rice flour with some water and transfer the mix to the stew. This helps coagulate the stew. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan. Add tumeric, asafoetida, sliced garlic, cumin and mustard seeds, urad dal and red chilies and fry till lightly golden. Add sliced jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to the stew bowl and mix well.

al4Lightly toast sesame seeds till lightly golden. Grind to powder and add to the stew. Can used mustard powder instead of sesame. Mix well, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with some rice. We typically ate the stew with some snake gourd cooked with moong dal  or bottle gourd cooked with toor dal or pumpkin and chana dal or something similar.

 

 

Snake gourd and moong dal

Whenever, my mother made a stew, such as Spinach and yogurt stew,  or sweet and sour Pumpkin stew, or tangy Red Sorrel leaves stew or Amaranth leaves stew, my mother always cooked a dal based curry such as pumpkin and channa dal curry, bottle gourd and toor dal curry  or some such similar recipe.

sncIngredients:

1 snake gourd
1/2 cup moong dal
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp channa dal
1-2 red chilies
salt to taste
a touch turmeric
a touch of asafoetida
1 jalapeno chopped
a few curry leaves
some chopped cilantro

Bring about 1 to 1 11/2 cups of water to boil. Add moong dal and chopped snake gourd. Reduce flame to medium low and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked and all the water evaporates.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, red chilies, urad dal, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chana dal and fry till lightly golden. Add chopped jalapeno and curry leaves and continue frying for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the cooked snake gourd  and moong dal bowl. Mix well. Season with salt. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve warm with some rice and tangy stew.

snc2We typically ate with some sweet and sour mixed vegetable stew or tangy amaranth (or red sorrel) stew or spinach and yogurt stew.

Roasted Snake Gourd with Coconut and Sesame

You can find snake gourd, fresh, during summer months, in your local Asian grocery or frozen in any Indian grocery, year round. While there are many ways to cook it, we usually cooked it with coconut and sesame, yellow split pea or with yogurt.

sg1

I’ve roasted Ivy gourd and Okra quite successfully in the past, so why not Snake Gourd?

Ingredients

2-3 snake gourd
1-2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric
Red chili powder as preferred
1-2 tbsp shredded coconut
1-2 tbsp sesame powder
a few curry leaves
a little chopped cilantro to garnish

sg4

Slice the snake gourd into thin rings and transfer to an oven safe dish. Toss with olive oil, salt and chili powder.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a pan till lightly golden. Process in a food processor or blender or coffee grinder till processed into powder.

sg3

Bake sliced snake gourd rings for 30 minutes. Add curry leaves, shredded coconut and  ground sesame powder. Toss and roast for another 10-15 minutes.

sg2Enjoy with some rice or roti.

sg1