Here are the step-by-step pics. They are self-explanatory. Next time, I will experiment with palak (spinach) leaves.
1. First assemble the ingredients, one onion, a small bunch each of leaves of mint (pudina), dhania (corriander), 3-4 green chillies, some curry leaves, Tulsi leaves, and half cup of roasted, de-skinned gram.
2. Wash all the leaves properly and grind them in a mixie with some salt as per taste.
As I mentioned in an earlier recipe too, what I enjoy most in cooking is ulilising leftover items to create a new food item that is tasty, nutritious, and gets consumed fast.
Apart from being environment friendly, there is always a sense of adventure and excitement associated with this exercise because you can’t be sure how the end product would be like. There is always the risk of ending up with another leftover item that no one wants to eat, that too, after an expenditure of precious time and other resources. But when it turns out well, you get a wonderful sense of achievement that stays with you for a long time.
On 29 September 2019, a Sunday, my weekly off, while rummaging through our fridge, I found some green chutney in a little katori, some cut paneer pieces, chopped carrots, and a 2-day old alu-baingan sabji which wasn’t such a big hit.
I took them all out and put them in a kneading bowl. I added a cupful of soaked poha (flattened rice), chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of besan (black gram powder) and salt. I didn’t need to add any spices as the chutney-Sabji combo was spicy enough by itself. I kneaded them all into a dough. Then I took out small balls from it and turned them into egg shaped rolls with my hands. After deep-frying them in batches tilll they were brown all over and placing them in tissue paper to drain out excess oil, I had a plateful of poha cutlets that disappeared quickly during our family breakfast!
Do try this out as a regular recipe and tell me how it works out. Here are the 4 pics. Because it is so easy to follow, I call it a 1-2-3-4 recipe.
Being a working woman, time is always a scarce resource and 1-2-3-4 recipes are the ones that suit me the most.
Isn’t it tragic that in spite of being such a wonderful vegetable, pumpkin is not as popular as it deserves to be? Most people add a lot of spices while cooking it to make it more palatable.
I recently cooked pumpkin in two different ways with just the basic ingredients (salt, turmeric, mustard seeds, mustard oil, and one whole red chilli) and I was pleasantly surprised to find it so delicious! Well, that proves that food can be tasty even without too many spices.
Here are the step-by-step pics.
1. Pumpkin with Karela (bitter gourd): Pumpkin neutralizes the bitterness of Karela and the net effect is absolutely heavenly.
First chop the Karela into thin slices and soak them in salted water for about 30 minutes. Then wash them thoroughly and squeeze excess water from them. Deep fry these karela pieces in small batches in hot, smoking mustard oil till they turn light brown. Keep them aside in a plate.
Next, keep only 2 tablespoonfuls of mustard oil in Karachi and pour out the remaining hot muatard oil in a utensil. Heat the Karachi again and add 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds and one whole red chilli. Once spluttering starts, add chopped pumpkin, turmeric, and salt as per taste.
Once the pumpkin becomes a bit soft, add the fried karela pieces and put a cover after lowering the gas flame. This will prevent burning.
Keep checking every 2 minutes till the vegetables are tender without becoming mushy.
Your pumpkin-karela dish is ready. Bon Appetit!
2. Grated Pumpkin
Here, the method is same as above, except that this time you use the grated pumpkin.
My daughter works these days in the night shift. The food I cook daily doesn’t always suit her, as she needs to eat things that keep her active and fresh during her working hours.
Last week, she made a sprouts salad for herself and she left behind some for me too. I found it extremely delicious. See its photo on top.
I had it for myself again for breakfast on the following day. I did not feel bloated, like I generally do whenever I eat sprouts. By lunch time, I was hungrier than usual!
It is commonly believed these days that fruits and vegetables must never be eaten together, but this particular sprouts salad that I am going to tell you more about now has both of them. It is healthy, light, nutritious, easy to make; doesn’t take much time.
Ingredients: one Apple, one pear, one cucumber, one small onion (optional), a small cup each of boiled sweet corn and sprouts, juice of one lemon, salt and chaat/raita masala/or any masala as per your taste.
Method: Chop the apple, pear, cucumber, and onion. Add sweet corn, sprouts, lemon juice, salt and raita masala. Mix well. Your sprouts salad is now ready.
Alu-Gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower) sabji is a very popular dish in North India. It has to be made with great care as Gobhi (cauliflower) tends to soften faster than alu (potatoes) and you run the risk of ending up with mashed cauliflower with potatoes standing out, which doesn’t taste good.
In an ideal Alu-Gobhi Sabji sabji, alu and cauliflower pieces are soft without being mushy and have a spicy, crispy, fried taste.
A lot of chefs first deep fry the alu and cauliflower pieces separately and then cook them together in a karahi with the required spices, curd, tomatoes, and some more oil. This takes far too much time and oil.
On 28 July 2019, I discovered an easier, simpler, and far healthier method of cooking Alu-Gobhi without compromising on that typical restaurant-like taste.
Here are the step-by-step pics. Do try out this recipe and write back. I look forward to reading your comments.
1. Start off by steaming chopped potatoes and cauliflower in a pressure cooker. Be careful while you do this as there is a risk of overboiling. Usually, one whistle or just when the whistle is about to begin is sufficient cooking time. My mini pressure cooker is of Prestige and in one whistle, it parboils without making the items too soft. Once done, place the veggies on a sieve and let the excess water drain out into a container below. You can use it in making other dishes such as dals or soups, etc.
2. Grind ginger and make a rough paste.
3. Heat some oil in a thick-bottomed karahi. Once it is hot, lower the gas flame and add turmeric, chilli powder, whole Cummin seeds, and whole corriander seeds powder.
4. Then add the veggies, ginger paste, and one red chilli. Stir a few times and allow the veggies to fry properly. Mix well and add salt and amchur as per your taste. Your Alu-Gobhi bhaji is ready. Enjoy.
5. You can add grated paneer too in the end. I had some paneer-onion bhurji in the fridge, so I added this to the Sabji when it was done.
It was from my Mom that I learnt to never, ever discard leftover cooked dal (pulses). She taught me to make paranthas with it. But my own family is not very fond of paranthas, so I recently experimented with making cooked dal pakoras. They tasted very good and disappeared in a jiffy! Here are the step-by-step pics. Do try this out and let me know how you find it.
First assemble all the ingredients (leftover dal, besan, soaked Poha, some curry leaves, one green chilly, one onion)
2. Mix besan, leftover dal, soaked poha. Add chopped onion and green chilly, and salt as per your taste. Mix well to make a batter. Add spices (red chilly powder, cumin powder, whole coriander powder, and amchur) followed by rice powder and sooji. Mix well.
4. Deep fry spoonfuls of this batter in a karahi. Do this in batches.
5. Once they turn brown all over, bring them out and place them on tissue paper to drain out excess oil. Do this for all batches of batter.
Jimikand (Elephant Yam) is an ugly duckling among vegetables.
Pure vegetarians don’t like it much because of its meaty flavor while pure non-vegetarians don’t like to waste their time and energies on something that masquerades at being what it isn’t.
And those who love it don’t eat it very often either. In my complete life of 5 decades so far, I remember having eaten it only 4 times; first time as a child when Mom made it. Second time was when an office colleague brought it for lunch. I ate it with great relish on both the occasions. Third time, I tried to make it myself. It was during the Google-free era when recipes were not always readily available. Though I put in my best possible efforts, it turned out to be awful! I thought I would never cook it again.
But, as destiny would have it, in around October 2018, my husband bought some jimikand along with other vegetables at a local grocery store. It was because of one of their special offers. For several days, the jimikand sat in our fridge. Finally, when all the other veggies were over, I decided to make one more attempt at cooking it. I gathered a lot of ideas from Google.
To my great surprise, the dish turned out to be very tasty and it was made in a jiffy.
My husband said, “It tasted somewhat like the way my Mom used to make it.” I took that as a big complement as my mother-in-law was a highly-accomplished cook.
It gives me a lot of joy today as I share the recipe with you all in this post.
1. Wear gloves while peeling jimikand as it causes itching on bare skin.
2. Soak the cut pieces in water and squeeze some lemon juice into it. Keep the vessel aside for about 15 minutes.
3. Take out the cut jimikand pieces and wash them well in water. Deep fry them in batches in a pressure cooker till they turn brown. Take them out out of oil once done.
4. Take out excess oil and leave just about two tablespoons of oil in the pressure cooker. Turn on the gas again. Put a half teaspoonful of whole cumin into the hot oil. Once they start crackling, add chopped onion. After they start turning pink, add chopped tomato. When the oil starts appearing on the sides, add the spices as per your taste (turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, jeera powder, etc). Stir a little bit. Then add the fried jimikand pieces followed by salt according to taste.
5. Add water as per required viscosity and some green coriander leaves.
6. When the water starts boiling, cover with the lid and place the whistle. After about 4 or 5 whistles, the jimikand stew would be ready.
7. Open the cooker once it cools down. Serve hot with rotis. Enjoy!☺️
This week I tried out something new in the kitchen. It was a great success and filled me with immense joy and satisfaction. Before you jump to conclusions, let me make it clear that I am not a cooking expert and my knowledge of cooking has more to do with experience than any real interest. I cook because I have to and cooking day in and day out as a daily routine is such a mundane affair, isn’t it?
Appreciation from my family did, of course, contribute to my happiness. But more important to me was the fact that I managed to save a food item from being wasted and turn it into something that everyone found tasty. Isn’t that such a wonderful thing and environment-friendly too?
Alright, let me clear up the suspense. I am talking about the trivial, lowly murmure that gets left over from pujas at home or when we bring it home as Prasad after visiting big temples. Most of it catches fungus in the end and that’s when it is discarded. To avoid this situation, I started giving it all to my maid servant. But every time I did so, the expression on her face indicated that she did not feel very obliged. It was obvious that even she did not know what to do with it and probably just threw it away into the garbage.
What I made was the aloo tikki with a difference. Instead of using bread as the binding agent, I used the left-over murmure. First, I dried the murmure in the microwave oven and let it cool outside for about 15 minutes. Once they became crisp, I ground them in the mixie. I then mixed this powder with the boiled and peeled potatoes and rest of the procedure was as usual for tikkis, that is, adding all those ingredients (salt, chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste, sliced onion, green coriander, jeera powder, dhania powder, garam masala powder, and amchur) and kneading the whole stuff into tight dough. From this dough, I took out average sized balls which I rolled into tikkis.
Next step was the frying part. I used the deep frying method as it’s faster. I read somewhere that deep frying isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be vis-a-vis shallow frying. But you don’t necessarily have to accept this; it’s a democratic, free country, thank God; shallow fry your tikkis on a non-stick tawa, if that’s how you like them…
Here are the lovely tikkis, shedding their excess oil on tissue paper.
I would also like to add that 2 days ago, my husband brought home a fresh stock of murmure, some dry fruit, batashe, and mishri from his visit to Vaishno Devi. I mixed up some of this stuff into a bowl and had it distributed as Prasad in my office. My latest best friend in my office, a new joinee, loved it so much that she asked me to bring all the remaining once again to office especially for her. And she loved the tikkis too.
Well, that’s how I finished up my murmure this time, spreading joy and happiness all the way through…