Tag Archives: Indian cooking

Puree Magic

Photo courtesy: Shampa Das

I think of my kitchen these days more as a laboratory than a place where I slave away morning and evening.

Not only does this fulfill my deep-seated, unrealized dream of being a research scientist, it also helps me to take every botched cooking experiment as a learning experience and move on to other things without any guilt whatsoever about wasted time and resources.

I recently discovered, for instance, pureeing vegetables, especially the unpopular ones like the pumpkin and lauki, and adding other ingredients yields amazing results. The vegetables, when combined in this manner, get completely transformed beyond recognition into food items that your family enjoys eating! Isn’t that a great thing these days with sky-rocketing prices of vegetables?

Given below are some examples with pics.

Lauki Bharta

First assemble all the ingredients: chopped green onions, garlic, tomatoes, green coriander, soaked chana dal, boiled lauki, hing, whole jeera (cummin) seeds, mustard seeds.

Heat some oil in a karahi and add garlic, whole cummin, soaked chana dal, hing, and sarson.

Next, add onions.

Add green onions.

Add spices, roasted besan.

Now add tomatoes and green coriander.

Stir and add pureed lauki.

Add pao-bhaji masala. Stir and mix.

Keep stirring till oil separates and you get something like the pic on top..

Leftovers Bhaji

The pic on top is of bhaji made from leftovers, potato-beans-peas combination and pumpkin, lying idle in fridge. I mashed the combo in a karahi and treated it with tomato puree, chilli powder, and pau-bhaji masala…It tasted heavenly.😊

Leftover Khichdi Pakoras

I pureed leftover Khichdi in the mixie and added besan, one chopped onion, one chopped potato, green coriander, and some spices along with salt to the batter. I added some water to adjust the consistency. I deep-fried spoonfuls of this batter and turned them into pakoras. They were amazing! See pic above.

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Jimikand Stew

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.

Process

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!☺️