Tag Archives: Indian cooking

Green Chutney With Roasted Gram & Tulsi Leaves

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.

3. Garnish.

Poha Cutlets, A 1-2-3-4 Recipe

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 had made the green chutney this time with roasted chana (whole gram) and Tulsi leaves, apart from green chillies, amchur, mint, coriander, and curry leaves. See here for recipe. https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/green-chutney-with-roasted-gram-tulsi-leaves/?preview=true

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.

I Love Pumpkin, Why Don’t You?

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.

Sprouts Salad

Courtesy photo: Suroshri Chatterjee

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.

Simple, isn’t it?

Enjoy! Bon Appetit!

Alu-Gobhi simplified

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.


Read my other food recipes here. https://wordpress.com/page/jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/8762

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.

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!☺️