Jun 30, 2009

Simple Long Beans Subji

This is just as simple as it sounds.

Long beans are a great vegetable when they are fresh and tender. I wanted to make a green vegetable to go along with the gatte ki sabzi meal (previous post has recipe). Had these beans in the icebox.

Chop the long beans into about 1 inch pieces. Wash well.

To a pan, add about 1-2 tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add a tsp each of channa daal and urad daal. Add 1-2 dry red chillies. Fry for a min and then add the cut and washed beans. Add salt to taste. Add about 3/4 of a cup water and reduce the flame to low and cover the pan with a lid. Let this cook slowly. Stir it once every couple of mins. Cook till the beans are well done. Don;t add too much water - just enough to partially cover the beans and cook it - too much water would make the veggie all squishy.

This is a simple yet tasty dish. Serves as a good side to parathas or with rice.

Here's my plate with the masala rotis, gatte ki sabzi and the long beans subji.

Gatte Ki Sabzi

This is a rajasthani dish that I was introduced to in college. My friend Shantha who is rajasthani (actually I think she is Jain...) used to get this for lunch and I would devour it all. But I never knew what it was called or what it was made of. Many years later, I kept asking her for the name of that dish she would get and she would not remember what it was.

So, I googled and found out pictures of gatte ki sabzi....ahhhh..this is what that was called!

From then on, I make this quite often. Its one of my favorite curries. It basically is besan dumplings in dahi. Kind of like a kadhi.

So, here's how it goes -

To start with, take about 2 cups of besan.

Add salt, red chilli powder, tumeric and hing to this. You can also add seasonings like fennel seeds and jeera if you like. But, I did not.

Add few drops of water to this and make a thick ball out of it.

Coat a little bit of oil or ghee on your hands and take a small portion of the ball. Shape it with your hands into a long thin rope. Like this below.

Now, cut this into small pieces.

Boil a pan of water and when the water's nice and boiling, add a drop of oil to it. Then, add the gattes to the boiling water. Let it cook for about 8-10 mins till the pieces float to the top.

In other pan, add a tbsp of oil, and when that's hot, add a tsp of mustard seeds. After they splutter, add some curry leaves. Now, add some jeera dhania powder and fry for a min. Add about 2 cups of beaten curds/yogurt to this. Add salt and tumeric to the yogurt. I think authentically, you should be adding besan to the yogurt too and then cook it - but for me personally there is enough besan. I kind of like it thin.

When the dahi has cooked for a few mins, add the boiled gattes to this and let it cook in slow flame for a little while.

Serve hot with chappathis or parathas. You can even eat this with rice like kadhi. I made some masala rotis (just plain atta with tumeric, red chilli powder and salt) and this tasted great with that.

This is also a good recipe for diabetics as both besan and dahi have a lot of protein and that helps balance the sugar levels.

Jun 29, 2009

Dahi Vada

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Like I said in my previous post, this was a great potluck weekend for me. Back to back parties on friday and saturday. Our Saturday party was kind of a like a chaat party. My menu item was Dahi Vada. Everyone in my family loves Dahi Vada except me...I just don't like dahi at all. Love plain vadas though! I think it was all the bad sour stinking dahi's in my hostel - I got an aversion towards dahi and stopped eating it totally. I do still eat raitha - that has little dahi and lots of veggies!

Let's get started with our dahi vadas.

You will need to soak about 1-2 cups of Urad daal 4-5 hrs before preparation time.

Before you start making the vadas, you will need to grind these ingredients below in a nice smooth paste.

Green Chilli - 4-5
Red Chilli - 1-2
Coconut - about a cup
Coriander seeds - roasted - about 2 tsp
Jeera - roasted - about 2 tsp

Make sure you have fresh dahi - I make a whole batch of fresh yogurt at home and use that. Make sure the dahi is not too sour.

Mix the ground paste with the fresh curds and set aside in the fridge.

Here is urad daal that I had washed well and soaked.

Grind this to a fine paste. Add salt and black pepper before grinding.

Here's how it looks after the grind -

Before you are ready to fry the vadas, fill a pan with water and boil it. Switch it off. Make sure when you are frying, that this water is still hot. We will be soaking the vadas straight from the oil into here to make them soft.

To make vadas, have another bowl of water next to the batter. Wash your hands in them - make sure your palms are completely wet. Now, with wet fingers, pick up some batter and make a small round. Dip your fore finger back into the water and make a hole in the vada. If your hands are not wet, the batter will stick completely in your hands and the whole thing will be a mess.

Drop the vadas in hot oil. Make sure the flame is in medium - you want the center to cook. Fry it till you get the golden color on top.

When the vadas are done, strain the oil out.

Move the vadas directly from the oil to the pan of hot water on the side and soak the vadas in the hot water. This step is neccessary to make soft vadas.

Leave the vadas in here for a few mins or until you are ready to soak the next batch. You can see that the vadas will sink to the bottom - that means they are ready to be moved into the dahi.

Pick up the vada one by one and squeeze out the water. I use another strainer and the back of a spoon to do this. Once all the water is out, move the vadas straight to the dahi.

When all the vadas are done and soaked in the dahi, fry some curry leaves in the same oil and crush them when done. Add this to the dahi. Chop up some cilantro leaves finely and add on top for garnish.

Dahi Vada is ready. Enjoy it cold or at room temperature.
If you like it, you can even add chopped cucumber or grated carrots on top for garnish. That would also be good.

Jun 27, 2009

Bhindi Pakoda

This weekend has been a real busy weekend for me. Got two back to back potluck parties...but its always fun. Great friends, great food - what more do you need!

I had to take an appetizer for my friday night potluck. And I was out of ideas. Everything that came up in my mind was boring..it was like there were no proper indian appetizers. I thought so much that my brain hurt!

And then I remembered that evening about 6 months back. I was in India for my vacation and it was the last couple of days. I was getting ready ..and that means shopping..for clothes, things and food! I went to Adyar Ananda Bhavan in Salem and picked out stuff like sweets and murukku and other things to bring back here. There, out of the corner of my eye..I saw it. I wondered. I asked the guy what it was. He told me that was vendakkai pakoda. Hmm.. I have never had that before. So, I asked him to pack a kilo of it. I tried a couple of pieces and it was really good. Crispy..crunchy..tasty. Once I came back here, my husband and I opened it up and started to eat it. Maybe it was the fact that I was just back from India and I was already missing it, the pakoda tasted super good at that time. I beat myself over why I got just one kilo of it and not more! Alas...one kilo just lasts a short time..

Fast forward to yesterday. Yes. I knew it. I wanted to try that. It's no talent to guess what ingredients go into making pakoda. So, I started out.

You will need -

Bhindi - fresh..quantity as required
Besan - 1 cups
Rice Flour - 1 1/2 cups
(The ratio of Besan to Rice flour is 1:1 1/2 ..a little more rice flour for crunchy pakodas)
Salt - to taste
Red Chilli powder - about 2 tsp
Hing - about 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - about 20-30 leaves
Oil for deep frying.

Wash the bhindi and dry it few hours before you plan to start cooking. This step is crucial because you don't want to be cutting into wet bhindi unless you are a goo lover.

Slice the bhindi vertically and make long pieces and set aside.

In a dry bowl, add the besan, rice flour, salt, red chilli and hing and mix the dry ingredients well.

When you are ready to start making pakodas, heat up the oil in a deep pan. When the oil is hot, in a separate small bowl, mix a handful of bhindi and a handful of the dry besan-rice flour mix. Sprinkle water on top of this and mix it thick. If you add more water to this, you will be making more like a bajji. You should still see most of the bhindi through the batter. Drop into the hot oil and fry till golden brown.

Make the next batch of pakodas. Mix the bhindi and the dry mix just before you are ready to drop it into the oil. This will ensure that the pakodas are crispy. And will also not absorb too much oil.

When you are all done with the pakodas, fry the washed and dried curry leaves for about a min without them becoming very dark. Keep it out for the oil to drain - this will make the curry leaves crispy. Just crush it with your hand and mix them with the pakodas.

There you have it - my own version of the adyar ananda bhavan's nostalgic bhindi pakoda.

This recipe is on its way to participate in the "WYF- Fried Snack Event" hosted by Simple Indian Food Blog. Thanks EC for hosting!

Problem with posting comments

Hi All,

Some of you have had problems with posting comments. This is probably because you are using Internet Explorer as your browser.

Here's a trick I figured out.

After you type out your comment, you will need to select a profile. You can choose the name/url option and type your name in there. You don't have to type a url. You can leave that empty. Now, click on Post comment. You might get a small red error message that says - Cannot post comment. At this point, just click on the post comment button one more time. It will load it the second time. This also is a bug with IE and Blogger functionality.

Sorry for the trouble but I wish and hope these two companies get their acts together!

If you want to just simply your complete internet browsing experience, please download for free either Firefox or Google chrome.

Enjoy your day!

Jun 26, 2009

Sesame Seed Baingan

This is a recipe that my sister makes and I loved it everytime she made it for me.

Everytime I make it, I call her for the ingredients!

The ingredients in this are the same as in 'Baghara Baingan'. But, with the BB, its usually watery but this is more of a dry sabji type. Hence my simple name - Sesame Seed Baingan.

To start with, you will need small indian style baingan. This might not work well with the big eggplants.

Here are the ingredients you need for the masala - I'm cooking this dish for a potluck for like 20 people. You don't have to use this much quantity of each if you're just cooking for dinner at home.

Sesame Seeds
Red Chillies
Corainder seeds
A pinch of tamarind - use the pulp from this. Add this while grinding to a paste.

Use about a tsp of each and double the quantity for peanuts. You need to roast each of these ingredients separately and then grind them all together. That way each of these things gets the roast it deserves!

Cut the baingan into long pieces and soak in water so the color does not change.

Add about a tsp of oil to a pan and throw in the baingan. Add salt and tumeric powder. Fry till the baingans are 3/4 cooked. At this point, add the ground masala paste in here and turn down the flame to low. Add salt to taste since the masala did not have salt to begin with.

Stir a couple of times while cooking. If you don't mind the oil, add some now at this point.

Keep cooking in low till the masala smells done and does not have a raw smell.

As it cooks, the masala loses the moisture and gives a nice roasted texture. Switch off the stove. Stand back and look at it. You have created something. You have the power. Feel good. Now, just forget everything else and start eating this! You can serve this with rice or make a wrap with rotis or parathas. Enjoy it hot!

Jun 17, 2009

Baked Soy Cutlets

I'm trying to lose weight and eat healthier. Yep - there I said it!

I wanted to add more protein to my food. Before I rant off about the goodness of these Soy granules/chunks - I do have to admit that I hated these when I was growing up. When I was doing my MBA, my hostel mess would serve us a dish made with these chunks and would serve them with rotis that could break windows - and they called it the mealmaker! I hated it. Period. There was nothing that would convince me to eat a few spoons of this. It had the weirdest smell to it and it looked kind of crappy to me. Everything that place had to eat was kind of bad - completely contraty to the hostel food I had when I was in rani meyyammi hostel - which at that time had the best food in chennai! That's a whole different blog post - I can rant off about the great food forever.

Anyways, I've always been a little cautious about this stuff - I know that its good. But its not the thing I always go looking for when I do grocery shopping. It proabably sat in the aisle that I never entered! Or never noticed. But, yesterday I went looking for it - wanted to start using it as a part of my food plan. And I'm glad I did it.

Here is a little sales talk on the product - I normally don't do this - but thought people should know how healthy these things are -

Here are some nutritional facts about these little powerhouse babies-

Nutrional Information

Approximate composition per 100g

Energy value 336 k cal
Protein 54.2 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 28.9 g
Calcium 533 mg
Iron 21.2 mg
Check this out - this has more than 13 times the protein of a glass of milk!! How about that!

Recommended for:Infants (excellent child nutrition), Adults, Diabetics, Heart Patients etc.
Nutrela contains no cholesterol
Hundred percent vegetarian
Made from 100% pure NON-GMO soyabeans
The package had a recipe for making soy cutlets. Since I did not have a hundred recipe ideas in my head to make with this, I thought why not make these cutlets. But, the recipe did call for using a lot of potatoes as base and deep frying the cutlets. I did not want to do that. When you are going healthy, why not be healthy all the way. So, I decided to bake these with minimum oil if needed. So, here's what I did.
Boil the soy granules in hot water for about 3-5 mins.

Drain all the water and also squeeze the water out of the granules.

Chop all the veggies - I uses onions, green chillies, carrots, beans, peas, fresh green spinach, corn and 1 boiled potato. You can use your favortite veggies.

Mix the soy granules with all the veggies. Add Salt and red chilli powder to taste.

You will need about 1-2 cups of bread crumbs - I toasted about 4 slices of white bread (for even more healthier cutlets, use wheat bread) and then ground it up into crumbs.

Mix the soy veggie mix and the bread crumbs well and then make small balls out of it. Flatten these balls to make a cutlet. Do this step one small batch at a time - that way the bread crumbs won't get all soggy.

Arrange these cutlets in a baking sheet. If you don't have an oven, you can cook them on a tawa. Until this point, we have not added any oil to this. But here, use a small brush and brush a little oil on top of the patties. I used olive oil but you can use any oil that you have.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 20 -30 mins or until you can see the top part getting crisp.

Here they look a little crisp. Time to switch off the oven. Leave it in there for another 5 mins.

Here they are all done. The good part about this is that you add all the veggies raw, and they are baked - so you don't lose much nutritious value of the veggies by overcooking them. And the only carbs in this is the one potato and the bread. These are well compensated with the high protein from the soy granules.

Serve hot with ketchup or maggi sweet and sour! Enjoy. Your body will thank you for all the goodness you gave it.